Blog: Karla Zapolski (28.11.08)

When Schwarzkopf selected 21 year old Karla Zapolski to front their ‘Be Yourself’ campaign and be the face of Supersoft Yoghurt & Red Berries Smoothie shampoo and conditioner, she thought Christmas had come early! The stunning student was chosen from hundreds of hopefuls following a national magazine search and is now the ‘Trendsetting’ face of the campaign. We’ve been following Karla’s story so far from glamorous photoshoots to fashion parties, and this week we got her to reveal some of her top festive style tips…

“For me, the Christmas season is all about going to festive parties with friends and family, and making a statement with clothes and hair is a must! I like to ensure my coloured hair shines, so I get a head start by using Supersoft Yoghurt & Red Berries Smoothie shampoo. The nourishing formula is really light meaning my hair doesn’t get weighed down, leaving it silky smooth. Once I’ve blow-dried for extra volume, I like to curl my hair with tongs then brush them out to create a more natural look. Statement hair doesn’t have to be too fussy. I prefer simpler styles, and the UV filter in the Red Berries Smoothie ensures my colour is protected and looking its best. Hair that looks healthy and shiny is the best way to complete any look! As for fashion, Christmas glitz is back, meaning vintage sequined pieces, sparkly clutches and shimmering make up will be everywhere soon enough. I’m not usually a big fan of too many sequins, but recently the ‘Trendsetter’ in me couldn’t resist a pair of Topshop’s sequined leggings! I know they’ll look fab teamed with a long flowing top. Another Christmas party classic is the Little Black Dress. There are so many different styles available now and with the High Street producing fantastic dresses at great prices there are LBDs to suit every body shape and budget. Team them with sparkly accessories and wear hair loose and wavy for a fun party look, or keep things sophisticated with simple jewellery and a chic up-do. I’m so excited for Christmas, but I know it will fly by and New Years Eve will be here before we know it! 2008 has been a fantastic year for me to say the least. If someone had told me this time last year that I’d end up fronting a national magazine campaign for Schwarzkopf, I would never have believed it! It’s amazing what a difference a year can make, and I can’t wait to find out what the ‘Be Yourself’ campaign has in store for me for 2009.”
Available for five different hair types, there’s a Supersoft Smoothie to suit everyone this Christmas! From Red Berries for coloured hair, to Coconut for dry, damaged hair, each Smoothie contains yoghurt protein and natural fruits extract to cleanse, strengthen, nourish and protect your hair. Supersoft Smoothies are priced around £1.79 and available nationwide.

Spa Review: Stoke Park Club (28.11.08)

Visited by Laura Selway
Location: Stoke Park, Park Road, Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire SL2 4PG. 01753 717171.
Facilities: Named one of the ‘ten best spas in the UK’ by Tatler, The Independent and The Daily Telegraph, and boasting its own deluxe range of Spa Products, Stoke Park is also, most importantly for any girl, the setting for Bridget Jones’ romantic weekend away. Set within 350 acres of historic parkland and gardens, surrounded by a 27-hole golf course, the Palladian Mansion is simply breathtaking both inside and out. In the Health Spa Pavillion, located close to the main house, guests have complimentary use of the indoor swimming pool with hydro-seat jacuzzi’s, marble steam rooms, relaxation rooms with complimentary fruit-infused water, a two-storey State-of-the-art gymnasium and tennis courts. The treatment menu offers a huge range of tempting options for relaxing, beautifying and energising - there is truly something to suit everyone. This sentiment is echoed in the accommodation, which is split between the Mansion and Spa Pavillion. The Mansion offers antique opulence at its best - think four-poster beds, huge fireplaces, and deep sumptuous fabrics. The Spa, in contrast, is ultra-chic, effortless luxury with an eclectic mix of furniture and décor; oversized beds, flatscreen tv’s, mirrors, bookcases and pop art. Both styles of accommodation boast vast marble bathrooms with heated floors and a complimentary selection of their own range SPC travel sized toiletries. Temptation and choice are also found on the Dining Room menu, which is for the sole use of hotel residents and Stoke Park Club members, and the food is truly divine.
Ambience: Stoke Park has a lot to boast about, but it doesn’t. The emphasis here is on quiet, unassuming excellence. The staff are courteous and attentive, making you feel both important and at ease. Furnishings and décor are indulgent, yet comfortable, and everything is kept immaculately. The understated approach is executed so well that you would be forgiven, at times, for forgetting that you are in a hotel and imagining that this is your own ‘little place in the country’.
Treatment Tested:
SPC Body Therapy Massage £80 for 60 minutes: Before my treatment, the therapist asked me a few questions about the strength of massage I would like and if I had any specific areas of pain or tension. I opted for a relaxation massage, for which she used SPC’s own range ‘Pampering’ massage oil containing Macadamia, Avocado and Jojoba, plus essential oils of Lavender, Chamomile, Rosemary and Geranium. My treatment began with a relaxing breathing exercise, which was followed by a foot exfoliation treatment, which felt divine. The therapist then proceeded to treat my legs, hands, arms, back, shoulders and neck to a gentle yet substantial massage. My body relaxed so much that the aroma of the oils and relaxing music almost sent me drifting off to sleep. As I sat in the relaxation lounge afterwards sipping on fruit-infused water, I had to conclude that this was one of the most relaxing treatments I have ever had. Rooms start at £285 per night. Overnight spa breaks including dinner and breakfast start at £245 per person for 1 night. Half and full day retreats include a light lunch or brunch and start at £120 per person for a ½ day retreat and £200 per person for a full day retreat. SPA SPC is hosting a LUXURY detox weekend on 24th/25th January - perfect to kick start 2009, a great girly weekend or in preparation for your big day. All details of what's included - for example: lifestyle consultations, cookery demos, 5 course gourmet dinner, SPC detoxing treatments, and yoga - are on the Stoke Park website - or call 01753 717173/

With Wispa Bars back on our newsagents shelves, a renewed passion for the 90’s crimp, and electric blue mascara slicked onto the trendiest lashes in town, the nation’s hunger for all things retro seems unstoppable. Elizabeth Arden is following suit this month, with the much-anticipated launch of its limited-edition Eight Hour Cream. No dressing table will be complete without it. The fabulous multi-tasking product, which has been a handbag staple for the last 70 years, is launching a new collectable edition of the product. This is the third in the ‘Celebration of the Decades’ collection, which commemorates the rich history of the brand and observes changes in style throughout the twentieth century.
The design of this collectable cream is inspired by the 1950’s; an era of American diners, brash colours and kitsch products. The bold packaging resurrects the memory of the decade’s respect for fashion and elegance. Ultimately, however, the wonderful product remains the same; soothing even the driest parts of your body. The Vintage Limited Edition is available now and costs £16 for 30ml. It is available at Boots and leading department stores throughout the UK.

Tried & Tested: Rose Products (28.11.08)
Add a luxury touch to your dressing table with the help of the humble rose. We’ve tested six products that promise to hydrate, refresh, and soothe winter skin.


What They Say: Relax and enjoy these delicately scented and deeply nourishing skin pamper products from Weleda, and delight in radiant, smoother and more supple skin. Each luxurious treat uses the revitalising attributes of rose oils combined with other organic plant extracts to create the ultimate in gentle moisturising facial care.
What We Say: A set of three products, each boasting the delicious fragrance of wild roses. The set comprises of a Cleansing Lotion, Moisture Cream, and Night Cream. Presented in bold pink packaging.
The Results: I’ve started to care more and more about what I’m putting onto my skin and try to stick to organic products. This set is fabulous. Firstly, I loved the scent, which made using the products feel very luxurious. The cleanser was brilliant and removed every trace of dirt and grime – I spend my days travelling around London, so my skin is always in need of a good cleanse. The moisture cream has a light texture, which is great as I often suffer from blemishes and hate putting anything too rich on my skin. The best bit about the set for me, however, was the night cream – I find it really difficult to find a product that doesn’t suffocate my skin, but this was the dream product. Applying it was a real pleasure and by morning my face felt silky smooth and had a lovely rosy glow.

Best For: Natural skincare

What They Say: Rich in natural Rose Floral Water, Glycerin and Aloe Vera, this brand new Rose Hydrating Face Mist quenches skin's thirst and maintains optimal moisture levels. The easy-to-use pump spray releases the soothing active ingredients to reduce irritation and leave skin feeling soft, supple, and comfortable again.
What We Say: A tall opaque bottle containing a refreshing facial mist, presented in attractive red packaging. The mist has a very natural scent, which reminds us of the smell of fresh roses covered in morning dew.
The Results: L’OCCITANE is one of my favourite brands, so it was a real treat to be handed this product to test. I’ve being spritzing it onto my face non-stop – I just can’t get enough of it! It’s great for applying in the morning after day cream, as it locks in moisture and acts as a toner. It also creates a great base for makeup – it leaves skin looking radiant and seems to give cosmetics brilliant staying power. During the day, I’ve been using it whenever I need a pick-me-up. I’d recommend keeping the bottle on your desk and spraying it whenever you want to feel refreshed. It wakes me up and the fragrance is great for uplifting spirits.
Best For: A pick-me-up

What They Say: A god-send for chapped lips, dry patches and rough skin. Adds a gloss to lip colour and defines lashes and cheek bones.
What We Say: A pink salve in an attractive vintage-style tin. A silky lightweight texture. The perfect size for any handbag, making it the ideal beauty companion during the cold winter months.
The Results: I often suffer from dry skin during the winter months, especially my lips, cuticles, and hands. I hadn’t considered carrying around a balm in my handbag, but this product hasn’t left my side since I was first sent it to test. I adore the light texture and subtle rose fragrance, plus I love the vintage-style tin. My lips are finally feeling silky and hydrated – the salve is rich enough to keep them feeling hydrated for hours. I’ve also been using the product on my fingers and hands, massaging it into the cuticles to keep them supple and onto dry patches to instantly smooth the skin. I’m quite fussy about what goes onto my face, but I wouldn’t think twice about using it if I noticed a dry spot. It has such a lovely light texture and doesn’t feel at all greasy.
Best For: Multitasking

ILCSI ROSE HIP WHIP MOISTURISER, £29.00 (020 7558 8591)
What They Say: Made from raw rose hips prepared using a special ripening method and whipped into a cream, this lightweight moisturiser works wonders on all skin types. It calms and recharges skin with high doses of vitamins A and C and is ideal for overactive skin as it’s oil free and leaves a wonderful matte finish. This is the perfect calming and regulating cream.
What We Say: A simple clear glass jar, containing a rich pink cream. The smell is sweet and the texture is thick and smooth. It’s advisable to keep the pot at room temperature to maintain the texture.
The Results: My skin is quite mature and needs a rich moisturiser to plump lines and add much-needed hydration. The texture of the cream is heavy, but it leaves my skin feeling instantly moisturised and supple. The delicious fragrance makes applying it a real pleasure – I actually look forward to getting up and ‘putting my face on’, which is very unusual for somebody who would probably rather forget skincare altogether. I’ve been applying it twice-daily to my face, neck, and décolletage for two weeks now. My skin feels softer, smoother, and has a lovely radiant glow. I’m totally converted!
Best For: Mature Skin

What They Say: A buttery lip balm that melts on the lips and offers a shiny, tinted finish. The combination of Shea Butter and Rice Wax offers deep hydration and softness.
What We Say: White packaging with a rose illustration, containing a deep red pot of lip butter. No fragrance, but a colour that tints the lip with a natural-looking flush.
The Results: I’ve long been a fan of butters: for the body, the lips and, on occasion, for the hair. They tend to feel more luxurious than other moisturisers, being thicker and more hydrating than lotions or balms. Korres’s Lip Butter is no exception. Shea is a fabulous ingredient to use in a lip product, as it works hard to naturally protect the skin. I loved the fact that the butter tinted lips, as well as keeping them soft and supple. As I suspected on first inspection, the deep red tint of the product transferred delightfully onto my lips, leaving me with an understated glamorous pout. After using this product for just a few days, my lips felt and looked far softer and smoother. It’s become my new winter essential!
Best For: Lip conditioning

BERKELEY SQUARE ROSE PETAL HAND CREAM, £6.95 (Boots stores nationwide
What They Say: Pamper yourself with this wistfully indulgent Shea Butter Cream. Let its sublime notes of Rose Petal moisturise your skin.
What We Say: A convenient squeezable tube, containing a rich moisturising hand cream with a sweet rose fragrance. As with all the products from the Berkeley Square range, the tube is decorated with fabulous illustrations from the 1920s.

The Results: When the weather cools down, my hands are always the first to suffer. They become very dry, with areas that are cracked and peeling. I try to remember to apply hand cream, which gives them brief respite, but soon they return to their rough self. When I first set eyes on this hand cream, I knew I was going to like it. I don’t think many beauty products look this good, with chic 1920s pictures from the pages of the Illustrated London News. You can’t fail to feel glamorous using it. Thanks to the generous doses of Shea Butter, my hands feel like they are wrapped in a protective shield against the cold. I still need to remember to apply it regularly – but with the gorgeous rose fragrance, I don’t think that’s going to be too much of a problem.
Best For: Hand softening


The Feature: Putting On the Luxury Glitz (28.11.08)
This Christmas, it’s all about the bling! Whether they are twinkling crystals, blazing semi-precious pieces or full-on faux, there is nothing as glamorous as bejewelled beauty buys.

The Buy: Rock & Republic ‘Accentuate Bronze Highlighter’, £160 ( As the key piece in Rock & Republic’s brand new makeup line, this dual-shade highlighter is everything glamour. Rock & Republic are best known for their brand of urban glitz jeans, and of course, for unleashing Victoria Beckham’s talent in design. Just as R&R jeans are the most flattering thing ever invented for a girl’s derriere, it follows that the ultra-stylish makeup line is complexion enhancing and truly adventurous. Two strands of Swarovski crystals lavishly spell out the R&R logo on top of super-shiny casing; inside, a dual bronzer/highlighter available in 3 combinations makes for healthy-glow Swiss miss cheeks – gently flushed with tantalizing hints of colour.
The Why: On a practical level, the compact is refillable and means that a ‘wardrobe’ of bronzers will see you through the year’s seasonal and skin tone changes. The refills, Private Jet (peachy tones), Villa (pink tones) and Penthouse (deep tan) are £31.50 each.

The Buy: Sisley Eau de Soir Limited Edition. £140 (Sisley counters nationwide). There’s nothing like the lure of a ‘limited’ edition to get everybody feeling rather exclusive, especially during party season. Now in their seventh year, these prestigious Eau de Soir limited runs (7000 worldwide) are a guaranteed sell-out for their sheer ornamental beauty and luxury fragrance. Each year, the crystal cut bottle takes on a new hue – for 2008, seductive amber and black appear almost masculine. Inside, however, the scent is entirely feminine. Using crisp top notes of mandarin and grapefruit that merge seamlessly into floral middles, the bottom notes are sensually musky.
The Why: It’s almost a masterpiece to create a truly versatile fragrance that translates from day to night. Initially fresh and crisp, Eau du Soir settles to an enveloping and deeply sophisticated mix of florals and amber. If you don’t already have a signature scent, your search may well be over!

The Buy: M.A.C Devoted Poppy: 3 Coral Lips Palette. £20, ( There’s nothing coy and discrete about this blazing faux-snakeskin palette in orange-red, topped with a chunky scarlet jewel. Coated with resin, the serpentine box is glossy and tactile – certainly a statement piece. Inside, the three-piece ensemble consists of Lipstick in Devoted; pearlised, out-there mid-coral, and Soft Talk; sheer bright red-coral to give lips impact and wow-factor. The third product is Lipglass in Transparent Love, glossy apricot tipped with golden red shimmer which can be worn alone or over the top of either lipstick to rev up your look. And, of course, there’s a teeny brush to apply it all with.
The Why: Coral shades are incredibly flattering especially if you use a self-tanner all year round. The shade livens up pale faces, compliments tanned ones , and isn’t nearly as harsh as the current crop of draining reds. Coral is a makeup bag staple – and when it comes in a palette as lush as this you should top up in public whenever you get the opportunity!

The Buy: Estee Lauder Solid Perfume Russian Doll, £250 for two (Exclusively at Harrods). Sold only in Harrods for the Christmas period, this limited edition Russian Doll contains Estee Lauder’s Beautiful fragrance in solid form. The larger, outer doll is richly enamelled in red detail, with sparkling crystals and textured golds. Inside, a smaller doll contains the balm-like scent of intense florals. The Russian Doll comes in a presentation box and a velvet pouch to keep it utterly pristine and polished.
The Why: Every year Lauder produce a set of limited edition solid fragrances, bringing in designers such as Jay Strongwater – and even New York’s most famous cake maker - Sylvia Weinstock, to add weight and individuality. There’s a roaring collector’s trade in the solids, making the Russian Doll a contemporary collectable.

The Buy: Dior Night Diamond Allover Diamond Dust. £48 (Dior counters nationwide) This reassuringly weighty black metal box set with 30 solitaire crystals on the lid is utterly glamorous. Inside, the shimmering compact powder has two colours to choose from. If your complexion is olive to dark, Beige Diamond is your pick; if its pale or peachy, Pink Diamond will work well. Either way, you’ll need a big fat brush to apply it to décolleté, shoulders, or even cheekbones. Because the sparkles are so fine and glisten in every light, you could even use it on eyes as a highlighting powder just below the brows.
The Why: Limited edition pieces like this one are highly collectable. If you are investing as a collector, condition is key, so never, ever use it! Keep the packaging as pristine as you do the makeup. But, if you want to use it, the Midnight Diamond is a true multi-tasking make up item.

The Buy: Missoni It Item, £100 (Exclusively at Harrods) A fashion-beauty-jewellery hybrid, this gorgeous charm bracelet has the quirky, signature Missoni style, with a scented twist. Designed by Margherita Missoni, one of the world’s most stylish ‘it’ girls, the bracelet is full-on faux gold, with chunky charms, including a deliciously loveable turtle! The detachable charm (gold with blue circle) contains Missoni fragrance, and the bracelet comes as a set along with a 100ml Missoni EDT.
The Why: Charm bracelets are eternally in style, so it’s a completely wearable item even without the solid fragrance extra. However, the idea of touching up perfume on the go from the ‘secret’ charm is irresistible. There is a Missoni ‘It’ item every year, and these have also become highly collectable.

Spa Review: The City Point Spa (21.11.08)
Location: The City Point Club, 1 Ropemaker Street, London, EC2Y 9AW.020 7920 6200.
Facilities: If you’re a city girl looking for a city guy, City Point Spa should be your next port of call. Seconds away from Moorgate tube, you can even totter there in the highest of heels, so if you’re really on the prowl, dress to impress! Boasting seven spacious treatment rooms, a dedicated Crystal Clear area, state-of-the-art pedicure chairs, swimming pool, Jacuzzi and relaxation room (complete with blinged-up fish tank) for the boys and girls to share, the sexes are split when it comes to saunas, steam rooms and plunge pools. Not everyone’s favourite experience - who enjoys immersing themselves in Arctic waters? If you’ve just treated yourself to a leg, bikini or underarm wax, or had a quick pre-spa shave, venture into one of the warm and cosy pods for a quick flurry of heat before plunging yourself into the below-zero temperatures. No we’re not sadomasochists, we just want the best for our pores and the icy blast will zap them fast shut, preventing any lumps, bumps or ingrown hairs from appearing. If you fancy sweating it out elsewhere, there’s also a fully equipped gym for you to make the most of, as well as two squash courts, although these are separate to the designated spa area. And if all that sounds a tad too strenuous, why not settle for some retail therapy instead? There’s more than one cabinet filled with spa goodies and they have plenty of E’Spa, Gerard and OPI products on offer for you to pick and choose from.
Ambience: Despite being a Monday evening City Point was buzzing, with the majority of spa-goers easily falling into the city-worker category - after all, it is surrounded by banks and businesses. Definitely catering for a more male-centric clientele, the staff are friendly, the setting inviting and the treatment rooms delightful, although the communal areas make it a little tricky to feel completely relaxed – bizarrely, seeing so many men walking around in towelling robes and slippers can be a little unnerving - probably as much for them as it is for you.
Treatment Tested: Gerards Bamboo Stretch, £70.
A signature treatment, City Point Spa is the only place in London to offer this therapy, making it a must on the to-do list. Stemming from Thailand where bamboo is renowned for both its healing and youth-generating properties, bamboo oil was rubbed onto my skin before the bamboo poles were pushed and pulled over my body, rubbing away tension and boosting lymphatic circulation. An odd sensation that can only be described as though someone was manipulating me with a rolling pin, it did take some time to get accustomed to, but once I relaxed it became much easier to enjoy. The addition of the heated massage table and gorgeous smelling products also played their part in the hour-long unwinding process – pure bliss.
Spa packages start at £80 for the Retreat Spa Day.


When French brand Sisley announces a new launch, the beauty industry tends to sit up and start paying attention. With no less than three new products arriving on shelves over the autumn and winter months, there’s no surprise that beauty editors nationwide are starting to feel a little bit twitchy. The family-run brand takes skincare very seriously. Hubert D’Ornano launched Sisley in 1976, with plant extracts and essential oils at the heart of every product. At the time, this was a highly innovative idea and it remains the force behind the brand 30 years later. Using extreme precision and a process that may last several years, Sisley’s laboratories study the optimum plant dosages that will help address a given problem. Only at the end of this long journey can a product be finally brought to the market. Each launch is much anticipated and never fails to impress.Two years after the launch of the brand’s much-loved fragrance Soir de Lune, Sisley is launching the accompanying Moisturising Body Cream, £57.50. The silky-smooth texture contains Shea Butter, Phytosqualane, Sunflower Oil, and Rapeseed Oil, leaving skin feeling divine, looking firmer, and delicately laced with an ultra-feminine woody-patchouli-floral accord. If you want the hydration of a gloss, yet the grown-up look of a lipstick, you are going to fall head over heels for the brand’s new Phyto-Lip Shine, £21.50 The sophisticated silver casing contains a shimmering gloss, which leaves lips silky smooth with the addition of Kokum and Mango Butter. Better still, the smoothing polymers form a supple light film on the lips for a plumping and shape-enhancing effect. Taking inspiration from far-away shores and exotic lands, the brand has just launched their first ever perfumed candle – Black Tuberose by Sisley, £38. Encased in black onyx, with stylish black wax, the candle has a feminine floral fragrance, with traces of black pepper and cocoa bean. It really does smell as good as it looks.All three launches are currently available from Sisley Counters Nationwide. To find your nearest counter, call 020 7591 6380.

Breaking News: So…? Launch Be Beautiful Gift Set (21.11.08)

So...? has got it spot on this Christmas, with a gift set that is as glamorous as it is affordable. The irresistible So…? Kiss Me Be Beautiful set contains four products, each perfect for the party season. Start by indulging yourself in the exotic shower gel - a stunning vanilla and floral heart rounded off by musks and woods. Pat dry with your softest bath towel and lock in moisture with the delicate perfumed lotion. Finally, generously spritz the sweet-smelling body spray and finish with a dash of the fabulous fragrance. Find this must-have gift set at Boots Stores Nationwide, priced at a fantastic £11.99. It’s lucky the set is this affordable – we’re pretty sure you’ll want to keep one all to yourself…
For more info on the SO…? range visit and to find out where we are available call 0208 8694444.

Tried & Tested: CLEANSING FLUIDS (21.11.08)
In a hurry? Replace your foaming face wash with a bottle of gentle cleansing fluid. Simply wipe over face with cotton wool to remove every trace of dirt, grime, and makeup. Now there’s no excuse to go to bed without perfectly-cleansed skin during the party season…


What they say: Rich in vegetable oils, the milk proteins emulsion gently cleanses, tones and moisturises; it removes face and eye makeup, sebum and dirt, allowing the skin to breathe. Milk proteins, rich in lactose and essential amino acids, offer nourishing properties and form a hydrating film on the skin by bonding with water molecules.
What we say: A simple white squeezable bottle containing a milky cleanser, with the texture of a moisturising lotion. A subtle scent of almonds. Packaging is made from recycled paper.
The Results: I use a foaming face wash, so swapping to a creamy cleanser felt strange – I wasn’t convinced that it could remove all the dirt and makeup. Applying the product felt quite luxurious, like wiping a rich moisturiser over my face, and I loved the subtle fragrance. It was a relief to see the dirt building up on the cotton wool and I was very impressed by how easily my eye makeup was removed as I wear quite a lot of jet-black mascara. I must admit that using this cleanser was very easy and saved me a lot of time in the evening. I do miss the fresh feeling after washing my face, but on the other hand my skin feels very soft after using it. The best bit for me is that the cleanser is 96.6% natural, so I know that nothing nasty is going onto my skin.
Best for: Natural cleansing

What they say: A water-soluble, hydrating one-step cleanser, containing precious extracts of Icelandic yarrow, lemon balm, eucalyptus, tea tree and the exclusive Taer calming complex. Suits all skin types, including sensitive and combination.
What we say: A mint green glass bottle, containing a creamy white cleanser to pour onto cotton wool. The fresh fragrance of tea-tree oil. No packaging.
The Results: I have combination skin and stick religiously to my alcoholic-based cleanser to make sure I don’t get blemishes. As I’ve got older, I’ve found that it strips a lot of moisture out of my skin, but I am scared to stop using it. Being asked to test this cleanser was the push I needed to move onto something a little more grown-up. And thank goodness I tried it! I was pleased to detect the scent of tea-tree oil, as I know that’s good for problem skin. The texture is quite thick, like a lotion, but it was very effective at picking up dirt and removing makeup. My skin felt very fresh after using it. The only downside is that it wasn’t easy to pour from the glass bottle, which I imagine could make it quite hard when it’s nearing the end. I’ve been using the cleanser now for a fortnight and have had absolutely no breakouts. My skin is feeling great and I’m delighted to have discovered it.
Best for: Problem skin

NUDE CLEANSING MILK, £22 for 200ml (
What they say: The perfect milk to cleanse and remove makeup without drying or irritating the skin. Cleansing iris and juazeiro extracts, moisturising baobab oil, soothing milk peptides and liquorice leave skin beautifully soft and supple.
What we say: A simple pale pink bottle, with pump applicator. A milky white cleanser with a subtle fragrance. No packaging.
The Results: I am in my late 50s and my skin has recently started feeling quite dry and tight. I hadn’t thought about replacing my cleanser, but using this creamy milk has made a huge difference. The product couldn’t be easier to use – I simply pumped a small amount onto cotton wool and wiped gently around my face. I could see on the pad that my makeup was being removed. I was quite surprised by how cooling and fresh the product felt on my skin – not what I expected from a milk, but a welcome addition. Afterwards, my skin felt less tight and much more comfortable. I’ve been using the cleanser twice daily and love the new softness and suppleness to my skin.
Best for: Mature skin

What they say: A mild aromatic cleanser for face, eyes and lips. Particularly appropriate for sensitive eyes and sensitive skin prone to redness, rosacea and irritation. Non-rinsing and non-drying formula gently removes impurities and makeup without irritating, leaving skin fresh, soft and supple.
What we say: A clear cleansing water, with a subtle floral fragrance. Simple opaque bottle, presented in stylish green Darphin packaging.
The Results: I have very sensitive skin, yet am prone to getting the odd spot, so stick to a cleanser that is designed for problem skin. This usually causes my skin to flare up, so I’ve recently been on the lookout for something gentler. When I first saw this product, I doubted that it would be effective enough to stop me getting spots – it looks like water. However, with just a few swipes, the cotton wool showed it had got rid of impressive amounts of makeup and dirt. My skin felt lovely afterwards – not even a hint of redness and it felt calmer and cooler than ever before after cleansing. I haven’t had a single blemish since I started using it a month ago. A little goes a very long way so this bottle won’t run out any time soon.
Best for: Sensitive Skin

What they say: Avocado Cleansing Milk is a gentle cleanser that effortlessly removes all traces of makeup and impurities. Avocado, a naturally rich emollient, infuses moisture into the skin.
What we say: Luxury Jo Malone packaging containing a generous 250ml bottle of thin cleansing milk. The bottle is squeezable, making appliance onto cotton wool easy. A pleasant neutral fragrance.
The Results: I’ve been using a rich milky cleanser for a while now, as I have very dry skin and the extra moisture helps to keep it feeling hydrated and supple. This cleanser looks very luxurious and I couldn’t wait to start using it. I found the fresh cucumber-style fragrance very pleasant and loved the way it felt cooling on contact with the skin – almost like I’d splashed my face with cool water. My makeup was very easily removed with just a few wipes of the pad. I could tell that it was packed with moisturising ingredients, as my skin felt lovely and soft, with a subtle sheen on the surface. After a fortnight of using this, I definitely feel that my skin is more balanced. It’s pricey, but worth the investment.
Best for: Very dry skin

What they say: An exceptionally gentle, yet deeply cleansing water-soluble creamy milk which sweeps away impurities, without affecting the natural balance of oils in your skin, leaving your face cleansed, refreshed and hydrated. Delicate chamomile and antioxidant-rich benzoin are calming, whilst rose geranium soothes even the most sensitive skin.
What we say: Deep purple packaging, containing an opaque glass bottle with a faux-granite lid. Typically for ESPA, it looks stylish and luxurious. Pale pink cleansing milk, with the scent of fresh roses.
The Results: Using this cleanser felt like I was having a luxury facial every day. It smells divine and has a gorgeous rich and creamy texture. The bottle looks fabulous and feels expensive, although it does need a good shake to get the product onto the cotton wool. I didn’t need to use much, so it definitely won’t run out any time soon. I have normal skin, neither oily or greasy, but it can occasionally feel hot and sensitive after cleansing. I found this product very gentle and experienced none of those symptoms. My skin felt incredibly soft afterwards, like I had just massaged in a rich moisturiser. I usually find cleansing boring and a bit of a chore, but using this product makes it a real treat.
Best for: Luxury cleansing

Feature: SIX BEAUTY INNOVATIONS (21.11.08)
Thought beauty was all about pretty colours and pleasant scents? Think again. Beauty is getting clever. We’ve found six innovations that are set to change your beauty regime. Prepare to be impressed.

THE AT-HOME SKIN RENEWAL DEVICE: Worried about your wrinkles? Feeling like your skin could be firmer and fresher? Before you hotfoot it to your nearest clinic, try the new STOP Clinical Skin Renewal Device, a revolutionary gadget that’s bringing some serious science to home skincare. Aimed at the first signs of ageing – sagging skin, lines and wrinkles, dullness and loss of tone – STOP is a handheld device that uses radio frequency technology to boost cell renewal deep under the skin’s surface. How does it work? Plug it into an electricity supply, pop STOP into the palm of your hand and, after applying the Preparation Gel, glide the device in even, circular motions across your whole face and neck for about 15 minutes. It feels like a warming massage, and there’s no pain or discomfort. Four low-power, high-frequency beams of electrical energy pass into your skin, tightening collagen fibres and encouraging new ones to form. Use twice a week for four to six weeks and you’ll really notice results, especially if you’re over 40. Scientifically developed and extensively trialled, STOP has achieved some amazing long-lasting results, bringing back radiance, lessening lines and improving skin texture. Clinical trials showed up to an incredible 50% increase in dermal thickening, which means wrinkles look plumper and skin feels more youthful, flexible and smooth. Not cheap at £396, STOP is currently one of a kind, but more at-home skin renewal gadgetry is sure to follow, bringing prices down. In the meantime, though, it’s safe, effective and still cheaper than most courses of anti-ageing treatment at a clinic. STOP is available from Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, and online at

THE MOTION MASCARA: When news first broke this summer of a truly new beauty innovation – a vibrating mascara wand - the cynics suggested it was a gimmicky gadget that would never catch on. After all, what could possibly be easier than coating a few globs of mascara onto lashes? Who on earth needs a battery to help with that? A couple of months on, though, and those cynics are eating their words. The new generation of hi-tech mascaras are proving that the tried-and-tested method of wiggling the brush along your lashes was in need of an update, and – oh yes – CAN be improved upon. Want thicker, longer-looking lashes? Then what you need is a mascara wand that oscillates around 7,000 times a minute to separate, shape and sensationally lengthen them! But beware of pale imitations of the real thing, because, as with any new trend, there are plenty of cheap copies out there. Lancôme Oscillation (£26, currently exclusive to Selfridges - - but going nationwide from November) has enjoyed acres of publicity but several reviewers have commented that, while the innovative vibrating brush certainly coats lashes well, the actual formulation of the mascara is a little thin, so you don’t get that glamorous ‘bat-bat’ factor where your lashes look rich and lustrous. We think we’ve found an even better option, though. Estēe Lauder’s TurboLash All Effects Motion Mascara, £28, does everything you’d expect from a vibrating mascara but delivers max volume into the bargain. It was actually released before Lancôme Oscillation but not to so much of a fanfare. The wand starts to pulsate as soon as you take the cap off, so there’s no shock factor when you put it to your lashes, and it easily coats even the smallest of lashes from root to tip, without clumping or flaking. That’s all thanks to a clever jellified water formula, so lashes stay silky, without telltale dryness or smudges.

THE MIRACLE HAIRBRUSH: Not the most exciting item in your cosmetics bag, granted, but the humble hairbrush is a beauty staple, and with so many of this season’s catwalk looks (crimping at Julien Macdonald, big waves at Gucci, sleek ‘helmet bobs’ at YSL) hinging on healthy, happy hair, it’s essential to invest in the best. One new innovation has quietly been sweeping up the awards this year. The Tangle Teezer, a genius idea that was first floated by creator Shaun P on TV’s Dragons’ Den, was named the British Hairdressing Business Awards 2008 Innovation of the Year and also made it to the finals in the prestigious Beauty Magazine Awards’ Best Beauty Innovation 2008 category. Top session stylists Sam McKnight, Nicky Clarke and Ben Cooke (the man who created Victoria Beckham’s ‘pob’), all confess to having the Tangle Teezer in their bags, and it was spotted backstage at all the Fashion Weeks this autumn. So, what makes this sweet little plastic brush so great? Simply put, it’s a cure-all. It detangles thick, coarse or curly hair without tearing or ripping, smoothes fine hair, puts a gloss on all types of tresses and can really tackle the knots of hair extensions without damaging them. Its ergonomic, fit-into-the-hand design is the secret: it has two sets of individual ‘teeth’ that glide through the hair rather than gripping it as so many combs and brushes do... meaning it can be used on wet hair, kids’ barnets and Afro hair, too. It’s this ease of use that the experts are loving. Mark Hayes, Creative Director at Sassoon says he was: “very impressed with the way it works through curly or straight hair without any undue stress being placed on the hair shaft”, and This Morning’s beauty guru Nadine Baggott raves about the Tangle Teezer because: “it really works; there’s no tugging or tearing, so there’s less split ends and broken hair, even when backcombing.” You can bag a Tangle Teezer for £9.99 from salons nationwide, online at, or call stockist line 020 7274 6128.

THE STAY-PUT POUT: Want to know the secret to Dita von Teese’s trademark scarlet pout? She uses cult beauty secret Lip-Ink, a semi-permanent make up range which has just become available here. Loved, too, by Courtney Cox Arquette and used by make-up artists on everything from TV shows to red-carpet events such as the Golden Globes, Lip-Ink is a simple, but brilliant idea: long-lasting make-up made with only natural, botanical ingredients. Dita von Teese says of it: “There is simply no other long lasting lipstick in the same league as Lip-Ink Colour! I live in red lipstick, and nothing else stays on all day, all night, and even through a passionate smooch! I think it’s just swell!" Unlike other long-lasting lip colours, wax-free, waterproof and smear-proof Lip-Ink doesn’t dry the lips, as it has a special moisturiser you apply just before the colour. It’s more like a stain that stays put until you take it off with the special Lip-Ink solution. It comes in more than 50 shades, plus there’s a colour-matching service, so Lip-Ink will tell you which of its hues is closest to your favourite lipstick. Here’s the really innovative part: Lip-Ink’s branched out into blusher, bronzer, brow gel and eyeshadow recently too, all of which have the same staying power without creasing, fading or smudging. Perfect for party season, it’s a licence to snog! Winner of the International Invention Convention Beauty Award two years in a row, Lip-Ink is organic, vegan, PETA-approved, and meets green standards, and you can’t say that of many other longlasting makeup formulas... A Lip Colour will set you back £11.50, and a Mini Kit is £20, from

THE SALON-STANDARD CLEANSER: Any beauty therapist worth her white coat will tell you that it’s not the type of cleanser you use, it’s how you use it that counts. While Eve Lom and Liz Earle cling to their lovely muslin cloths for cleansing, a new innovative gadget has snuck onto our high streets, ramping up our skincare routines to spa standard. And the good news is, there’s minimum hard work involved! Neutrogena Wave is a dinky handheld device with cleansing pads attached: when held to the face, it gently vibrates to give you a deep clean and a little exfoliating action too. Currently the bestselling cleanser in the USA, the Wave scored remarkably in UK trials before its launch here, with 91% of women saying that it gave them smoother skin. Attach the cleansing pad to the Wave, hold down the on button and away you go: it’s like having a mini-facial, right there in your own bathroom. The vibrating motion massages the skin, boosting blood flow for better cell renewal and giving your skin a healthy glow. The tingly foam penetrates into pores, helping to remove more make-up and impurities and dislodging blackheads and product build-up, too. It feels a little weird at first, but as long as you keep it moving you soon get used to the sensation, and the fresh, deeply-clean feel afterwards is addictive... and very good news for your complexion! Neutrogena Wave Power Cleanser including 14 pads, costs £12.99 (a pack of replacement pads is £4.99). Available at Boots and other stockists: 0845 6015789.








THE NEW, WEARABLE BLACK. With goth fashion reigning supreme on the catwalk, there’s only one must-have colour in makeup this autumn and it’s our old favourite, black. Top-flight labels Lanvin, Gucci, YSL and Dolce & Gabbana sent their models out in gorgeous black eyeshadow, liner and even lip colour: but it’s a look that, up until now, has been almost impossible to get right without the help of a professional make-up artist. Black eye colours have always been inky, dusty, dense and very likely to stray across your face before the end of the evening. But not this season. Black is back, and better than ever. Several of our favourite cosmetics brands have reinvented and reinvigorated their black ranges, using innovative, cutting-edge new formulas that allow for a punch of colour without any of the sootiness we associate with black. Check out MAC, Clinique and Guerlain for midnight shades in sheer, wearable formulations. The new black shades are light and shot through with other colours, like gold, pearl and aubergine, to add a 3-D depth. Try the Black Mauve Shimmer Ink Longwear Gel Eyeliner, £13.50 from Bobbi Brown for cat’s eyes that glimmer seductively with a hint of black-bronze. Or get yourself on the waiting list for makeup superstar Aaron de Mey’s first product for Lancôme: the limited edition lip duo The Phia Red, £45, which layers a black gloss over a deep red lipstick for added drama. Jemma Kidd’s Crushed Jewel Creme Duo, £12, in Black Diamond, pairs a super-fine charcoal eyeshadow with a separate pot of glitter as soft as icing sugar. A great way to shine through party season, the two mixed together are a fresh take on the smoky eye. And Revlon’s Blackest Black nail polish, £6.29, has a mirror-like high shine to keep nails looking more Marilyn Monroe than Marilyn Manson...

Fashion Group International has just honoured Bobbi Brown with a prestigious Beauty Star Award at its annual Night of Stars event. The international makeup artist, whose cosmetics brand has become a favourite for flattering wearable shades, was presented with the award by photographer and friend Bruce Weber at a glittering star-studded event. Few winners have deserved the award more than Bobbi Brown, who boasts almost 20 years of success in the beauty industry. For Bobbi, beauty is more than just cosmetics – her products make women feel better about themselves. Her famous explanation, “Makeup is a way for a woman to look and feel like herself, only prettier and more confident”, has earnt her countless fans and a loyal celebrity following. Fashion Group International is a global, non-profit, professional organisation, which endeavours to promote the business side of the fashion, accessories, beauty and interiors industries. The annual black tie gala, which this year took the theme “The Alchemists”, was held at the Cipriani in New York with celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Ashley Olsen and Prince in attendance. Others who were honoured on the evening include Donatella Versace, Burberry’s Christopher Bailey, Christian Louboutin and Philippe Starck for outstanding achievements in their respective fields. That’s some hall of fame. The Bobbi Brown range is available to buy online at


Treatment Review: ZOOM3! TEETH WHITENING, ULTRASMILE (14.11.08)
What it promises: Ultrasmile is one of the first clinics in the UK to offer the new and revolutionary ZOOM3 Tooth Whitening Procedure. Teeth can be lightened by up to 10 shades in just 45 minutes. The original award-winning ZOOM! and ZOOM2! Systems produced amazing results, but ZOOM3! is even better – it’s faster, more effective, and more comfortable.

What happens: I’m not a fan of the dentist and dread anyone fiddling around with my teeth, but have been desperate for whiter, brighter smile for a while and therefore decided to pluck up the courage to go ahead with this new treatment. Arriving at the slick reception area of Ultrasmile, sat by the Thames in an uber-stylish private road close to London’s Docklands, I was instantly put at ease. The place doesn’t feel like a dentist at all, having the ambience of a swish spa or private clinic. After filling out my forms and choosing the DVD I wanted to watch during the treatment (from an impressively comprehensive menu) I was met by my dentist and led through to her treatment room. After matching my current tooth shade on a chart and photographing my smile, the dentist informed me that my smile was nowhere near as bad as I imaged (a fairly bright B on the scale) but that ZOOM3! would easily push it to a near-Hollywood A. Cheered by this news, I sat back in the chair and allowed the dentist to carry out a quick hygienist polish of the teeth (which would ensure we received the best results when the treatment began). After this, she applied suncream to my face to protect it from the ultraviolet rays and started to pack my mouth with protective wads (literally pack it, there wasn’t a spare millimetre of gum left uncovered). This process took a long time – over half an hour – but it wasn’t at all uncomfortable (I even managed to drop off to sleep a couple of times, after a late night before, most unlike me at a dentist!) Finally, we were ready to begin. The whitening gel was applied to my teeth with a small brush, my DVD was switched on, and the ZOOM3! lamp was powered up for my first 15-minute session. Absorbed in Sex & The City, the time quickly passed. The gel was then washed off the teeth and reapplied, before two further 15-minute blasts. After the final treatment, the wadding was removed from my mouth (a huge relief after nearly an hour and a half), and I was finally able to admire the results in a mirror.

Results: My smile was so white after 45 minutes that it had slid off the surgery’s colour scale. The result obviously depends on the initial colour of your teeth, but everybody can expect to achieve impressive results. The treatment isn’t as uncomfortable as I feared, but requires a great deal of patience and the ability to be able to sit still for long periods of time. After the appointment, I was told that the colour might dull slightly after three days and to avoid coffee, red wine, and dark-coloured food. This has happened to some extent, but I am still extremely pleased with the result. The level of customer service was excellent, the surgery was super-stylish (I’m considering going back for the rest of my dentistry) and the treatment represents brilliant value for money.

Price: £425

Location: UltraSmile, 127a Basin Approach, London E14 7JG. 08452 300800.


Following a major revamp by creative director Louise Trotter, Jigsaw has quickly become one of the hottest labels on the UK high street. With trend-driven pieces, purse-friendly prices, and the launch this month of a fabulous new organic beauty range, there’s even more reason to take a trip to the store.Founded in the 1970’s, Jigsaw has always maintained an eco-friendly position. The company’s first foray into beauty has been developed along the same lines, with products being over 70% organic and Soil Association Certified, each made with rich, nourishing ingredients. The collection includes 10 products, with highlights including a luxurious body cream (£22.50), a nourishing hand cream (£12), and an indulgent bath sugar (£22.50). We can’t get enough of the No.1 Fragrance – an uplifting blend of lemon, sweet orange and mandarin that is perfect for chasing away winter blues. Packaged in super-stylish glass bottles – made from recycled glass, naturally – the products are made in Devon and reflect the brand’s strong English heritage. ‘Jigsaw Organics’ is available now in Jigsaw and John Lewis stores nationwide.

Tried & Tested... Body Oils (14.11.08)

Keep skin soft and nourished this winter with our pick of the best softening body oils. For optimum results, apply to damp skin after showering or bathing to lock-in moisture.

NUXE HUILE PRODIGIEUSE OR, £19 for 50ml (Boots Nationwide)
What They Say: A magical liquid gold, quick to apply, dry oil texture which is immediately absorbed. A modern beauty enhancer which combines the benefits of skincare with the effect of makeup.
What We Say: An amber glass bottle with a screw top lid and a drip dispenser. The oil is packed with gold pigment, which is visible through the bottle. A pleasant, sweet fragrance.
The Results: I had some reservations when I first saw the bottle as the flecks of gold seemed highly concentrated and I was worried that I’d end up looking a bit too glittery. However, as soon as I smelt the gorgeous exotic fragrance (which instantly took me back to far-flung holidays) I couldn’t wait to use it. The oil sank into my skin easily, leaving it feeling soft but with no greasy residue. The gold flecks were nowhere near as heavy as I imagined – instead, my skin was covered in a subtle dusting, which added a sophisticated glow to my skin. I loved how my shoulders and collarbones were highlighted - this will definitely be featuring in my beauty essentials for the Christmas party season. It’d look fabulous worn with a little black dress.
Best For: A night out

What They Say: Search out your spiritual smile: the softest stimulation imaginable- an ultra-moist body oil blend that feeds the skin whilst helping poor circulation.
What We Say: Elegantly presented in a purple box, the body oil is packaged in a chic etched, frosted glass bottle with screw top. The fragrance is a rich blend of essential oils.
The Results: I have fairly oily skin and was a little unsure about using a body oil, but I’d heard some great things about Micheline Arcier and was very happy to give this product a try. It definitely didn’t disappoint. I loved the delicious scent – an uplifting, floral blend of Jasmine, Ylang Ylang and Geranium. It felt very luxe and I took my time massaging it into skin, which no doubt added to the benefits. I was surprised at how light the oil felt – it sank very quickly into my skin and left no residue. My body instantly felt silky smooth and – surprisingly – after using it every day for a week the oiliness seems to have settled down and my skin feels much more balanced. I’d strongly recommend this product to somebody with oilier skin or somebody who simply wants a very luxurious treat.
Best For: Oily skins

What They Say: This truly exotic treatment oil, rich in microscopic lipids that mimic the skin, is rapidly absorbed to a deep level, providing superior moisturisation and free radical protection. The Monoi leaves the skin unbelievably satin-smooth, whilst the exquisite aroma of Frangipani, known as the “Flower of the Gods”, intoxicates the senses.
What We Say: A burgundy coloured frosted glass bottle with silver screw top. The dispenser means that you need to lightly shake the oil out, ensuring that none is wasted.
The Results: I’d heard a number of rave reviews for this product so was very keen to find out what all the fuss was about. Solid at room temperature, the bottle needs to be warmed in a basin of hot water before use. Although this sounds time-consuming, I actually enjoyed the ritualistic aspect of this and simply left it to heat while I had a shower. When I went back to get it, it had melted into a delicious warm oil, which felt incredibly comforting and indulgent to apply. The scent is amazing – rich, floral, and very exotic. My skin was left feeling softened and I loved the fact I could detect the scent all day. A little goes a long way and I was surprised at how much remained in the bottle after use. I felt relaxed and pampered, making this a wonderful treat for an evening in.
Best For: A home spa experience

GOOD WORKS GOOD VIBRATIONS BODY OIL, £12 for 200ml (Boots Nationwide)
What They Say: Massage this relaxing and indulgent body oil into skin to leave it feeling beautifully moisturised and glowing with goodness. The combination of essential oils includes Palmarosa, Geranium and Ylang Ylang to lift any mood and revitalise the senses.
What We Say: An easy-to-use pump dispenser, with bold colouring, and a generous 200ml included. Good Works was recently introduced to Boots stores by brand ‘This Works’, in support of the charity, Kids Company.
The Results: As a long time fan of the cult “This Works Skin Deep Dry Leg Oil” I was curious to try this budget version, which retails at almost a third of the price. I was impressed with the results. The oil has a light texture and was easily absorbed into my skin, which felt nourished for hours afterwards. I was delighted to see that quality had not been compromised, with an uplifting blend of essential oils and a formula which is free from mineral oil, which can block pores. This price is brilliant and it’d make a good credit-crunch essential during the cold winter months. Better still, I know that my cash is going to good causes. I’ll be stocking up!
Best For: Budget buy

What They Say: An ultra-nourishing body oil formulated to restore glow, softness, elasticity and comfort to the skin. It combines the healing and soothing properties of Rose Otto Oil with oils from Jojoba, Argan, Macadamia, Rice Germ and Cranberry Seed to further nourish and protect the skin against oxidative damage and premature ageing.
What We Say: A slender glass bottle containing the amber-coloured oil. Presented in REN’s stylish signature packaging. A pump dispenser and a delicious rose fragrance.
The Results: I’ve used REN products before, including the delicious Rose Otto Bath Oil, so I knew I was going to love this product. The first thing you notice is the absolutely divine fragrance – an intense rose, which gives the oil a very luxurious feel. It has a rich texture, which glides easily on and leaves skin with a healthy, glossy sheen. I love the fact that this oil is natural too, making it a fantastic guilt-free treat. I’ve got quite dry mature skin and have now been using the oil daily for a fortnight – I had no idea that my skin could feel this smooth and silky soft. I highly recommend it.
Best For: Very dry skin.

6) MAMO MIO O• MEGA BODY OIL, £23 for 200ml (
What They Say: A light gorgeously fragranced blend that will convert even the most extreme of oil-phobes to sing the praises of Body Oil. Packed with superfoods, Omegas 3, 6 and 9 which are crucial for maintaining the elasticity of the skin, it soaks in quickly to leave the skin irresistibly silky-soft and touchable with a beautiful sheen. Mio products are available
What We Say: A super-stylish plastic bottle with bright pink and blue packaging. A convenient pump applicator. A delicate citrus fragrance.
The Results: I’m three month’s pregnant and worried about getting stretch marks as my bump starts to grow. Lots of people have recommended using a body oil to keep the skin supple. I’ve heard brilliant things about Mamo Mio and know that lots of celebrity mums use the brand, so was very eager to give this product a try. I love the fact that it’s made using only natural ingredients, which is important to me at the moment, and found the fruity fragrance lovely and uplifting. It seems strange to say it, but I didn’t find this product oily at all. As soon as it hit the skin, it absorbed and left no greasiness at all on the surface. My skin felt hydrated and soothed all day long. I’ll definitely continue using this product – it’ll be brilliant to use after the baby is born is born too.
Best For: Mums-to-be


Feature: GLAM ROCK (14.11.08)

Deep impact eyes, blacked-out nails, and hair that screams attitude – this season’s hottest beauty look is all about the good girl gone bad. So why not work a little rock-chick glamour into your world.

Where there’s smoke: The smoky eye is quite simply the little black dress of the beauty world. A dark, effortless classic, which cannot fail to offer elegance with an edge.  Brooding sooty eyes menaced many of the Autumn/Winter 08 catwalks, from Karl Lagerfeld to Versace, Vivienne Westwood to Gucci, making this the one makeup basic that every girl must master. Paul Herrington head of artistry at Bobbi Brown says the secret lies in the preparation. “It is really important that underneath the eye is bright and fresh,” he says. “That means applying a really good eye cream, followed by a light creamy concealer that diffuses the grey under your eyes.” Try Bobbi Brown Eye Brightener £22 (0870 034 6751).
Paul then recommends using a cream or gloss eyeshadow such as Bobbi Brown’s Long Wear Cream in Galaxy, £16 (0870 034 6751) rather than matt black, to give the look a modern glossy dimension. “Smudge the shadow from lash to crease so that it almost disappears at the edge, and leave the brow-bone bare, otherwise the contrast becomes too theatrical.” If you are worried about veins or discolouring on your lids, dot with a little foundation before you begin.

Black magic: “You know the best bit about this look?” says Bobbi Brown’s Paul Herrington. “It almost looks better when you make mistakes and it looks a little deconstructed.” Great news if even the thought of gel eyeliner makes your hands shake. Paul recommends dotting either a pencil or pen liner around the eye, rather than struggling to create a perfect clean sweep, then work back over the outline to strengthen the look. If you still struggle, a great alternative is Bobbi Brown’s Eye Definer Brush, £21 (0870 034 2566). It is weighted to give the easiest possible application and is angled to fit perfectly along the lash.Try adding depth with a little navy or grey instead of black shadow, The Body Shop’s Shimmer Cubes are great, £16 ( and work the brush back and forth into the lash line to give incredibly intensity. Then for a professional finish, Paul recommends going over the whole look with a longhaired Eye Blender brush, £21 (0870 034 6751). “This polishes the make up, stops it from having any hard edges and ensures the look is beautiful and soft,” he says.

Shady lady: Forget flirty fluttering lashes – they should be striking spikes to edge your eyes. Start by curling the lashes with Suqqu eyelash curlers, £12 ( first at the root and then moving gradually to the tip and follow this with a lengthening mascara to give a fantastic false lash effect. Benefit’s Badgal mascara, £14.50 ( is billed as offering “the biggest, baddest lashes” in town, and we can’t argue with that. There have been some remarkable innovations in the mascara world of late, from oscillating brushes to spike-shaped wands, but Benefit’s simple but effective super-dense brush and ebony gloss finish beats the competition hands down.
To prolong the life of your mascara, try twirling the brush rather than pumping it in the tube to prevent it from drying out, and always wipe the wand before applying as too much mascara will clump. Move the wand from left to right along the lash then leave until it is completely dry before applying a second coat and don’t forget to coat both sides above and below.

Pale and interesting: Your skin should be a flawless canvas with which to frame those magnificent eyes. Fake tans, bronzers and shimmers should be banished to the back of the cabinet and the perfect primers and bases be made your new beauty best friends. SkinFusion Beauty Bio Active Mineral Power Brightening Lotion, £50 ( may sound like a mouthful but it is such a simple first step to preparing the skin. Lightweight and oil-free, it not only clarifies and brightens the skin, it actually revs up cell growth to rejuvenate and repair any damage as well as minimise congestion. Then for that porcelain complexion, La Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer Foundation SPF 15 (£100, 0870 160 7258) not only offers fantastic coverage, it also comes with its own colour-match concealer to invisibly even out any imperfections. Available in eight shades, it contains a cocktail of skin-enhancing properties from algae extracts to seaweed proteins to nourish, firm and neutralise free radicals. Then stop short of looking too goth with a natural flush to the cheeks in muted pink – try Manish Arora for M.A.C in Pink Swoon £14 ( - and finally add a light gloss to the lips.

Hard as nails: “The secret to great rock-chick nails is to make sure they are filed into a short soft square and are well groomed, otherwise they just end up looking a bit witchy,” says Trish Lomax the go-to nail technician for stars such as Emily Blunt and Emma Watson (“As the varnish is dark, apply a base coat followed by two thin costs of polish, leaving a gap around nail to avoid it bleeding into the skin,” Trish advises. “Finish with a top coat for a high gloss shine and polished finish. I swear by Essie nail varnish for great colours and durability. The Licorice black suits all skin tones but as a general rule, if you’re pale - go for a dark blue such as Midnight Affair; if you’re black, go for a dark purple say Sexy Divide, and if you’re olive-skinned you should try Steel Her Heart which is a gorgeous grey. But I always recommend trying something new as you never know what might suit you.” Essie varnish, £8.50 (

Glam rock hair: Straightening irons? Please, you want a thick textured mane that says: “I’m not just with the band – I’m in it”. Think Daisy Lowe, The Kills singer Alison Mosshart or the entire Autumn/Winter Gucci 08 show – this is hair with serious attitude girlfriend. Paul Connolly, top hair stylist at John Frieda says: “The key to low-maintenance hair is to retain the natural wave and texture. It’s better to diffuse rather than blow dry, and use a good styling lotion to give extra strength and hold and stop it from being so flyaway. Try John Frieda Collection Luxurious Volume Thickening Blow Dry Lotion, £5.49, ( If your hair is naturally quite flat, you could also use a little texturising paste worked roughly throughout. John Frieda Collection Luxurious Volume Thickening Texture Paste does the trick, £5.49, ( He continues, “Then, with a tail comb, part the hair in the centre and section off a semi-circle at the crown to backcomb for extra lift. The secret to successful backcombing is to work systematically through small sections. Try to keep the comb as close to the root as possible, and work your way up the hair shaft. If you start at the top and just work down it will flop. And don’t try to brush it out the next day, use lots of conditioner and very patiently tease it smooth again.”


Ever wondered what products make it onto the dressing tables of top beauty industry insiders? Or perhaps the hottest numbers listed in their address books? Eve Lom, Ruby Hammer, Lynn Harris, Marian Newman, Jessica Gearhart, and Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck have agreed to reveal all…

JESSICA GEARHART, Editor of the Cult Beauty Blog, Creative director of the Cult Beauty e-boutique, and self-confessed beauty-junky.
My skin care regime… Sophyto Polyphenol £45, and Mega Serum, £60 (both at are crucial. The minute I stop using them, I see a difference in my skin. I also exfoliate far more than the recommended once or twice and week and because of it, I have absolutely no scarring from my bout of severe adolescent acne. My makeup bag… Top of my list is Belmacz Oyster Pearl Powder, £38 ( - it makes my skin seem more poreless than anything else I have ever used ever. It’s truly amazing. I recommend it for absolutely everyone and it comes in one of those convenient travel puffs with a cap. My skin looks like it’s in permanent soft focus when I wear it.My hair care regime… My hair gets washed a few times a week (dirty hair is infinitely easier to style than super clean hair). I am a Ginger by choice (I dye my blonde hair red) so I try to use a red gloss a few times a week to maintain the colour. I avoid shampoos that are described as ‘clarifying’ and those that contain Sodium Laurel Sulphate/Sulphite as they strip all the red out in just a couple of washes. I also only brush my hair a couple times a week but, let me tell you, the lack of washing and brushing means I never need to use hair masks and I rarely have to use conditioner. It stays naturally healthy much longer this way and super shiny. My beauty secret… Massage the hell out of your skin and don’t be afraid to put oil on your face. Your skin will thank you for it. And learn how to use liquid eyeliner – it’s worth the year it takes to master it and you’ll achieve that old Hollywood glamour look. My mistakes… I am on the most horrendous 7-year cycle with ‘The Bob’. About once a decade I decide that I would look better with short hair and then I cut it and then I cry. Also, waxing your armpits is excruciatingly painful. Just shave them.

MARIAN NEWMAN, International Nail Guru and creator of the new Inkredibles.
My makeup bag… Mascara! My lashes are too blond to be seen, but mascara gives them length. I’m currently using Lancôme Hypnôse. Mascara, £19.50 ( My hair care regime… Although it’s long, my hair is pretty low maintenance. I change shampoo and conditioner regularly. I like products by Jurlique, from £15 (, Paul Labreque, from £15 ( and the Pantene Pro-V Ice range, from £2.87 ( My nails… My favourite colour right now is grey – I’m currently wearing Pewter from my Inkredibles range, £22 for the kit ( If it is too much on the fingers it looks great on the toes, especially when worn with the LBD (little black dress). My salon… My hair is coloured and cut by Michelle at Charles Worthington, Percy St (020 7631 1370). She understands what works well for me and how to keep my hair looking natural and ‘undone’ (I don’t like a ‘do’!) My beauty secret… Sleep! I like a lot of sleep – if I don’t get enough, it really shows on my skin. I spend a lot of time in London pollution, so a good night’s sleep with clean and lightly moisturised skin works best me. My beauty dream… I would love to spend a week at the Mayr Clinic in Austria (0043 4273 31117, It would kick start a fabulous new diet and I could enjoy a complete ‘forget the world’ relax. My mistakes… My teeth have never been straight and I hated them when I was younger. About 20 years ago, I had them straightened with crowns. They weren’t done very well and I’ve more recently spent a lot of money on veneers. These are much better, but I wish I had kept the ‘character look’ I had before and not been so vain.










SACHA MASCOLO-TARBUCK, Global Creative Director of Toni & Guy and daughter of founder Toni Mascolo.
My skin care regime… Crème de la Mer Moisturising Cream, £90 ( is my must-have skin care product - I can't live without it. It is the perfect base and really does give my skin an amazing glow. My fragrance… My Queen by Alexander McQueen, £19.99 ( I love everything by McQueen, especially his scents. My hair care regime… I’m a low maintenance girl, but I do make sure I get my regular cut every six weeks (it’s the secret to effortless hair). I wash my hair in our new label.m Organic Shampoo, £12.95, and Conditioner, £16.95 – they are infused with Lemongrass and smell incredible. To Blow-dry I use label.m Volume Mousse, £9.50 (for day) or Extra Strong Mousse, £9.50 (for party hair) and to finish label.m Resurrection Style Dust, £9.25 (an amazing new powder that boosts volume and adds texture) and label.m Split-End Sealer, £21.95, which hides a multitude of sins. (0870 7708080 for stockists) My spa… Shoreditch House (– the perfect location for a quick city fix. I don't have heaps of time to visit Spas (I work full time and have two small children) so any chance to sneak some ‘me time’ in is welcomed. Facials are high on the list. My salon… I get my hair cut and coloured at TONI&GUY Weybridge (01932 856 667) by Lydia and Kate. They do an amazing job and it’s always nice to be on the other side of the chair as a client, instead of the hairdresser. I love the salon experience. My mistakes… Probably the late nineties trend for stripy colour. Looked great at the time (or so I thought) but one of those trends I am glad to have moved on from!

RUBY HAMMER, International Make-up Artist and Entrepreneur.
My skin care regime… I always use an exfoliating cream, such as Aveda Botanical Kinetics Exfoliant, £15 ( - it’s mild enough for everyday use and gently peps up the whole complexion. After this I spend some time massaging Kiehls Ultra Facial Moisturiser £32 ( into the face and neck, a great way to stimulate the circulation of blood and awaken tired skin. My fragrance… I don't wear a perfume. Instead I use the Aromatherapy Associates Renew Rose range and the body cream, £26 ( is my scent - people always comment when I wear it. My nails… I do think red nails look fabulous for special occasions, but it doesn’t matter whether your nails are long and pointed or short and square, as long as they’re well groomed and cared for. My spa… I love the Agua Spa at Sanderson Hotel, London (0207 3001414). It’s so tranquil and the perfect way to relax. My salon… Whenever I’m in New York, I’ll pay a visit to Paul Labrecque ( My hair looks thick and glossy when I leave, and his line of luxury haircare is a great DIY range. My beauty dream… When I visited the One and Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives (, it was the most luxurious spa experience - it was phenomenal. I’d go back again and again! My mistakes… My biggest beauty disaster was when I overplucked my eyebrows when I was 14. I gave my parents quite a shock when they found me as I had removed almost all the hair. I also am afraid to say that I subconsciously pick spots. This is particularly bad as my skin is dark and it leaves dark black marks that take months to clear or even scar.

LYN HARRIS, Creator of Miller Harris Perfume.
My skin care regime… I’m religious about my nightly skincare regime and swear by Vaishaly Cleansing Balm, £59 ( followed by Sisley skincare (0207 591 6380). My makeup bag… I love By Terry and use the Touché Veloutee Concealer, £26, and Light Expert Foundation, £39, every day ( I also use Crème Blush by Becca, £22 ( My fragrance… For Autumn, I wear Miller Harris Terre de Bois (£58 for 100ml). And I’m currently working on a new fragrance for the Spring, which I’m wearing a lot as well. My nails… DIY clear polish or I just buff them. My spa… I go for regular facials with Vaishaly ( She truly has healing hands. My salon… Nicky Clarke in Mayfair (020 7491 4700). My beauty secret… You have to have inner beauty. If you nurture yourself through what you eat, how you live your life, how you feed your soul, it will be reflected in your outer appearance. My beauty dream… Perhaps to spend more time away from the big smoke.

EVE LOM, Queen of Skincare and creator of Eve Lom skincare
My skin care regime… I always have and always will use the Eve Lom 7 Step cleansing regime ( Cleansing is at the centre of my skincare philosophy it is so important and should never be overlooked. My nails… My nails are always bare, but l keep them looking tidy and groomed. I see clients every day for treatments, so it’s important that I look after my nails, but being a therapist I have to go for the pure natural look. My spa… I love my own treatments, as they are effective and leave you with a radiant complexion and a feeling of pure relaxation ( Also, I love any treatments that involve Lymphatic Drainage, as it’s the best way to flush out the skin toxin and really see a difference. My salon… I been to a lot of hairdressers over the years, but now I get my hair done in a salon in the South of France – it’s lovely and my personal secret! My beauty secret… The products I swear by are soaps from Fresh, from £8 (0207 4864100), beautifully wrapped little luxuries; Space NK foot file, £30 ( that keep my feet in peak condition; and Eve Lom TLC cream, £48 ( an all-round product that is perfect for mature skin. My mistakes… Here I have to mention my biggest mistake, which was also how my skincare range started. During a facial, I used an oily cleanser for an oily skin. I realised my mistake afterwards. I decided not to say anything to Georgette (Klinger, renowned LA skincare specialist), who I was working for at this time. A few weeks later, the same client called back. I was terrified and thought I would be fired, but her skin was radiant, and she asked for another facial with me and nobody else… This was my EUREKA MOMENT and I realised that the best way to treat an oily complexion was with an oil-based cleanser, as oil breaks the natural skin oil and really gets rid of all the toxin and dirt.

Tried & Tested: INTENSIVE FACE CREAMS (07.11.08)
Is the colder weather whipping your skin into a frenzy? It’s time to invest in a luxurious moisturiser. We’ve tested six face creams that promise to hydrate, protect, and improve the condition of our skin.

PHILOSOPHY HOPE IN A JAR, £35 for 2oz (0870 9908452)
What they say: A therapeutic moisturiser for dry, sensitive skin, with antioxidants to help reduce environmental damage. Contains rice bran, an excellent source of tocotrienol, and highly effective water binding agents to help preserve the skin’s water/oil balance.
What we say: A classic monochrome jar, containing a silky smooth white moisturising cream. A neutral scent, with a slight hint of essential oils. No packaging.
The Results: I have dry skin, which needs to be regularly moisturised, but it’s also very sensitive. I find that rich creamy moisturisers leave my skin feeling hot and uncomfortable, so have been searching for a product that combines intense hydration with a lighter texture. This moisturiser looks thick in the pot, but feels light and cooling on the skin – a great start! It absorbs quickly and instantly relieves any feelings of tightness or dryness. I’ve been using the product for a fortnight, twice daily, and my skin is feeling really soft and supple. I’ll definitely continue to use it.
Best for: Dry skin prone to sensitivity

What they say: Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream is a powerful anti-ageing cream that provides a progressive lifting effect through increased collagen support. The dynamic combination of ingredients helps to deliver visible results within 15 days.
What we say: A white opaque jar containing cream that looks fairly thick, yet has a lightweight texture when massaged into the skin. A pleasant scent. A tester of an Elemis Face Mask is included in the chic white box.
The Results: I’ve always looked after my skin with good creams and regular facials, but I’m now in my late 50s and seem to notice wrinkles appearing on a daily basis. I want a cream that will help to smooth the lines, but that will also keep my skin topped up with moisture during winter, as it definitely feels drier and more fragile than it used to. I can’t recommend this product enough – I hate thick creams and was relieved to find a light texture and lovely cooling effect when I smoothed it into my skin. It left my face feeling as smooth as velvet. I didn’t notice any instant anti-ageing results, but have been using the cream now for a fortnight and definitely think it’s improved the texture of my skin.
Best for: Fighting the signs of ageing

What they say: Gives an immediate moisture boost and plumps up skin's resistance to fine, dry lines. Moisturises and soothes dry skin; intensifies benefit of moisturiser. Instantly refreshes skin; leaves it feeling smoother and softer. Calms skin. Comfortable and versatile for all skins; lightweight; absorbs quickly. Helps protect against environmental irritants.
What we say: A stylish clear pot with a silver lid, containing a pale pink cream with a lightweight gel texture. A neutral fragrance and classic Clinique mint-green packaging.
The Results: I have combination skin – it’s prone to blemishes, but tends to get very dry during the colder months. I never know whether I should be using a moisturiser (which could cause spots) or should be leaving it out completely (which could cause flakiness). I was pleased to find that this product was very lightweight – almost like a balm – and absorbed instantly into my skin, leaving no greasiness whatsoever. I’ve noticed a change in my skin over the last fortnight – it doesn’t feel as dry and sensitive and it definitely hasn’t caused any breakouts. I’d definitely recommend using this product if you need a moisture boost, but are scared that thick creams will cause blemishes.
Best for: Hydrating younger skins

LUSH SKIN’S SHANGRI LA, £25 for 45g (
What they say: The ultimate in nutritious, rejuvenating moisturisers. (For everyone over the age of 29.). It has a multitude of cold-pressed, skin softening, organic, supremely nutritious oils and butters plus anti-oxidant wheatgrass and toothed wrack seaweed to protect the skin against free radicals.
What we say: A simple black pot, containing a thick white cream. A delicious sweet fragrance. No packaging.
The Results: I’ve never used Lush skincare products before – the packaging doesn’t make it jump from the shelf – so being given this cream to test was the push I needed to discover the range. I loved the texture of the cream, which felt luxuriously thick. I’m in my late 40’s and have started to notice my skin getting drier and quite uncomfortable every winter. This cream definitely left my skin feeling hydrated and supple. It was easy to massage in and left a lovely sheen on my skin – making it also a brilliant base for cosmetics. Better still, I knew I was putting natural products on my skin. I’m pleasantly surprised by Lush and will definitely be having a browse on their shelves next time I pass a store.
Best for: Hydrating skin naturally

EVE LOM TLC CREAM, £48 for 50ml (
What they say: This intensive cream gives tender, loving care to dry and very dry skins types. This is a must for skin that feels tight and stretched: it will promote suppleness and soften fine lines caused by dryness.
What we say: A white pot, containing a thick and ultra-rich cream. A subtle floral fragrance and stylish white packaging.
The Results: During the winter months, my skin becomes very dry and feels increasingly tight. If I don’t keep it topped up with moisture, it quickly starts to feel uncomfortable and starts to flake and peel. I was surprised by how thick this cream was – it needs to be scooped out of the pot and takes a while to massage into skin. It reminded me of a thick body butter. However, it absorbs quickly and leaves skin feeling silky smooth without a hint of greasiness. The cream has sorted out the dryness of my skin and I’ll be turning to this product every winter – the beauty equivalent of a scarf and gloves!
Best for: Very dry skins in need of intense moisture

What they say: Inspired by the idea of “Nutritive Perfection”, NutriPerfect is an essential infusion for maturing fragile skin of women aged 50 and over.
What we say: A pearlescent pot, with a striking gold curved lid. The cream feels thick, but has a lightweight cooling texture on application. A pleasant floral fragrance and stylish gold packaging.
The Results: I am in my 60’s and have found since the menopause that my regular moisturiser is no longer enough to keep my skin feeling hydrated throughout the day. I’ve taken to carrying a pot of moisturiser around in my handbag, which isn’t the most practical solution! I was very keen to try this product, which promises to hydrate skin affected by hormonal changes. I loved the texture, which massages in easily and absorbs very quickly into skin. I’ve been applying it every morning for a fortnight and have found that my skin is coping much better with the effects of the colder weather and constant central heating. Instantly after applying the cream, I also notice that my skin has a lovely youthful sheen – I have definitely found my new ‘hero’ product.
Best for: Delicate mature skins

If Clarins products feature heavily on your dressing table, we hazard a guess that you are going to be pretty excited about the brand’s latest launch. Not content with perfecting our makeup, protecting our skin, shaping our bodies, and scenting our wrists, the luxurious beauty house has moved into the realm of our homes. The brand has just launched a collection of three home fragrance products, each featuring the signature nature-inspired fragrance ‘Eau d’Ambiance’. The tempting selection includes a Room Spray, Scented Candle, and a Scent Diffuser, each presented in stylish forest green glass. At the heart of their shared fragrance are notes of Basil and Patchouli, which combine with floral, amber and woody tones to create a fresh, lively, and elegant finish. Our highlight from the range is the warming Scented Candle, which burns for an impressive fifty hours – a wise investment for just £24. With its dark flickering jar, stylish scent, and affordable price tag, we’ll certainly be stocking up for the approaching long winter nights. Clarins Home is available at Clarins Skin Spas, Gold Salons, and online at

Are you ready for man-scara? How about a touch of guy-liner? Well, you better be, because makeup for men is moving into the mainstream. A flurry of recent beauty launches for him means that soon we won’t be just sharing their wardrobes, but their beauty cabinets too. It all started with Jean Paul Gaultier’s Monsieur grooming and colour range, which features everything from eye pencils to bronzing powders to ensure he looks more flawless than you (from £9, at Harvey Nichols, 020 7201 8450). The rest, as they say, is preening history. Now there is everything from self-tanning by Fake Bake Man (£25, 0870 0454 4455) to Touch Eclat pour L’Homme by YSL – with no less than Oliver Martinez as the face, (£22.50, 01444255700) – not forgetting Matte 4 Men varnish by Jessica nails for the perfect at-home manicure (£9.95, 0845 217 1360). And the primping doesn’t end there. Superdrug has just unveiled its Taxi London makeup range, specially designed for men’s chunkier fingers, (from £5, Clinique has brought out its hot new moisturiser, Age Defense Hydrator SPF 15 (£25, 0870 034 2566), while The Body Shop not only wants to tackle their skincare but also their sex-life – with a new For Men Maca Root range that apparently improves a man’s libido (from £5.50, 01903 844554). It is no surprise that market research company Mintel recently reported that the male grooming industry is worth an astounding £806million, up from £639 in 2002. In fact the average man spends 3.1 hours a week in front of the mirror – that is half an hour longer than us ladies. Worth remembering next time he tells you to hurry up in the bathroom…

Treatment Review: ALPHA-H FACIAL (November)
What it promises: If you haven’t yet tried Alpha-H skin care, this is the perfect introduction to the Australian brand. The advanced formulations promise to balance all skin types by eliminating both dryness and excess oil. The ingredients, often including the key addition of Glycolic Acid, promise to restore moisture, elasticity, and suppleness to the skin. What's happens: I traveled to a leafy part of North London to enjoy this treatment, entering a stylish bloom-filled reception area and settling down in the comfortable waiting area. My therapist soon appeared, ushering me downstairs to the treatment room and telling me a little about Alpha-H products before we began. When she asked about specific concerns, I drew her attention to a couple of sun spots that had appeared after a recent holiday and she carefully set aside products that would help to fade the pigmentation. To begin the treatment, my skin was cleansed and toned, before an enzyme exfoliating mask was applied with a soft brush. While it was left to gently smooth the skin, I enjoyed a deeply relaxing shoulder massage. A warm flannel was used to remove every trace, which also helped to open the pores. After covering my eyes, the therapist switched on a bright light to get a closer look at my skin and then performed extraction. A soothing floral mask was then applied, designed to balance the skin and draw out pigmentation, while my feet and lower legs were given a delicious massage. Finally, a generous application of moisturising cream was worked into the skin. As I left the spa, I was handed a personal Alpha-H prescription – a selection of testers, plus a detailed description of each product that had been used on my skin. Results: This is no holistic day spa – I wasn’t surrounded by candles, aromatic oils, and serene music – but it felt slick, professional, and very knowledgeable. I’ve had my fair share of facials in the past, but few therapists have shown such a keen interest in my specific concerns and tailored the treatment accordingly. I knew I was in very safe hands and my skin feels wonderful for it – softer, clearer, and more even-toned. If you’re concerned about your skin, this is definitely the place to head. Price: £67 for 60 minutes, £82 for 75 minutes, £97 for 90 minutes. Location: Fernskinclinic, 18 Englands Lane, London NW3 4TG. 0207 7222002.

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