Wednesday, 1 September 2010

notesonbeauty has moved!!

Check out

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Dejunk your make-up bag!

With spring well upon us, it is a great time to freshen up your look and give your make-up bag a good old spring clean. As well as cluttering up your bag and just not working as well, old make-up can harbour lots of bacteria. Most cosmetics now come with a 'best before' date, Debenhams did a survey asking women about their cosmetic bags and found that "it was out of date by an average of four years". Have a good look through and be ruthless (I know it can be hard - try going through a suitcase of make-up!) There is nothing like having a good clear out, it makes you feel good and you might discover some make-up gems you forgot you had! Follow this link to an article from The Telegraph for product life guidelines.

While you're at it why not go through your skincare as well, it is easy to get stuck in a routine but your skin's needs can change with the seasons as well as other factors.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010


I have just received my new LoveLula spring/summer catalogue and as usual it is jam packed with organic products and ideas. If you haven't already checked out their site have a look, it is such a good resource for great organic brands as well as hints and tips for green beauty.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Volvic Challenge

When doing people’s make-up skin is always a hot topic with clients asking for advice on how to improve the condition of theirs. One of the questions I nearly always ask back is how much water are you drinking, and more often than not the answer is probably not enough.

Around two thirds of the human body is made of water, the brain is around 75-85% water and even mild dehydration can cause headaches, irritability and tiredness. Water is needed for every bodily function, it is lost just through breathing. Add things like exercise, air conditioning, caffeine and alcohol into the equation and imagine how much is lost on a daily basis. If you don’t replace that lost water you’re well on your way to dehydration, the skin carries a huge amount of water but is the first place to lose it. Dehydrated skin loses elasticity so will look older and lacklustre. It can feel itchy and blotchy and lead the way to fine lines and wrinkles.

Drinking enough water can sometimes be tough, especially in the colder months when all you want is a nice hot cup of something. Now the days are getting warmer, water drinking does seem to get easier, the Volvic challenge of drinking 1.5 litres of water a day has returned to our screens and it is a good thing to do as I found out when I tried it. I am quite good at my water consumption anyway but making a concerted effort to get my daily dose did make a difference with my skin and I certainly felt the benefit.
Ok, it’s not going to solve every skin complaint or perform miracles but there is no denying it, water is very good for you!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

This month I'm loving......

This month I'm loving Balance Me's Super Oil with Juniper and Bergamot.

I stopped using this brilliant oil for a while (was trying other things) and now I have gone back to it, I'm remembering how good it is! Packed full of hardworking essential oils, it works a treat on troublesome areas like thighs and bums by helping to detoxify and boost circulation. It is also super moisturising and smells amazing! Despite being an oil, it is not messy and disappears into the skin quickly. It is certified by Ecocert so even better!

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Disposable Wipes - a costly convenience?

As a make-up artist, face wipes and wet wipes are a staple in my kit. They are quick and convenient to remove make-up after a job and are great for mopping up spillages and helping to keep the kit clean. With a huge amount of skincare brands offering their own facial wipes, they are also a favourite for many women to use at night and on holiday. Wipes are also fast becoming a regular in handbags and such as an alternative to washing hands on the go.

I recently found a very interesting read, 'Behind the label' is a column in The Ecologist, written by the editor Pat Thomas, he looks at everyday household products and their ingredients. For one issue he focused on Wet Ones Ultra Soft with Camomile Extract which are one of the highest sellers in the UK for adult wipes. Thomas says the wipes are meant to be effective against E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria on the skin, but once an unwashed hand touches the inside of the packet the germs can start breeding inside the packet. To deal with this, eight of the 25 ingredients are preservatives and antibacterials which can cause skin irritation, sensitisation and dermatitis as well as breaking down the skin's own protective barrier. Propylene glycol is high on the ingredients list, this is found in many cosmetic products as it alters the structure of the skin therefore allowing better penetration of products, it is also a main ingredient in anti-freeze and as you can imagine is a known skin irritant! I had a look at the ingredients in a few of the different wipes I had in my kit and it wasn't good, with many of the long listings featuring the whole of the paraben family, as well as propylene glycol and a whole host of other unpronouncable chemicals.

On top of the fact that these wipes are not great for our skin, they are also not good for the environment. Thomas' column also said "Figures from North America suggest that if you were to load all the disposable wipes purchased there last year on to 18-wheel lorries, the convoy would number 9,000 trucks, stretch for 68 miles, and would be carrying 83,000 tonnes of used convenience cloths". That is a lot of cloths! They also take a long time to biodegrade so although a quick cleanse for us, not for the environment, who knows how long they will be in the ground after they have been used.

Now we are used to the convenience of wipes it would be hard to stop using them completely, luckily there are alternatives available. I have been using baby wipes from Nature Babycare, these wipes have minimal chemicals and are biodegradable too. Beaming Baby also have a good range of wipes including facial cleansing wipes. So we don't have to give up our wipes just yet, as long as we make good choices in the ones we use and don't use too many!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Purity search for two brand ambassadors

Purity Organic Skincare are on the search for two beauty and brains brand ambassadors to spread the word on organic skincare. If you've got a passion for all things organic, love this range and think you've got what it takes then have a look at their site for all the details on how to enter.

How green is green?

Here is a recent article I wrote for Clique magazine, exploring the 'greenness' of products.

With the green revolution still going strong, the interest in organic and natural cosmetics and skincare is ever growing. Is it just a trend to be green or are these products better for us and do they actually work?

What makes a product green? Is it the inclusion of organic ingredients, the exclusion of certain ‘nasty’ ingredients or is it the ethos of a company? How do we decide which ones are best - is there a shade chart to help?!

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Black Hair Magazine - Beauty SOS

I was delighted to be asked to answer some beauty dilemmas from some of the readers of Black Hair Magazine, one being on ways to tackle blackheads.

I think a good cleansing routine is essential in the fight against these little blighters. If you wear make-up and live in a city then cleanse twice, the first to remove make-up and daily grime, then the second to get deeper into those pores getting rid of any excess oil which can cause the blackheads. Try using a hot muslin cloth in your routine, after massaging the cleanser into your skin, soak the cloth in hot water (not too hot, you want it to be comfortable on the skin) and hold to the face. The heat will open the pores allowing your cleanser to really get to work, remove the cleanser with the cloth and then splash with cold water. The muslin cloth is also a gentle exfoliant which will help shift any dead skin which can contribute to blocked pores.

Exfoliating is a must when dealing with blackheads, using a muslin cloth daily will help but try something a bit stronger once or twice a week. Also invest in a good purifying mask to help decongest skin, I really like the one from Elizabeth's Daughter, this great mask only takes three minutes to work it's magic!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Wahanda MobDeal

If you don't already know about Wahanda's MobDeal, you need to know now! Everyday Wahanda offers a different deal with up to 80% off spa treatments, haircuts, teeth whitening, gym memberships and yoga classes, if enough people sign up to the deal everyone gets it! I just bagged myself a Dr Alkaitis Skin Food Facial at Content Beauty and Wellbeing for £20 - usual price £75.

Check it out at Wahanda

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Spring Brights

The sun seems to be teasing us with spring this week, hopefully we can soon say goodbye to the winter and welcome the new season in. To help it along we can get in the mood with some new make-up taking inspiration from the spring/summer shows.

This season the runways were awash with bright lip colours. Vivid pinks were seen at Marc by Marc Jacobs and Topshop Unique, at Paul Smith they were multicoloured including blue and green, Dior went for a classic red while the girls at Prada sported a bright orange. So lots of fun to be had with colour this spring/summer!

Before you hot foot it down to the make-up counter, here's a thought. On average, a women will ingest between 4-7lb of lipstick in her lifetime. Not such a good thought. Make it better by trying a lipstick from a natural or organic range, with nicer ingredients these lipsticks are kinder on our lips, and if we must ingest them are definitely a better choice! If the thought of a natural lipstick conjures up boring browns and earthy tones, think again. Companies are now investing more time and technology into these brands giving us better quality and choice.

Garnet Red lipstick is certainly not a boring tone, this bright red matt is perfect for making a colour statement this season. Another bright to be seen in is Plant Love's Eve Pinky, this hot pink would not look out of place on the runway. If you're drawn to the orange side of the spectrum try Jane Iredale's Nicole or C.J. for a gorgeous spring pout.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

This month I'm loving ......

This month I'm loving Korres Cherry Lip Gloss.

These gorgeous glosses come in 13 shades from nude to a lovely bright coral, perfect for the new spring/summer season. They smell divine and add a lovely shine without being too sticky. You'll also be pleased to know that they are free from parabens and mineral oil but do contain cherry oil which helps to hydrate lips and added vitamins E and C to help protect them.

Korres is a greek company with homeopathic roots, using natural ingredients in their products and avoiding synthentic ones where possible.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Nasties ?

Since 1930, more than 75,000 synthetic chemicals have been introduced into our environment (How to survive on a toxic planet, Dr Steve Nugent). Ok, there is no denying that many of these have revolutionised our lives but just what else are they doing to us? When you consider that our skin can absorb around 60% of what we put on it, it is quite a scary thought when you look at the never ending lists of unpronounceable, quite possibly toxic ingredients in some of our skincare and make-up products.

There are lots of new brands coming onto the market claiming to be 'clean' skincare, in that they don't contain certain chemicals and preservatives. Likewise lots of already established brands are deciding to remove these ingredients from their lines. There is much debate surrounding these so called nasties and it can be confusing in knowing what to believe.

One of the most talked about is the infamous paraben family, these chemicals are used as preservatives in many beauty products and food. They get a lot of bad press, including possible links to breast cancer and low sperm counts due to their ability to disrupt hormones. In various studies, parabens have been found in human tissue and many people believe this is due to the use of beauty products containing them being applied to the skin. However, none of this has been proven and many reports claim that the amounts used are insignificant to us. The European Union allows the use of parabens in cosmetics and food but only in amounts that are considered to be safe, and many companies continue to use them. There are also many companies who have decided not to use them, and have seeked out and are using alternatives, making them much easier to avoid.

We seem to be living in a toxic world, if we can eliminate some of those toxins by choosing our beauty products wisely it's a start.

For more reading on parabens check out The Organic Pharmacy's website, they have some some great (eye-opening) factsheets.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Blooming Blushers

Apparently spring blooms have been delayed by a month due to the cold weather but don't let the grey skies get you down. Why not inject some colour of your own and brighten your day and your complexion with a new blusher. A little dab of rouge is like an instant pick me up, giving any skintone a healthy glow. Every make-up bag should have one!

If you're a 5 minute make-up kind of girl then cream blushers are perfect, you can apply straight onto a moisturised skin, no foundation required. They are also great for drier skins so brilliant for this time of year. To make them last the day set with a little loose powder, also try layering powder blush over the top for a punchier colour. I love Bobbi Brown's Rouge Pot, Calypso Coral is a staple in my kit and brings life to every cheek it touches! Cabo Coral is the most recent addition to the range and will give a slightly warmer flush.

For those of you who prefer powder blusher, remember to use setting powder first so that your colour goes on without streaks and blends well.

Whatever your chosen texture, apply high on your apples, blending up and along your cheekbones to lift the face, adding instant youth and vitality!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

DIY Facial

There is nothing like a good facial to revitalize tired winter skin and lift the spirits. If your finances are a bit stretched though, it doesn't mean that your skin can't have a treat, try this DIY facial once a week. Ok, it's not the same as an hour in the spa but your skin will thank you for it.

  • Saturate a cotton pad in eye make-up remover and hold to the eyes, letting the remover melt away any make-up.
  • Massage a cream cleanser into your skin, making sure you get right into the creases of the nose and chin where oil and impurities can build up. Liz Earle's Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser is great for a really deep cleanse. Run a muslin cloth under hand hot water and then hold to the face to open the pores and really let the cleanser get to work, gently remove the cleanser with the cloth. Repeat if necessary.
  • A muslin cloth used daily is perfect for regular gentle exfoliation but for an extra boost to slough of those dull cells, try something a little stronger. Choose one with grains but make sure they are not scratchy or abrasive and use a light massage to apply.
  • In preparation for your mask, add a few drops of rose water or Jurlique's Lavender Hydrating Essence, into a bowl of hand hot water. Saturate your muslin cloth in the mix, wring away excess water then lay it over your face. Breathe in the comforting smell while the warmth from the cloth relaxes your muscles and gets the blood flowing.
  • Now comes your mask - I like to use two, a hydrating and soothing one for winter worn areas like cheeks and then a purifying one for the t-zone. Choose according to your skin type, whatever you choose make sure you sit back and relax while they do their job! Try laying your hot cloth over the top to intensify the treatment.
  • Remove the mask gently with your cloth, using cotton pads soaked in toner to remove any last traces and to refresh your skin.
  • Warm a few drops of facial oil or serum between your palms, take your time and massage it in. Massage is great for relaxing facial muscles, stimulating circulation and helping to eliminate toxins, which are all essential in the quest for radiant skin.
  • Using firm upward strokes take your oil right down from your decollete, up your neck and onto your face. Use your fingers in small but firm circular motions to ease away any stress along the jawline, right up to the ears. Then from the corners of your mouth, along your cheek bones, up to your ears and onto your temples. After a long hard day this is great for alleviating any tension. Work your fingers over your forehead, from the middle back out to the temples, and then back again. Gently press your thumbs into the top of your inner eye sockets, under your brows and then work along your brows, squeezing them gently as you go. Now work underneath your eyes, press your fingers along the orbital bone working from the inner socket, up and out (this is great to do in the morning if you wake with puffy eyes, it really helps to get toxins moving). Use firm strokes to massage up the nose, between the eyes and back onto the forehead. Then circle around the nostrils, above the lip and the chin. Repeat as many times as you like!
  • Now do the same with your favourite moisturiser.
  • Give your eyes another helping with your eye cream, remember that you need just a small amount of product. Apply with your ring finger as this is your weakest finger so is gentle for delicate skin.
  • Not forgetting those lips who are very often victims of the cold weather. Slather on your best lip balm, choose one without petroleum which although can feel good, will not actually nourish.
Now you should feel brighter and your skin should be glowing!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

This Month I'm loving ......

This month I'm loving Liz Earle's Superbalm.

This gorgeous skin salve is a brilliant multi-tasker, you can use it pretty much anywhere! Packed full of plant oils and shea butter, it's great on lips, cuticles, knees, heels, elbows, even fly away hair. I put some on my cheeks before I run to protect them from the wintry air - although no running required to reap the benefits! Also great for adding a sheen to the skin and grooming eyebrows.
The list goes on ......

Check it out at Liz Earle

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

InStyle 100 Best Beauty Buys 2010

The prestigious InStyle Beauty Awards have announced their winners for 2010 alongside celebrating their 10 year birthday. The much anticipated awards have become renowned in the beauty world, with Instyle readers keeping the results magazine as their beauty bible for the coming year.

I was honoured to be part of the judging panel and even more chuffed to have two quotes in the magazine!