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