13 September 2014

Decleor Purifying Starter Kit | Review

Decleor Fresh Purifying Gel Review

Decleor are a brand that use high quality essential oils in every product they create, and this year they're celebrating 40 years of professional aromatherapy skincare. It's pretty much safe to say they know their stuff, and that's why today I've decided to review their Purifying Starter Kit (for combination/oily skin types). At the beginning of the month I published a post called 'Why Cleanse, Tone & Moisturise', and I was trying to get across that your skincare routine can help to prevent and cure many skin problems. I've always loved aromatherapy ever since I first trained in it, and Decleor products are perfect for me to demonstrate how using essential oils can help to prohibit and overcome common skin problems. Today I'm going to include some of the benefits in my review.

Aroma Cleanse - Fresh Purifying Gel
This is probably one of the best face washes I've ever tried. Each morning and evening I've been using water to lather this up in the palm of my hands, and a muslin cloth to gently massage it into my skin. It leaves my face feeling silky smooth every time, and I'm actually smitten with it! I find I'm left with the perfect base, ready to apply my make-up, and that's before I've even started with the other products in my routine. The ingredients include Ylang Ylang, which is great for purifying and balancing the skin, Melaleuca (aka Tea Tree oil), which can help with skin infections, problems and imperfections, and Green Tea which tightens pores and removes impurities.

* Beauty Tip * 
Choosing to use products that include Ylang Ylang can benefit your mental health as well as the condition of your skin. It's an antidepressant and helps to prevent panic attacks, amongst many other things!

Decleor Fresh Matifying Lotion Review

Aroma Cleanse - Fresh Matifying Lotion
I've been applying this to damp cotton wool pads and using sweeping movements to cover my neck and face. The ingredients are similar to Fresh purifying Gel, and include Ylang Ylang and Green Tea, which will enhance the benefits off these essential oils even more. It also includes Papaya extract, which is an amazing ingredient that has the ability to dissolve dead skin cells. I've spoken about Papaya a lot in the past, because I think what it can achieve is amazing. Taking away all those dead, dull looking skin cells leaves the skin looking radiant, and is great for preventing blocked pores. I find this prevents me from getting blackheads or breakouts.

Decleor Purifying Serum Review

Ylang Ylang Purifying Serum
This clever serum is designed to be applied after toning, just before moisturising. I'm always a little reluctant to apply oil first thing in the morning, as my skin has enough of its own in places. There's no need to worry with this little gem though, because it drys in no time, leaving a non-greasy finish. Again, the essential oils include Ylang Ylang, but also Clary Sage which is great for keeping excess oil at bay, and Rosemary, which has a purifying effect and helps with dry skin. This is brilliant for me because I have a combination of dry and oily skin, which can be difficult to treat. Other ingredients include Lemon, which is great for tightening pores and Lavender, which can be very repairing to the skin. If I have a spot, or a graze of some sort on my face, I make sure I'm applying my serum, because I know it will be gone within a few days.

Decleor Moisturiser Shine Control Oxygenating Fluid Review

Shine Control Oxygenating Fluid
I use this as my day moisturiser, and find that it is just right for my skin. You have to be so careful with moisturisers if you have combination or oily skin, because the last thing you want to do is add more shine. Skipping the moisturiser step is not an option, so I'm always on the lookout for one that's going to create the perfect day base. I think this is it! As with every other product in this range it contains Ylang Ylang, but the key ingredients that regulate the production of sebum and tighten pores are Chrono-Purity Zinc Spheres and P-Refiner Technology. Now, I won't lie - I don't know much about them, but they work! It also has White Water Lily Extracts, which are great for soothing the skin, and Vitamin C which is good for Cellular activity. The more the skin renews itself (within reason), the better its appearance, and for me I find this helps spots and imperfections to disappear much quicker, the same as when using Lavender.

Decleor Ylang Ylang Purifying Night Balm Review

Ylang Ylang Purifying Night Balm
As you can see from looking at the picture of this product above, its much thicker than the others, and that's because it was created to be perfect for night use. As my skin is repairing itself over night, Ylang Ylang, Clary Sage, Rosemary, Lemon and Lavender are working their way into my skin, and again, my imperfections are reducing. The ingredients are very similar to the ones in the serum, but vegetable oils from Passion Fruit, Camelia and Hazel Nut have been added, hence the more concentrated texture. The benefits are pretty much the same as when using the serum, but on a much larger scale.

Decleor Beauty Blog Review

Overall, I love every product in this little purifying starter kit, and that's quite unusual for me. My skincare routine never consists of all one brand, but right now, with Decleor it does. I think the bag that the products come in looks really classy, with the golden leaf and branded zip. I can easily find which one I'm looking for because it is clear, and the sizes are just right if you're off travelling for a week. I highly recommend buying this as a way of trying out Decleor, without splashing out on the full sized versions. 

The Decleor Purifying Starter Kit can be purchased here for £16.60.

Have you ever tried Decleor products? When it comes to skincare, would you say you are more of a high-street/drugstore or high-end/salon exclusive type of person? I would love to read your thoughts in the comments box below.

8 September 2014

My Top 5 Make-up Tips

Make-up Tips
Make-up trends are constantly changing, but there are some techniques that will never grow old. As long as people aspire to make their features look bigger or smaller, to correct the areas they don't like, or to help their make-up last longer, my top 5 make-up tips will always be useful!

1. Apply highlighter along your brow bones for an instant lifting effect for your eyes. Personally I like to use YSL Touche Eclat, but light coloured eye shadows work a treat too, especially if they have a bit of shimmer.

2. Put foundation on your lips before you apply your lipstick for a longer lasting, smudge-proof pout, that shows the true colour of the product you're using. If you think about it, mixing a lip colour with your natural lips actually creates a whole different shade. I find Revlon Colorstay provides a great base for my lips.

3. Correct your face shape and other features by using contouring techniques. Highlighting can be used to make areas appear larger, therefore drawing attention to them, and bronzing to make areas appear smaller, diverting attention away. If you would like to know more, have a read of my contouring post.

4. Use white eyeliner on the inner rims of your eyes to make them appear much bigger and brighter. Maybelline have just brought out a great product called Big Eyes Liner which does the job perfectly.

5. Choose a lighter coloured lipstick if you want your lips to look bigger, and a darker colour if you want them to look smaller. It's lighter colours for me - I need all the help I can get!

What's your best make-up tip? 

7 September 2014

Benefit Hoola Review

Benefit Hoola Review

Benefit Hoola

Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Review

Benefit Hoola Swatch
According to Benefit, Hoola is 'the No.1 selling bronzer in the UK', so it's pretty shocking that as a make-up artist I had never tried it until recently. I made my purchase, along with a few other Benefit goodies just before my birthday, as a sort of present for myself. (Does anyone else do this, or is it just me?). I already had the Real Steal on my shopping list, but somehow ended up buying Hoola too. I think Benefit try to entice people into purchasing their make-up, by creating the most adorable packaging. It certainly worked on me.

Hoola is a wonderful product that is perfectly blendable, and it can be built up into as much colour required, without looking unnatural. I'm impressed with the beautiful finish that it creates, and the fact that it is all bronzer, with no sparkle or shine. Its matte formula means it can be used as part of my contouring routine (see here), so I often apply it just under my cheekbones, along the bridge of my nose, and on every corner of my face, to create a more sculpted look. I find that it lasts rather well, but as it comes with a built in mirror and a handy little cheek brush, I can just pop it into my bag and easily re-apply if needed. What's not to love? If you're interested in finding out for yourself, Hoola can be purchased here for £23.50.

Have you tried Hoola? Do you think it's a good product to contour with? Please let me know what you think in the comments box below.

5 September 2014

Carey's Manor Hotel & SenSpa Review

Carey's Manor Review

Carey's Manor Hotel & SenSpa, located in the New Forest, is a place that I've wanted to visit for quite some time now. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that a few weeks ago my wish was fulfilled, as I celebrated my birthday in this beautiful haven with my friend Alex.

From the moment we arrived, we found ourselves lounging around in robes and slippers, and that's exactly how we remained for two days, only breaking to get dressed up for dinner on the first night. Most of our time was spent in SenSpa, which boasts luxury spa facilities, including the Large Hydrotherapy Pool, Herbal Sauna, Crystal Steam Room, Laconicum, Tepidarium, Experience Showers, Health Showers, Ice Room, Ozone Swimming Pool, Rhassoul Mud Room, Hammam Rooms, Vichy Showers, Relaxation Room, Quiet Room, Thai Temple Studio, Gymnasium, 18 Luxurious Treatment Rooms, SenSpa Boutique and Zen Garden Restaurant. As you can probably imagine, neither of us wanted to leave.

SenSpa Review

I have to say, SenSpa really took my breath away. This Thai inspired sanctuary has the most beautiful interior I've seen in a long time. I loved everything about it, and you only have to look at my pictures to see what I mean. The spa is by no means small, yet every room you go in feels cosy, with a tranquil atmosphere. One thing I particularly noticed was the blissful smell of aromatherapy oils. As I was guided through several rooms by my Therapist, I was hit by scents, of what I believe to be Geranium, Bergamot and Ylang Ylang. It's so relaxing. I couldn't help but zone right out. By the time my Essential Relaxation massage was finished, I was in a pure state of bliss.

Carey's Manor

As with the spa, the hotel itself does not disappoint. On arrival we were given two full sized SenSpa products each, which I thought was a lovely touch. The room we stayed in, had gorgeous interior and an outdoor patio area overlooking the garden. (Alex upgraded our room for my birthday, which I thought was really sweet). We had dinner in The Zen Garden restaurant, and breakfast in The Manor Restaurant, and the food was lovely in both.

I'm not usually a fan of old fashioned interior at all, opting for a more contemporary look every time when refurbishing my own home, but Carey's Manor have created something quite special. They've mixed the two together, and I love it! I think this is the kind of place where you will discover something new each time you go, and I can't wait to go back there and explore some more. I feel as though I've discovered the perfect escape.

Do you like indulging yourself at health spas? Have you ever been to Carey's Manor? Let me know in the comments box below.

4 September 2014

Free Benefit They're Real Push-Up Liner

Free Benefit They're Real Push-Up Liner

Image: Benefit Cosmetics

Benefit Cosmetics have teamed up with Boots to offer everyone the chance to get their hands on a free They're Real Push-Up Liner! All you have to do is visit your local Benefit Counter in Boots and swap your old eyeliner for a mini version of They're Real. This sounds too good to be true. I've recently purchased one of these (review coming soon!), and I can tell you - this isn't an offer to be missed! According to Benefit you can swap any eyeliner you like - old, new, half used, cheap ones, expensive ones. They will even swap an old They're real liner!

The Boots Liner Swap is on for two weeks, and started on 29th August.

What do you think of this offer? Is it something you're planning on taking up? Let me know in the comments box below!

2 September 2014

Why Cleanse, Tone & Moisturise?

Why cleanse, tone & moisturise?
Everyone knows that it's important to clean their skin, but some are baffled by the whole cleanse/tone/moisturise thing. Especially because it's recommended that we do it twice daily. In the past, many clients have proposed to me that this concept is just a glorified way of washing your face, for people with far too much time on their hands. Once I pointed out the benefits, I would find they soon changed their minds.

Following a good routine first thing in the morning will create the perfect base for your make-up, help protect your skin from the elements, and you'll reap the rewards from all those lovely ingredients as they work their way into your skin throughout the day. Your evening routine is just as important for many reasons. The most obvious is that you don't want to be rubbing the days dirt and grime into your pillow, and leaving your face full of make-up is a sure-fire way of clogging pores. Night-time is when the skin renews, healing and repairing itself, so it's the perfect opportunity to apply much thicker serums and creams. Overall, cleansing, toning and moisturising in the morning and evening, will ensure that your skin looks its absolute best. Here's a breakdown of what each stage can achieve in more detail:

Cleansing not only removes dirt and oil from your skin, but can also be incredibly nourishing. Choosing a cleanser for your specific skin type will ensure that you're using lots of ingredients that will benefit your skin, and can help with a multitude of issues. Cleansers can moisturise dry skin, calm sensitive skin, heal acne, balance combination or oily skin, and the list goes on. It also helps to eliminate dead and dull skin cells, leaving your skin looking radiant.

Toners help to tighten pores and hydrate skin, but most importantly, can be used to remove the excess left from your cleanser. Most cleansers leave a bit of a film on the skin, so toning is a must. They can be used in the exact same way as a cleanser, in the sense that they too have ingredients that can benefit your skin.

Moisturisers help to protect skin from the elements. Choose one with SPF in it for the day, to prevent all types of weather damage, and you're good to go. As I said previously, you can up your game a bit in the evening, and go for a product that's much thicker to give your skin intense nourishment overnight. Moisturisers are brilliant for treating all skin types and conditions, and used in combination with a good cleanser and toner, the results can be life changing.

* Beauty Tip *
Always keep a basic skincare range in your cupboard, such as Simple products. That way if you find your skin suddenly has an issue, you have something that's non-irritating to use. When I find my skin has a problem e.g. it becomes irritated, I have a breakout or random patches of peeling skin, I tend to go back to basics for a bit and use this range, until I've identified the root cause of the problem, and then I treat it with the correct cleanser, toner and moisturiser.

Personally I find my skin looks so much better when I'm religiously cleansing, toning and moisturising. Using the correct products keeps it balanced, and a good skincare routine helps with anti-ageing. After all, prevention is always better than cure (so they say, and as I'm not thinking of investing in botox any time soon, it's definitely the only way forward for me!). 

Would you say you have a good skincare routine? Do you believe in what I've written today? Let me know in the comments box below.

30 August 2014

Setting up a Salon with The Princes Trust

The Princes Trust

In the past some people have asked me if I'm rich, or have rich parents when they found out that I've set up my own beauty salon. It couldn't be further from the truth. I can't really go into any personal details on here, after all, this is a beauty blog, and I'm not a great fan of digging up the past. What I can tell you, is that despite everything, I totally turned my life around, and it's all thanks to The Princes Trust.

I love the famous quote by Walt Disney "If you can dream it, you can do it", because it's so real for me. As a teenager I had the dream of setting up my own beauty salon, but I never thought it would become a reality. I've never been an overly confident person, but I think this is something I hide rather well. Despite suffering with anxiety issues, every now and again an opportunity becomes too good to miss, and I find that excitement takes over. This was certainly the case when I got involved with The Princes Trust. I think it was the first time in my life that I experienced a proper sense of achievement, and my confidence started to grow.

At the time I was overcoming what I call my 'path to destruction', where I was constantly partying and looking for escapism. I made a conscious decision to try and get back on track, and really make something of my life. I had successfully completed beauty school, and was working in a salon in Bournemouth. One day I was reading our local newspaper when I saw an advert for a salon to rent. There was something about it, and I was drawn in. I found myself calling the landlord and arranging a viewing! What was I doing? I didn't have any money! In my mind I had convinced myself that it would be good experience to go through the process. Of course once I had seen it, I really wanted to set up a business there. It was a lovely place with a hairdressers and a gift shop, and the beauty salon was at the back. The question was how on earth could I change my dream into reality with no money?

It was at this point that my brother introduced me to The Princes Trust, who offer support and funding to help young people to start their own businesses. I didn't hesitate to call them. I ended up presenting my business idea to a panel of judges, and let me tell you this - it was set up just like Dragons Den - but less scary! My idea was approved, and although it took a lot of hard work, my salon opened up within less than a month. I was 22 years old.

The Princes Trust gave me a loan, which I paid back over 3 years with a very low rate of interest. I was also given the most amazing mentor who helped me with my accounts and the business side of the salon. In 2005 I was nominated for The Princes Trust Enterprise Award in my local area, and although I didn't win, it's something that I'm really proud of. Just to be nominated was a real honour.

I can honestly say that The Princes Trust changed my life. They gave me the wings that I needed to fly, and my confidence has grown so much since the day I stood in front of their panel of judges. I think things have changed quite a lot since I applied, but one thing remains the same - The Princes Trust aims to change the lives of younger people. I wasn't an offender or ex-offender and I hadn't been in care or anything like that. I was just a girl with a dream and parents with no money.

Every day we make judgements, based on what we see and hear, but the truth is - things are not always what they seem. I feel incredibly lucky to have been given the opportunities that I have in my life since getting involved with The Princes Trust. I went on to set up another salon and graduated from university with a business and marketing degree. My salons were only little, but I think I've done alright since changing route from the path of destruction!

What Walt Disney said really was true. We may not all be clever enough to create Disney, but we can certainly try and make our dreams reality. Maybe you're someone, who like myself many years ago, thinks you could never make something of yourself. It could be confidence or money holding you back, but I'm living proof that things can change. If I can do it, so can you! I hope this post helps or inspires someone.

If you would like to know more about the wonderful work of The Princes Trust please click here.

What do you think of what I've written today? Do you know anyone that's set up a business with the help of The Princes Trust? I'm interested to hear your thoughts!

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