Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Wednesday Wisdom: Ann Landers

“Let this coming year be better than all the others. Vow to do some of the things you have always wanted to do but could not find the time. Call up a forgotten friend. Drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories. Vow not to make a promise you do not think you can keep. Walk tall, and smile more. You will look 10 years younger. Do not be afraid to say, I love you. Say it again. They are the sweetest words in the world”


Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The Tuesday Tip: Honey Highlights

Glossy, healthy looking hair is every girl's dream and this week I have a cheap and natural trick that will make this dream a reality. The trick is very simple and only requires one thing...honey!

Add one tablespoon of honey to your conditioner to make hair strong and super shiny. Honey also lightens hair, which is an added benefit for those wanting to give highlights a real boost.

You can add honey to any conditioner, regardless of the type or cost. However I would advise pairing it with a shine-enhancing conditioner to get the most out of your wash! The perfect partner would be the Tara Smith Shine On Conditioner 250ml (£10.00 M&S). It is a vegan conditioner that contains five fermented, essential minerals to help smooth, moisturise and strengthen the hair.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Ask TBI: Protecting Skin On The Ski Slopes

Question: I am visiting Geneva next month and I've heard that you need to pay particular attention to your skin on the slopes. Is that true? If so, what do I need to do? - Megan, Manchester UK.

Answer: That is very true. High altitudes, intense sunlight and freezing temperatures on the slopes can leave skin dry, sunburnt, cracked and sore. So it is important to keep your skin in the best condition possible.

The biggest threat to skin on the slopes is the sun. Both UVA and UVB rays are intense - especially at high altitudes - and the snow reflects these rays, increasing their power by up to 83%. However, due to the cold temperatures, people don't feel the need to protect themselves. So remember to use a high SPF on the exposed areas of your skin.

I would recommend using a long-lasting SPF, such as Kiehl's Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF50 150ml (£25.00 / $25.00 Nordstrom). Whatever SPF you choose, be sure to apply it generously and regularly, at least 20 minutes before stepping out into the sunlight.
Kiehl's Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF50
The second biggest threat to skin is the cold wind and dry air. Together, these conditions strip skin of its natural moisture, making it dry, chapped and flaky. So it is crucial to keep skin ultra-moisturised during this time and protect it by wearing specialist winter sports clothing. I would advise using creams and lotions targeted at those with dry skin, as these products not only nourish and moisturise the skin, they also help to lock in the moisture.

Friday, 26 December 2014

The Beauty Myth: Shave In The Opposite Direction Of Hair Growth

rihanna animated GIF

Verdict: False

Shaving in the opposite direction of hair growth is actually the main cause of razor burns, redness and rashes, so it should be avoided. Going 'against the grain' may get you a closer shave, however it will also increase the possibility of irritation, cuts and ingrowing hairs. One reason for this is because shaving in the opposite direction of hair growth cuts the hair beneath the skin. As a result, hair struggles to find its way back out and ends up bending back into the skin - causing bumps and ingrowing hairs.

If you really don't want to compromise a close shave, I would recommend shaving in the direction of hair growth first and then re-lathering and gently shaving again - this time against the hair growth using light pressure and short strokes.

Shave against the grain

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The Tuesday Tip: Repair That Tear!

It may sound a little dramatic, however a broken nail can be a bit of a nightmare - especially if you have a big event approaching. Luckily there is a quick fix that not only repairs your nail, but makes it look as though it was never broken in the first place....magic, right?!

You will need:
  • Nail glue
  • One tea bag
  • Base coat
  • Nail lacquer

How you do it:
  • Cut open a tea bag and throw away the tea leaves until you are left with an empty paper bag.
  • Cut a tiny piece of paper out of the bag, making sure it is big enough to cover the entire tear.
  • Dab nail glue over the tear and, using tweezers, press the paper on top.
  • Once the paper is immersed in the glue, and is covering the entire tear, leave it to dry.
  • When the glue has dried completely, gently buff the paper until it has blended in with the natural nail. It is important not to buff too much as the paper is already very thin.
  • Once buffed, apply a base coat to the nail and finish up with a nice lacquer. Voilà! No one will ever know!

Now, broken nails can happen to the best of us, however if you find your nails are breaking more than usual, you may want to apply a strengthening treatment. The best nail strengthener I have ever used is the OPI Nail Envy Soft & Thin (£19.50 / $17.95 ULTA).


Monday, 22 December 2014

Ingredients 101: Reishi Mushroom

Natural or Synthetic: Natural

Origin: The reishi mushroom (aka the ling zhi mushroom) is a polypore mushroom that grows wild in damp, dark forests on decaying logs and tree stumps.

Location: Reishi mushroom is commercially cultivated in East Asia and North America.

Beauty Benefits: Reishi mushroom has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 4,000 years. It is used to treat a wide variety of health conditions - ranging from arthritis to diabetes. However this magical mushroom doesn't just treat the body internally, it also does wonders for the skin and hair.

Reishi mushroom is anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic and it helps to repair skin damage (e.g. sunburn, insect bites and cut and bruises). Now, as fabulous as healing is, it is the anti-ageing benefits of reishi mushroom that make it extra special. The hero ingredient is rich in antioxidants that promote cell regeneration and protect skin from environmental damage. Environmental damage is responsible for accelerating skin ageing, so protection really is everything.

Warnings: Reishi mushroom is safe to use topically. However if you are pregnant, I would recommend consulting a doctor before using it.

Found in: Dr. Weil For Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Advanced Face Serum 50ml (£60.00 John Lewis / $71.00 Macy's). This lightweight serum helps to calm and soothe the skin, reduce redness and even skin tone. In addition to reishi mushroom, this antioxidant-rich serum contains chaga mushroom and cordyceps mushroom, which both strengthen the skin's barrier and reduce inflammation.


Sunday, 21 December 2014

News: The Estée Lauder Shopping Spree Continues

Estée Lauder Companies own some of the best brands in the beauty industry. Bumble and bumble, Bobbi Brown, M.A.C, Crème de la Mer, Tom Ford Beauty and Jo Malone London are just a few brands under the beauty giant's umbrella. However this clearly isn't enough, as Estée Lauder is about to acquire its fourth brand since October! That brand, my dear readers, is GLAMGLOW.

GLAMGLOW, the California-based skincare brand, was developed for backstage and professional use in Hollywood’s entertainment and fashion industry. The brand was founded by Glenn and Shannon Dellimore and it has been a massive success since it launched in 2010.

“GLAMGLOW represents the ultimate in innovative facial masks,” said Fabrizio Freda, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Estée Lauder Companies. “Glenn and Shannon’s vision – to create easy-to-use, effective products for camera-ready skin – has grown into an incredible success. GLAMGLOW is a top performer in specialty channels and effectively engages its devoted fans across digital platforms. Its unique focus on facial masks strategically complements our current prestige skin care offerings, and we are thrilled to welcome Glenn and Shannon to our Company.”

Sadly, the terms of the deal were not disclosed. However the acquisition is expected to close in January 2015.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Tuesday Tip: Puffy Free Party Season!

If you're anything like me, your next month will be full of parties, drinking and very late nights, so looking your best is sure to be a top priority. The problem with the late nights, drinking and parties is that they can lead to puffy eyes. Luckily I have a little trick that will help keep those peepers puff free!

To go from inflamed to fabulous, all you need to do is pop your eye cream, serum or gel in the freezer 10 minutes before applying it. The cold cream will act as a cold compress, reducing unwanted puffiness.

As to which eye product to choose, any will do. Lately I've been loving the Vichy Idealia Eyes 15ml (£23.00 Boots / $31.00 ULTA). This eye serum is light but deeply hydrating, which helps to smooth unwanted fine lines. It also contains illuminators which instantly brighten the eye area - great for reducing the appearance of dark circles.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Ingredients 101: Kigelia Africana

Natural or Synthetic: Natural

Origin: Kigelia Africana is extracted from the bark, roots and fruits of the Kigelia Africana tree. The Kigelia Africana is part of the Bignoniaceae family and is often referred to as the 'Sausage Tree'.

Location: The Kigelia Africana grows throughout tropical Africa.

Beauty Benefits: Kigelia Africana has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and it has been used as a healing agent for centuries. It is also great for reducing inflammation and redness. However this amazing ingredient is most loved for its ability to tighten and firm the skin! And that's not the only thing it firms - women in southern parts of Africa are known to use the fruit of the Kigelia Africana on their breasts as a firming treatment!

Warnings: Kigelia Africana is safe to use topically.

Found in: The Aurelia Miracle Cleanser 120ml (£34.00 / $53.00 This aromatic cleanser removes makeup and dirt completely, whilst keeping skin hydrated and soft. Hardly any product is needed per use and it smells divine!

Aurelia Miracle Cleanser

Sunday, 14 December 2014

The Gift Edit: Boys

Gifting a man anything that is remotely beauty related can be a difficult task. Luckily there are some beauty products that even the toughest, manliest of men can benefit from. Below are not anti-ageing heroes or pretentious pampering products, but just gifts that are useful and fabulous.

First up is the Elemis Aching Muscle Super Soak 400ml (£31.50 John Lewis / $63.50, a deep heat aroma remedy that is packed with therapeutic birch, juniper, clove, alpine lavender, wild thyme and chamomile. It is perfect for soothing overworked, tired and aching muscles.

Next we have the Vichy Homme Hydra Mag C Invigorating Hydrating Shower Gel 200ml (£9.00 It hydrates the skin, protects against dryness and  smells amazing! Talking of amazing scents, a good fragrance is an ideal gift. My favourite of the moment is the Hugo Boss Bottled Night 100ml (£54.50 Boots / $75.00 Macy's). This eau de toilette contains tops notes of bitter birch leaves, aromatic lavender and citric lemon leaves, middle notes of cardamom, jasmine and African violet and base notes of musky louro amarelo, vanilla and sandalwood.

Origins Fire Fighter review

Moving on to a more tradition gift set, I recommend the Rituals Pure Refreshment (£17.50 John Lewis). It contains the brand's Blue Dragon Shower Foam, Dragon Scrub, Ice Shower Gel and Cool Deodorant - four gorgeous smelling beauty essentials that are bound to appeal to just about any man. Last but not least we have the Origins Fire Fighter (£17.00 Boots / $18.00 This little miracle takes the sting out of shaving, thanks to hero ingredients chamomile, cucumber and winterbloom. It is the perfect present for men with sensitive or easily irritated skin!

Rituals Pure Refreshment

Friday, 12 December 2014

Ask TBI: Save My Brittle Nails

Question: In the last few weeks my nails have become brittle and dry. What can I do to fix them? - Camille, Wisconsin.

Answer: Brittle nails can be attributed to ageing and frequent exposure to water or various cleaning products.

To avoid brittle nails, wear rubber gloves when you wash up and/or use harsh chemicals. You can also try incorporating green vegetables and oily fish into your diet as these ingredients are high in nutrients that will strengthen nails and encourage growth. Taking vitamin B supplements will also help to strengthen the nails.

To treat brittle nails massage a nail and cuticle oil into your nails at least once a day and start using a good strengthening treatment.
Oil wise, I would recommend the CND Solar Oil Nail & Cuticle Conditioner 15ml (£11.95 / $12.99 and when it comes to nail strengthening treatments, it doesn't get much better than the OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener 15ml (£18.65 Boots / $17.95 ULTA).

Thursday, 11 December 2014

The Beauty Myth: Chocolate Causes Acne

Verdict: False

The idea that chocolate causes acne is complete bullshit. This popular myth has been circulating for absolute years, however there is just no scientific research to back it up.

Although a poor diet can exacerbate skin conditions, eating chocolate alone does not cause acne. What causes acne is the overproduction of sebum (oil) in the skin’s sebaceous gland. When an excessive amount of sebum is produced, it travels up the hair shaft and out through the pores. This then blocks the pores causing whiteheads and blackheads to appear. To make things worse, when pores are blocked, the (normally harmless) bacteria that lives in the skin joins the party and infects these blocked pores, leading to pus-filled papules or cysts (ewwww!). The overproduction of sebum itself can be caused by a number of things, including hormonal imbalance, menstrual cycle and stress.

So chocolate lovers rejoice! And, if you really want to stick it to the myth, treat yourself to a chocolate-based beauty product. One of my favourites is the Karin Herzog Finest Chocolate Cleansing Gel 50ml (£42.00 / $55.00 This cleanser smells gorgeous and removes all traces of makeup and dirt, whilst leaving the skin soft and radiant.

Monday, 8 December 2014

The Gift Edit: Makeup Palettes

Makeup palettes are, personally, my favourite type of gift to give a beauty girl. Although palettes are released throughout the year, I find those launched in the winter season particularly special. Palettes make great gifts as they are packaged beautifully and always contain something for everyone. I have selected four of my favourite palettes this season, each made up of soft pinks and earth tones and that suit just about anyone.

Christmas makeup palettes

My first favourite is the Benefit Cheeky Sweet Spot (£29.50 Boots / $36.00 Described as a 'box o’ blushes', this palette is made up of six of the brand's most loved blushers. When you pop open the tin - designed like a Christmas candy house Hansel & Gretel would kill for - you will find Hoola, Dandelion, Coralista, Bella Bamba, Rockateur, Sugarbomb and Watt's Up. Benefit is celebrated for its blushers, so to be able to access all of these favourites in one tin - for just £29.50 - is pretty freakin special.

Aerin Weekend Palette (£48.00 / $70.00 To start with, this palette is absolutely  gorgeous! It's protected by a blush pink cotton pouch and the palette itself comes packaged in a sleek gold compact that would slide into the smallest and thinnest of clutch bags. Inside the compact is a Pretty Bronze Illuminating Powder, Eyeshadows in Simplicity and Cocoa, Rose Balm Lipsticks in Whisper and Cabana, Multi Color for lips and cheeks and Highlighter in Glow. The neutral colours work across all seasons and will compliment all skin types and colourings.

Aerin Weekend Palette review

The next palette on my list is the Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Eye Shadow Quad in Chic Brown (£26.00 Debenhams / $40.00 Macy's). Unlike the Aerin palette, this one is all about the eyes and is made up of the most gorgeous soft browns and shimmery nudes; staple colours that look great on their own, as well as paired with other makeup looks.

Keeping up with all things eyes, the next palette I love is the Bobbi Brown Limited Edition Mini Eye Palette (£26.00 / $35.00 This sweet little palette showcases a selection of eight matte, shimmer and metallic shadows than can be used to create everything from a shimmering smoulder to a smokey eye. Included are three Eye Shadows in Cool Ivory, Saddle and Nude, three Sparkle Eye Shadows in Opal, Pink Rose and Gold, one Shimmer Wash Eye Shadow in Bone and, finally, one Metallic Eye Shadow in Sugar Plum.

Bobbi Brown Limited Edition Mini Eye Palette review


Sunday, 7 December 2014

Ingredients 101: Ceramides

Natural or Synthetic: Natural and synthetic

The Science: Ceramides are a major component of our skin's surface. They are a family of waxy lipid molecules that hold skin cells together, forming a protective layer that plumps the skin and retains moisture, keeping skin supple and healthy.

Unfortunately ceramide levels decline with age, so over time our skin becomes drier and signs of ageing become even more apparent. If that's not bad enough, declining ceramide levels will inevitably cause a weakening in the skin's barrier function, making skin more susceptible to damage.

So you won't be surprised to learn that beauty boffins eventually created synthetic ceramides that replicate those found in our own cells...

Beauty Benefits: These synthetic ceramides are used in skincare to replenish the natural lipids lost with age and exposure to free radicals. When applied topically, ceramides restore moisture, strengthen skin’s natural barrier and help protect it from environmental damage.

Synthetic ceramides make the perfect skincare ingredient as they replicate a natural component already found in our skin. So, as a result, our skin is less likely to reject the ingredient and become irritated or inflamed.

Warnings: Ceramides are safe to use topically

Found in: Elizabeth Arden's Flawless Future Caplet Serum 30ml (£48.00 Debenhams / $60.00 Macy's). This gel-like serum applies easily, absorbs quickly and feels weightless on the skin. It deeply hydrates the skin and noticeably brightens it, leaving you fresh faced and fabulous!
Elizabeth Arden's Flawless Future Caplet Serum

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The Gift Edit: Beauty Sets

If you are looking to get a gift for a true beauty addict this Christmas, I would recommend a gift set. There are a huge number of different sets available this year, ranging from makeup to skincare. Below are four of my current favourites...

Christmas Gift Set

The first comes from one of my favourite skincare brands, Dermlaogica. The set is Active Moist (£44.00 Selfridges / $58.00 and it contains 100ml of the much-loved Active Moist, along with 30ml of the Soothing Eye Makeup Remover and 4ml of the Intensive Eye Repair. These hydrating heroes will give all skin types a massive moisture boost that will leave them with soft, plump and glowing skin. Who wouldn't love that this festive season?

We then have the Rituals Tao Treat Collection (£17.50 / $31.99 This bodycare set contains four hero products from its Tao range, including the Shower Foam, Body Scrub, Body Cream and Deodorant. What I love about the Tao range is the scent, it is not too overpowering, just fresh, simple and subtly sweet - the kind of scent that would be loved by just about anyone. The set cost £17.50, so it is perfect for those looking for something more affordable.

Next up is the Benefit Sexy & Scrumptious Gift Set (£29.50 Boots). This set contains everything you would need to put on a full face! It's got High Beam, Posietint, They're Real, Fauxmance Lip Gloss, Coralista Blusher and an eyeshadow palette with fluff shadow/hard angle brush. Benefit have a large collection of Christmas gift sets this year, so it's worth popping in to one of their stores or going online to see what else you can get your hands on.

Benefit Sexy & Scrumptious Gift Set review

Swiftly moving from makeup to manicures, the final gift set on my list is the Nails Inc. Autumn Winter Collection (£29 This gift set contains a trio of limited edition nail polish shades that include Battersea Park, Grosvenor Crescent and Uptown. Each colour is highly pigmented, chip-resistant and provides a high shine finish. Considering each Nails Inc. polish is £14.00, the cost of this set is pretty impressive - we're talking a £13.00 saving!

Nails Inc Autumn Winter Collection review


Friday, 5 December 2014

The Gift Edit: Candles

I have a slight addiction to candles and consider them to be a perfect gift for just about any gal. Candles look great in all rooms, fill living spaces with beautiful, mood altering scents and are essential to any quality pampering session.

Christmas gift candles

The first candle I've selected for gifting this festive season is the Fornasetti Flora Ortensia Scented Candle (£99.00 Selfridges / $158.00 No brand on earth creates beautiful candles to the level of Fornasetti. This Italian masterpiece features Fornasetti's iconic design of the mythical fertility goddess 'Flora'. Gorgeous isn't she? Now, if you think this candle is more style over substance, you couldn't be more wrong. All Fornasetti candles smell amazing - thanks to an eclectic mix of quality oils - and burn for 50-60 hours. At almost £100, this candle is on the expensive side, however the stunning jar can be used even after the candle comes to an end. The scent is feminine and floral with notes of lily of the valley, white rose, jasmine, orange blossom and sandalwood, to name but a few.

My next recommendation goes to renowned candle brand, Cire Trudon. Cire Trudon is the oldest candle brand in the world and once provided candles to the royal court of Louis XIV. Cire Trudon consider candle making an art form, blending unique and often surprising ingredients together to create one-of-a-kind scents. I've been enjoying the Bryon Scented Candle (£60.00 John Lewis / £96.00, a candle that sticks a middle finger up at the idea that candles are just for women. The candle, inspired by the famous British poet, features notes of black pepper, mugwort, brandy, patchouli, vetiver, leather and opopanax, which create a heavy, masculine scent that it unbelievable enticing. So if you are looking for something to get a stylish, modern man, I couldn't recommend this more.

The final candle in my edit comes from NEOM, a Brit brand I've loved for some time. NEOM only use natural and ethically sourced ingredients in its candles, resulting in a clean and even burn. Every NEOM candle smells divine, with the scent remaining in a room long after the candle has been blown out. The brand has launched two festive candles this year, Prefect Peace and Christmas Wish. I would recommend Christmas Wish (£45.00 / $72.00 as the scent - which combines notes of mandarin, tonka bean and cinnamon - smells absolutely divine. The candle itself comes in a beautiful, gold-washed glass jar that will look gorgeous in just about any living space. If you would rather move away from the festive theme and gift a candle that would suit all seasons, check out the NEOM website. There you will find an extensive range of candles that suit just about every mood.


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Wednesday Wisdom: Nancy Willard

“Sometimes questions are more important than answers”


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The Tuesday Tip: Combat Oily Skin With Corn Starch

If you ever find your face on the oily side and have no primer to hand, grab yourself some corn starch. Corn starch (also known as cornflour) is a thickening agent produced by milling maize seeds. It is a hero ingredient for those with oily skin because it is highly absorbent.

Dusting your face with corn starch before applying foundation will help absorb any excess oil and give your skin a matte finish. Some people choose to dust corn starch on their face after  applying foundation and some go further by mixing it in with their foundation. Regardless of how you choose to do it, introducing corn starch into your makeup routine will help keep excess oil at bay!


Monday, 1 December 2014

Ask TBI: Can You Use Hair Oil If You Have Fine Hair?

Question: I have fine hair that is very dry. I have been advised to use a hair oil to help combat the dryness, however I am worried that using one will just make my hair greasy. Are there any good hair oils available for fine hair or should I just avoid hair oils altogether? - Angela, Manchester.

Answer: Like you, I have fine hair and was once very weary of using hair oils. However fine-haired girls like us can use hair oils, we just have to be careful about how  we use them.

When it come to applying hair oil post-wash, I would advise rubbing a pea-size amount of oil between your hands, running it through your ends and then drying your hair as normal.

However, my favourite way to use an oil is to leave it in overnight or use it as a pre-wash treatment. When doing either, I would advise applying oil from root to tip, however stick to using a pea-size amount of oil and keep the amount applied to the roots to a minimum. When using an oil as an overnight mask, wash the hair in the morning as you normally would. When using it as a pre-wash treatment, leave the oil in the hair for 15-20 minutes before shampooing.

As to which oil is best for fine hair, there are a variety of different oils you can use. I have been using the PhytoSpecific Baobab Oil 100ml (£22.50 / $40.00 Sephora) and have been getting great results. This botanical blend of eight beneficial oils helps to hydrate, revitalise and nourish the hair, as well as support hair strength and protect against sun damage. The oil is incredibly lightweight, so if I stick to using the correct amount, I never experience any greasiness. It just leaves my hair unbelievably soft, shiny and healthy.

PhytoSpecific Baobab Oil review
© The Beauty Informer. All rights reserved.