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This week I onto face masks a good staple to have in your bathroom cabinet in winter when skin can need a little extra TLC beyond cleanser and moisturiser. A face mask can really transform your skin when it got the right ingredients if you looking for extra moisturiser, you want a face mask which is rich in vitamin E, marine collagen or nourishing essential oils; if you want radiance, look for masks which contain properties like ginkgo, algae and mulberry extracts; and for deep cleansing seek out masks with either kaolin clay or Dead Sea mud.
All of these ingredients are well known for their effectiveness at boosting skin in different ways some masks combine them to offer various benefits. If your skin needs it, treat it to a mask once a week after buffing.
You can always make your own too: the one I think works best (and is easiest to make) is to beat an egg and add a dash of cooking oil to it, then apply it to your face with a cotton wool bud, before rinsing off with warm water after 10 minutes. You find your skin is so soft you won need moisturiser, and it will glow with health.
Body Shop Warming Mineral Mask contains kaolin and essential oils to draw impurities out from the skin and leave it bright and fresh.
Yes To Carrots C The Difference Exfoliating Soothing Mud Mask this gentle face pack detoxifies, smoothes and soothes skin.
November 21st: It often amazes me that exfoliation has got to be such a habitual part of our facial routines. At best exfoliating is a gentle boost to your skin natural renewal process, at worst it like polishing your face with a Brillo Pad.
Don get me wrong, buffing can play a valuable role, making skin smoother and ready for treatment moisturisers and masks often absorb more quickly after skin has had a light polish. But there is wisdom in doing this carefully, and here why.
First, your skin is designed to protect you it your body natural coat, if you like and it has its own process of self renewal. Skin is also more fragile than you think it can be easily aggravated (especially in winter when the chill makes skin dry and vulnerable), and this can lead to premature ageing.
So the key with exfoliation is to be measured about it. Don allow yourself to be talked into daily abrasion the best place for cleansers with exfoliating grains, no matter how fine or smooth, is in the bin. Use soft, creamy buffers with grains as fine as marble dust as little as once or twice a week on your face, or use a hot flannel with your cleanser. You will be doing your skin a greater service in the long run.
Clinique Exfoliating Scrub fresh (it contains menthol) with fine abrasive grains.
Aveda Exfoliant best for sensitive skins, this grain free lotion removes dead skin cells without abrasion.
Elemis Gentle Rose Exfoliator enriched with tiny jojoba beads; perfect for a once weekly buff.
November 14th: I don know about you but I am a big fan of baths. Given the choice I will always choose a bath over a shower, especially in winter; and while time isn often on our sides I think baths are one of the best ways to relax and let the days troubles drift away.
This works especially well if you have the right bubbles, salts or oils to add to the bath and I pretty picky about these, tending to use salts and oils more than straight bubble baths because they offer a treatment angle which makes me feel like I getting something more valuable out of the bath (not to mention more value for money!) The important thing about a therapeutic bath though is that it YOU time. In other words there is no point adding some relaxing oils to the water if you going to get interrupted every five minutes by the kids or a phone ringing. Run the bath (not too hot or you won be able to stay in it for very long), stick a not disturb sign on the door, shut it (firmly), light a couple of little candles, climb in and soak. These additives are worth every penny:
Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath Shower Oil a mix of calming plant oils to help you sleep more soundly.
Molton Brown Bracing Silverbirch Thermal Muscle Soak the business after a work out, it soothes tense muscles effortlessly.
November 7th: When it comes to home fragrancing few things are better than scented candles they beat room spray and a bit of pot pourri hands down! Apart from anything candles give a room ambience, with their warming little flame flickering away in the background.
But all scented candles are not equal some of them really are pretty awful, either because they smell overpoweringly synthetic (it amazing how wrong you can get lavender or grapefruit), or don smell at all, or don burn well because the wick disappears into the wax which means you can only use them a couple of times before they are useless. Which isn ideal when you have forked out for one some of the expensive ones are surprisingly poorly made. Candle making is an art, especially when it involves perfume the beauty editor recently saw some candles being made at a factory and was amazed at how time consuming it is: imagine 500 glass jars being hand filled with wax poured from a jug by one person at exactly the right temperature.
The best candles are hand poured and filled with 100% pure fragrance oils, which distribute a clean scent right through the wax so the candle still smells when you are burning it near the end.
You won go wrong with these:
Diptyque Limited Edition Epinette Christmas Candle the smell of spruce tree. Just magic and very festive.
The White Company Winter Botanical Candle seasonal cinnamon, orange and red berries, and it looks as good as it smells.
October 23rd: The beauty editor was lucky enough to be invited to the Women of the Year event last week, an annual lunch and awards ceremony to recognise women achievements and their personal contributions to society.
Among the 400 handpicked guests was Hetty Bower, a 106 year old ex suffragette who not surprisingly got a standing ovation, newsreader Mary Nightingale and Bianca Jagger. A handful of women, including Katie Piper who rebuilt her life after an acid attack in 2008, Jackie Millerchip who has dedicated her life to looking after able bodied and disabled children, and six medical experts who treat injured military personnel in war zones, were honoured with special awards for their outstanding contributions.
And taking time off from her Strictly Come Dancing appearances, Lulu received a Women of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award. To say the event was moving is an understatement it was humbling to be in the same room as these high achievers.
Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) also held their annual Achiever Awards recently and presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to the eternally glam and groomed Joan Collins. Joan, looking incredible in an emerald green Roland Mouret dress, revealed she had been taught how to apply makeup by Marilyn Monroe personal makeup artist when she first went to Hollywood.
Time for some much needed time out, so away we went me and three friends for some sightseeing, shopping and serious pampering. Our first stop was Cafe de Flore on Boulevard Saint Germain, our second following a Croque Monsieur and an espresso was the Plaza Athenee Hotel, home to the Dior Institute.