My hair is mad, bad and in all seriousness, pretty dangerous to know… let alone be attached to. It whips strangers in the face (awkward) and is constantly getting stuck in car windows/tube doors/jacket zips and handbag straps. I’m practically Medusa, I just haven’t turned anyone to stone quite yet…
Get more sleep. Drink less wine. Drink More Water. Sleep on your back. Wear Sunscreen. Wear eye cream. Don’t tug at your face. Don’t squint in the sun.Walk away from the computer… and the list goes on and on and on…. All things we’ve heard before, and quite frankly, a near impossible list to adhere to all the time.
Whether you’re working too hard, sleeping too little or have just indulged in one too many cocktails, your eyes and the delicate skin that surrounds them, reflects this kind of neglect. In a perfect world, you’d be sleeping 8 hours every night, and avoiding sugar and alcohol 6 out of 7 days a week – but who’s perfect?
In the event of imperfection, the 5 star rated products below should help ease the signs of aging, and might even slow down the process all together. We’re so confident in these products that the shipping is on us (just enter code STARSHIP at checkout). You can thank us later!
My liver had taken rather a beating over the festive period and sometime before that, in fact the past decade if I’m completely honest. It wasn’t just my liver that needed an over-haul, my relationship with food needed attention for I’m addicted to cheese and unhealthy snacking and then wonder why I’m sluggish after lunch.
My self discipline deserves an ASBO, so in order to stick to eating sensibility, I need it dished out to me on a plate. And this is exactly what Nosh does. Their on-line consultation reveals what foods you need – a week’s detox diet in my case. Encouraging emails are sent a few days before you start and then… hey pesto, the doorbell goes and there are your 48 hours of meals delivered freshly every 2 days.
My Nosh diet consisted of smoothies in the mornings; a soup or salad for lunch; smoothies or fritters in the afternoon, and then the evening meal came in the form of either ratatouille, oriental chicken, salmon with roast veg, stir fries or other such tasty combinations.
Not once did I feel the need to grab a chocolate high, neither did I go hungry. The smoothies are gratifyingly filling and tasty. My first one took me straight back to India with a banana and cumin mix. My only complaint is that I tired of having such a liquid diet, but that is purely down to habit.
NoshDetox.com provides a much easier way of dieting, although I don’t think the word “dieting” does this course justice. It is the sensible approach to food without the time and hassle of buying the ingredients, cooking or washing up. Perfect for the time poor, money rich peeps who care about their divine bodies. The Detox ABC program I did costs £45.91 a day.
Not sure quite why, but when I first heard about Lash Genius I had a bit of a, “Yeah right!!” reaction, it just felt a little extraneous to an already burgeoning make up bag. But what makes this so effective is the fact that this is the product’s one function, it’s clear, glossing and it coats your lash so no moisture permeates. It can be a bit of an effort to get off but if you need to rely on your make up staying in place through thick & thin, this is ‘the one’!
The Astalift Cleansing Oil removes it, and anything other make up you are wearing pretty easily.
Western science has discovered compelling new information about stress and how to combat it. Through the advancement of MRI machines, they are able to track how the brain triggers emotions in response to our environment. They are beginning to have a better understanding of how our consciousness works. What is particularly exciting to me, is the proof that massage has far more reaching benefits with regards to our physical, emotional and spiritual selves than has previously been believed by Westerners. By tuning out of our hectic lives and encouraging blood to circulate, we are able to refresh our bodies, to rid them of toxins and feel a darn site better.
As a practicing masseuse, it’s important to know what other practitioners are doing. I want to introduce you to some of the really good ones I’ve seen recently:
First up is the Chi Yu Wellness Centre. My therapist was the owner, Mami, a beautiful Japanese lady with an uncanny ability to hit the nail on the knot and make it vanish. She is one of the best I’ve experienced. I decided to try the Oriental Aromatherapy in celebration of the year of the Water Dragon. A thorough and precise consultation, whilst sipping a home-made tea, concluded that my kidneys and lungs were off kilter. Mami then picked out 3 oils. Sandalwood – an excellent moisture retainer for skin and a soothing hand in calming the mind; Frankincense - helps clear congestion in the kidneys and lungs which also addresses my water balance as the lungs distribute water into skin; Geranium – helps to regulate the secretion of various hormones, enzyme acids and bile and tones up the internal systems.
Mami (pictured) then got to work stretching, manipulating and performing acupressure on my various muscle groups, pressure points and meridians. At one point she turned ninja on me as she leapt on the bed, straddled me and went to work on my back. This move gives her a perfect position to apply balanced pressure with her both left and right hands. I hate it when a therapist applies more pressure with their dominant side. Every move was precise, with purpose and felt amazing. Her routine flowed effortlessly. It felt as if my body was a mass of circuits and she was refreshing each one, paying special attention to the ones which weren’t playing ball. But at no time did she cause me any pain. She knew exactly what to look for and where to target her moves. ‘Twas amazeballs.
Next up, Cult Beauty expert Annee deMamiel. Annee comes over to the UK seasonally to work her magic from her room at the Beauty a la Carte spa in Fortnum & Masons’ beautifully grandiose shop. Annee starts the 90 minute facial with a consultation so encyclopedic, I wonder if she can read minds too – her background is in Traditional Chinese medicine. This ancient philosophy is based on the balance of Qi (pronounced “chee”) or vital energy, that flows through our body. Our Qi regulates our spiritual, emotional, physical and mental balance and is influenced by the opposing forces of yin and yang. What Annee is looking to find is where your imbalances are and then she works on rectifying them.
She checks my tongue and takes my pulse. Apparently some people leave out vital information when questioned, but nothing fools Annee for she can read it on your tongue, see it in your eyes and hear it with your pulse. As this was my first foray into acupuncture, she went easy with the needles – two between my big toes, two in my inner ankles, 1 on each shin, 2 a little way up my wrists and one in my 3rd eye, then a cashmere blanket placed over my body to keep me warm.
Her signature facial started with a wonderful vibrating stone placed over each of my chakras. She smoothed hot honey over my face which I wanted to eat, and then using a herb compress, gently but firmly kneaded and rolled it, pressing the honey deep into my skin. I melted into the bed in a state of bliss. When all was said and done, my face looked about 10 years younger. It was bright, glowing and plumped up. It felt like everything about me physically and mentally was restored to a beautiful harmony.
That evening I had a committee meeting, where I proceeded to drink 4 glasses of wine and smoked 2 cigarettes. When I went to brush my teeth later that night, I looked in the mirror and was saddened to see the glow had vanished. The chemicals in the booze and fags had acted like vampires and sucked the life-force out of all the great work Annee had done. I could see how immediate these toxins act, what a wake up call!
Lastly, I’d like to talk about the fabulous Ushvani. The setting for this day spa is a beautiful Edwardian town house in Chelsea, when you walk through the door it’s like entering a Malaysian palace. It is rare to find a spa on this level in a Western city, I’ve only had similar experiences in the far east. It is rare that you see anyone other than your therapist here, so luxurious that it felt like I was the only client in the place.
I opted for the signature Bali/Malay/Thai massage. After a long soak in the hydrotherapy pool, tropical shower and sauna I was ready to be transported to Pandora. The massage was totally relaxing. I loved the hot compress, the choice of music, the harnessing of the power and beauty of the hibiscus flower, the after massage service with accompanying sugared wintermelon and the way Lauren (my therapist) spread my scapula…was the best stretch. I also love the Ushvani products, especially the Ushvani Balm, it gives Tiger Balm a run for its money.
The only thing I think they could work on is the advice given at the end of the treatment. If its not precise, the diagnosis can come out sounding unsure. Have confidence in the truth or don’t say anything. olivia inge
I have a confession to make – I am a high maintenance blonde. By that I am referring to the insane lengths I go to get my chemically treated, frizzy curly mop look halfway decent. As well as my normal makeup jobs, I now regularly consult for a luxury brand, where I have to look absolutely immaculate. It’s an eternal struggle that goes on pretty much daily so when Urban Retreat invited me to sample their Rahua Omega 9 treatment, I could hardly say no. I have contemplated having my wild locks tamed by a Brazilian blow-dry to save me time – although the chemical side of the process is something that worries me – but a natural way to get my hair looking good is definitely welcome.
I had already heard great things about the wonderfully wholesome Rahua Hair Care range from Cult Beauty’s Alexia, as they were the first to sell it in the UK. I then met the charming people behind the brand last summer and was bowled over by the enthusiasm they had and how natural this collection actually is (free from synthetics, parabens, sulphates). Deriving its potent ingredients from the oil of the rahua nut and ungurahua oils found in the Amazon, the products seek to nourish the hair follicle from within, rather than the usual coating it in silicone to create an artificial shine. Rahua has become a massive hit in the upmarket salons of New york which is another good enough recommendation for me. The shampoo and conditioner do not come cheap but you only need a very small amount so it will last you a long time.
For the £35 treatment the lovely James washed and conditioned my hair – the hair masque is about 15 minutes long – then gave me a fantastic blow-dries that made my hair look sleek, shiny and healthy. I always like my hair best the day after a blow-dry when it has settled a bit and the best news that my normally coarse and unruly mop still felt soft and shiny three days later which to me is the main test of not only a great blow-dry but also of fantastic products, to which I am now completely addicted. emma day
I’m exactly a week away from commencing my second quarter of life (yes, I will live to be exactly one hundred) and in a bid to stave off any semblance of maturity, have hit the bottle.
I’ll admit, it seemed pretty late in the day to be getting a dip-dye. The trend’s been around for so long that every man and his dog (within a three mile radius of Dalston) have two, three or even thirty tone hair. However, like most things, it’s taken a year’s worth of subliminal brainwashing to convince me that it’s a greeeeeat idea and so, (finally) here I am.
For those of you unfamiliar with Dalston, it’s probably not the first place that would spring to mind if you were in line for revamp. Unless you wanted a new tattoo – in which case, get yourself to Haggerston pronto! Bleach has been garnering a reputation amongst those-in-the-know as the place to be if you’ve a lust for reinvention.
In the same spot as good old WAH Nails (of which we at CB are HUGE fans), Bleach on Kingsland Road is unquestionably cool. The white space has walls lined with cuttings from only the trendiest mags, together with Polaroids of previous victims clients (Pixie Geldof’s a fan) to make a glorified mood board and provide hours of amusement when you’ve finished your book and are still getting yo’ hay-er did.
I was greeted by Matthew – elbow deep in violet toner but no less charming because of it – who sat me down and left me just enough time to slurp a coffee and think about bolting make myself comfortable. I was armed with a picture of Abbey Lee Kershaw, the courage of my convictions and, um, not a lot else.
Fast forward almost FOUR HOURS and I look like a shiny new ‘My Little Pony’ with the swishiest pink mane in town. Matthew concentrated the bleach on my lower layers, to create flashes of brighter colour that peek through the more muted top layer. He was also very careful to create a shade that wouldn’t jar with my natural strawberry (*ahem* ginger) tones and left tiny sections au naturel, to highlight the pink tint and give a sun-kissed holiday vibe.
All in all, I feel much better about my imminent birthday (and slightly like a superhero). The only downside is that it need to be very protective of my colour and have stocked up on masses of the brilliant Sachajuan Color Save Shampoo and Conditioner.
For inspiration and prices visit http://bleachlondon.co.uk/ – there are Bleach salons in Dalston and Topshop, Oxford Circus and if the SS’12 catwalks are anything to go by, I would make an appointment asap as this is one trend that refuses to dye a death… verity douglas
Despite the fact that for most women, waxing of some sort is a tedious but necessary part of our beauty routine, most men still shy away from the prospect of having their body hair ripped from its follicles – funny that. However more and more are braving the wax to achieve a smooth, hair-free body and with summer holidays looming, many hairy fellows might be thinking about taking the plunge. We decided to send a hirsute guinea pig down to The Refinery in Mayfair to try out a classic back and shoulder wax and report back on his experience.
Our newbie found the atmosphere of the male grooming salon to be spot-on – not intimidating, but stylish and with the look of a gentleman’s club. His therapist, Simran, began by cleaning the skin on the back and applying tea tree oil and lavender balm. Then came the wax – and let’s be honest, it’s always going to be painful, especially on the first time and if you have thicker hair. As you’d expect from The Refinery, an establishment that aims to make every treatment as luxurious as possible (even the ouch-inducing ones), the wax was infused with gold, to give the skin a sheen, and soothing chamomile.
After the waxing was finished, he was given some lotion to put on his back and told that after three weeks he should use a loofah to exfoliate the area to prevent ingrown hairs. You also shouldn’t shower for 24 hours, and avoid swimming for 72 hours to avoid irritating the skin. In conclusion: it hurt a bit, but wasn’t remotely as scary as our newbie had expected, and he’s delighted with the results and already planning to make his next appointment and looking forward to a hair-free summer.
Back waxing costs £35 at The Refinery, 60 Brook Street, London, W1. 020 7409 2001
If you have long hair which refuses to do anything interesting, one of the best styling tools to try is heated rollers. They do a fantastic job of turning a frizzy mess into smooth, sleek curls or waves and as an absolute beginner I found the Babyliss Pro Ceramic Rollers surprisingly easy to use. I started by looking for how-to guides online – Youtube has an incredible amount of videos showing you how to put heated rollers in, and if you’re a complete newbie like me, they make the whole process far less mystifying.
It’s harder to get the curl to last on freshly washed hair, so leave it ’til the day after you’ve washed your hair and you’ll get a much better effect. Plug in the rollers and switch them on, and while you’re waiting for them to heat up, start sectioning off your hair – scooping up the top area and clipping it out of the way, then creating a horseshoe-shaped section from ear to ear and fastening that with a clip, so you can work from the bottom up.
The Babyliss Pro rollers are pleasingly chunky and colour-coded, so you can handle them easily by the ends even when they’re hot. I used the fattest size (red) to wind sections from the bottom layer of my hair, rolling them right up to the scalp and pinning them as firmly as I could with the pins (which have coloured tips so you can match the size easily.) I think the rolling-and-pinning comes with practise, but for a first attempt I was quite pleased with how secure the rollers felt when they were in my hair. I used the smaller blue and white ones on the middle sections of hair, and picked up any escaped whispy bits with the smallest white rollers. In an attempt to make the curls stick and not fall out as soon as I’d removed the rollers (my past experience), I liberally sprayed my hair with hairspray. And then waited…
Twenty minutes later, I started gingerly unwinding the rollers – you’re supposed to tilt them vertically and let the curl just drop down naturally, so you don’t pull it straight. And lo and behold, I had curls! Not stupid tight ‘boingy’ curls, but lovely natural soft curls, with an impressive shine (this is thanks to the ceramic technology) and they actually resembled a red carpet hairdo that you might see on a celebrity! For a first attempt, I was astonished by how simple they were to use and how professional the final result was. With practise, as I get used to pinning in the rollers and leaving them for the optimum amount of time, I know the finished effect will look even better. Thumbs up Babyliss Pro, you’ve completely converted this hairstyling cynic.