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Sunday, 31 October 2010

going for bust

Décolleté: the French word for low necked. Actor Christina Hendricks otherwise known as Joan Holloway, the secretary with curvy clout in the addictive Mad Men knows how to showcase hers only too well. But what impresses me most about her much photographed womanly assets is not their cup size, but the baby softness of her décolleté. No mean feat when living in sun drenched LA. The neck and chest (they are often viewed together in the beauty world) are one of the most exposed areas of the body and susceptible to sun damage. Oil glands and fat cells are in short supply, making the skin fragile and vulnerable to sagging as they aren’t supported by bones in the same way as facial skin.
Clinique are in true defence mode when it comes to fighting neck and cleavage wrinkles and have introduced CX Neck and Chest De-Ageing Cream. The role call of ingredients includes whey protein that increases skin’s natural production of collagen to help firm and minimise the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Looking like thick creamy yoghurt in the pot, once applied it’s actually very light and sinks comfortably into the skin without being tacky-to-the-touch. I’m not saying it will give you the milk maid smoothness of Christina’s ample bosom, but over time the skin barrier is strengthened for a more hydrated and plumped up appearance. When applying, massage from the bust to the chin using long firm strokes to help re-educate muscles back up into position.
Available from Harvey Nichols and Selfridges in London, Brown Thomas, Dublin and online at priced at £73.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

the new echinacea

Atisho! Yes, the tissue season is upon us where sniffles and snuffles leave us feeling below par along with a red and sore nose. Always on the hunt for a new super supplement I’ve recently come across Comvita’s Olive Leaf Complex. A staple part of the Mediterranean diet, it’s the oil from the olive tree fruit that is usually hailed with the do-good health benefits. Research has shown that active compounds called Polyphenolics are to be thanked, but here’s a secret: the olive leaf harbours these too and in much higher doses. 30 to 40 times more than Extra Virgin Olive Oil in fact. Furthermore, olive leaf has 400% the antioxidant power of Vitamin C and at least 5 times higher antioxidants than achingly trendy juices such as Acai, Goji and Mangosteen, which I reckon makes it a supersonic immune booster.
Available both as a liquid – it tastes quite bitter so you may want to dilute with juice and a capsule take as soon as you feel a throat tickle.
Both liquid and capsule are £27.95 available from larger Boots, Holland & Barrett or visit:

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

more than a facial, short of a scalpel

Every once in a while you come across something or somebody that literally turns your skin around. Mine was therapist and all round skin-ista Emma Hardie (pictured left). Her magic is not down to the latest gizmo or being a dab hand at injecting a toxin or fillers, it’s simply down to her fingertips. For over the last decade Emma has researched the science behind facial massage to better understand why it can play such a complexion changing role in skin rejuvenation. And the swotting has paid off. Her facials are amazing both in experience and results. It’s little wonder she’s called her skincare line Amazing Face. The foundation of her facials lay in the ability to being able to ‘melt’ the facial tissue including the muscle and skin under her fingertips so she can plump, lift and sculpt the skin naturally. “The warmth and natural electrical pulses from your fingertips act as skin stimulating and plumping tools. When you take time massaging in products you are literally ‘charging up’ your skin with energy,” Emma explains. Looking in the mirror after my treatment my number 11 lines between my brows were definitely less noticeable and my cheekbones seemed, if not chiselled but that little bit higher. Taking away some of her dexterous moves I’ve noticed I can keep my facial muscles flexible by doing a spot of DIY facial massage every evening. It’s a relaxing ritual too.
But what I really love about Emma is her skin philosophy. Looking at the person holistically, not just their pores she has some slightly leftfield ideas, but they’re worth digesting. She says, “Before you go to sleep, visualise your face, the skin and its contours as it was 10 years ago. See and feel your face morphing into this younger image. Do this nightly and it will help re-energise and bring youth back to your face.” Emma also reveals that feeling negative is the fastest way to look old as it causes contraction of the vital micro structures of the face. “You are what you think, so think happy,” she says. And as to the question of turning back time with a jab of a needle, Emma believes injectables can cause the skin to loose its pliability whereby the complexion can begin to look hard and softness – a youth inducing quality in itself, vanishes from the face.
Emma’s Natural Lift and Sculpting Facial costs £130 and can be booked at Michaeljohn of Mayfair. Telephone: 020 7629 6969. Her amazing face skincare line is available at Space NK or online at

Monday, 25 October 2010

eye spy a de-aging trick

A few crinkles around the eyes when you smile are sexy, but you know you’re in trouble when you apply your mascara and it ends up decorating your upper eyelids. Like women that angst over which colour to polish their toenails but forget to buff away at cracked and split heels – rather spoiling the effect of a stunning strappy shoe, so it goes that it doesn’t make beauty sense to slather on eye care wizardry just under the eye and ignore the upper lids that can sag and become hooded with age. Having just discovered Jeanne Piaubert’s Radical Firmness Eyelid Lifting Care my morning routine isn’t complete without dabbing on this bright eyed miracle worker. Not only does this slightly pearlised lotion work as a superlative highlighter thereby instantly lightening up the brow bone area, it lifts and smoothes too. With a 10 ingredient complex – let’s give a mention to the hope-in-a-tube sounding ingredient, Dynalift that works as an anti-gravity agent on the eyelid skin, after one week of use 85% of women declared they had more lifted skin. Make-up can even be applied straight after application. It costs £47 and is available from Urban Retreat, Harrods and at

Sunday, 24 October 2010

be brave, say no!

Be truthful, what have you said yes to today when you really meant to say no? Jot them down. Now write down all the fake yes’s you’ve said throughout the week. How many have you listed and how has it left you feeling? Resentful of the people you’ve said yes to and annoyed at yourself for being weak?

If you're feeling undervalued or trying to find time to fit in the things you love doing, perhaps it's time you asked yourself: ‘what am I nodding at when I should be shaking at’? The fact is most of us say yes because we see the action of doing it as a giving role. Generally women like to people please, not rock the boat and be classed as a person that is seen contributing and helping out. But the truth is, when we agree to do things we really don’t want to do, we wind up paying a higher price: increased stress, less energy and lower self esteem. On the other hand, when we say yes and mean it, we give energy, motivation and creativity. One book I discovered earlier this year is Beth Wareham's The Power Of No (published by Hay House) who details her yes years as a catalogue of unflattering hairdos, back-fat exposing blouses, treacherous work situations and bad relationships. That’s until she discovered that all-important, two-letter word: NO.

Wareham is a vice president and director of a lifestyle publishing company in New York and writes in a witty and upbeat manner that makes for easy breezy reading. Explaining how saying no changed her job description from 'mopping the pee off the floor' to 'making decisions' she cheerleads us into taking control of our lives simply by saying no, creating the time and space to live the life you want.  As Wareham says, ‘you are who you no’.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Tangle Teezer's head girl

I may be biased as a consultant for the detangling brush, Tangle Teezer, but really it's the only brush you need to leave you with hair that smoothly swings and sways. A hit with uber cool session hairstylists such as Sam McKnight and Zoe Irwin, the oddly spaced teeth flex just enough to ensure tangles are tackled effortlessly minus the ouch factor. I can't tell you how many emails pop up in our inbox thanking creator Shaun P for literally changing their life. No more hacking away at fresh-from-the-shower hair that not only leaves your scalp sore but your brush full of tortured hair. And the funny thing is, once you own a Teezer you just can't stop brushing your hair. Compact Styler is newly launched. Surely a handbag must-have it keeps hair looking good on the run. £11.99