Three ‘holiday’ fragrances to cheer you up

On the hunt for a new men’s grooming essential?  Every week, grooming expert, Lee Kynaston, will be rounding up the best grooming products that have earned his seal of approval. 

This week, he talks all things scents and the four fragrances that will whisk you away…

A fragrant world tour 

Places have long provided perfumers with inspiration for their creations, with fragrance the perfect medium for transporting us to exotic locations and far-off destinations. After all, when a perfumer uses a note of French lavender they’re effectively dropping a pin in Provence.

So if your holiday plans have become a casualty of coronavirus, as mine just have, how about taking an olfactory adventure instead, courtesy of Creed’s Green Irish Tweed (an evocation of Ireland that’s only missing the Guinness); Heinrich Barth’s delicious fig and sage body wash (a personal fave that’ll have you longing for the Aegean); The Library of Fragrance’s Caribbean Sea; or 4160 Tuesdays’ excellent Dark Heart of Old Havana, all coffee, tobacco, and overripe fruit?

OK, so I might not be able to go to New Mexico as planned, but Ireland, Greece, Cuba and the Caribbean? Thanks to fragrance, they’re all still on the menu. 

Scent from afar

 Green Irish Tweed, £165 for 50ml edp, Creed 

Green Irish Tweed, £165 for 50ml edp, Creed 

N. 07 Mykonos Skin Softening Body Cleanser, £22, Heinrich Barth 

N. 07 Mykonos Skin Softening Body Cleanser, £22, Heinrich Barth 

The Dark Heart of Old Havana, £55 for 30ml edp, 4160 Tuesdays

The Dark Heart of Old Havana, £55 for 30ml edp, 4160 Tuesdays  

The 8 best solutions to defeating tech neck

The Bloomgist

Even before smartphones, I had a tendency to what was quaintly called chicken neck. Short-sightedness, incorrect desk ergonomics and sloppy posture have conspired to make me Not Audrey Hepburn. So what are the solutions? 

I asked Mary Helen Bowers, founder of Ballet Beautiful. She recommends pulling in the core, keeping your shoulders back, lifting your chest – standing like a ballerina, in other words – and holding your phone at eye level. I’ve tried it all week and it does make a difference.

You can also buy posture correctors, which pull your shoulders back while you’re at your computer, for around £10 on Amazon.

As for the lines – I’m not that bothered. There are specialist neck serums, but most get fairly meh reviews, though the BBC’s Horizon found Boots’ No7 Restore & Renew Face & Neck Multiaction Serum, £28, effective.

If you’re really concerned, Profhilo is a treatment that delivers hyaluronic acid deep into the dermis and gets great results on necks (try Dr Sophie Shotter). 

No7 Restore & Renew Face & Neck Multiaction Serum, £28

An infrared light mask will increase circulation, relieve inflammation and ease muscle pain, which can improve appearance. Try The Light Salon’s at-home Boost LED face mask, £395.

Otherwise, use your usual collagen-rich moisturiser (Balance Me Collagen Boost Moisturiser, £26, is vegan and free from sulphates, mineral oils, etc), and use a good SPF such as iS Clinical’s Eclipse SPF 50+ sunscreen, £28.  And do facial exercises to tighten things up. Search on YouTube, or sign up for facial yoga.

5 tech neck fixers 

Posture Corrector, £11.99, Branfit 

Posture Corrector, £10.19, Branfit 

Boost LED mask, £395, The Light Salon 

Boost LED mask, £395, The Light Salon 

Collagen Boost Moisturiser, £26, Balance Me 

Collagen Boost Moisturiser, £26, Balance Me 

How to remove gel nails at home

For those previously wedded to their fortnightly gel appointments, the last eight weeks will have been difficult. When lockdown was announced, nail salons were among the closures: the hands-on nature of the job was especially high risk.

As such, nail devotees have been fending for themselves since, and while nail bars look set to open on July 4, that’s still another five weeks without professional help.   

Maintaining a clean manicure is one thing, but those with any specialists nail treatments like extensions or gel polish will need an extra hand. Whether your shellac is on its last legs, or your acrylic nail extensions have grown out and are in need of desperate help, we’ve answered every SOS nail dilemma. 

To DIY, or not to DIY

When you’re staring at your outgrown colour, investing your own UV lamp and gel polish or acrylic powder is all too tempting, but experts advise against it. 

‘The best products – like CND Shellac, for example – are only available for professional distribution,’ says a representative for DryBy nail bar. ‘It means the type that you’re able to get hold of isn’t the best in class product at all.’ Dodgy products can cause more harm than good, so you may well end up having to grow out any DIY treatments and let a professional bring your nails back to life post-lockdown should it all go wrong. 

‘Bear in mind nail technicians have to complete a qualification to apply gel polish,’ says a spokesperson for nail bar London Grace. ‘There’s a lot of skill and practice in getting that 2-week chip-free finish.’  

Keep them short

If your current gel manicure or acrylic extensions are still going (sort of) strong, the length’ll be fairly long, so it’s best to cut them down: experts have warned that to keep nails as clean as possible, they should be short.

‘It’s far easier to keep the nails clean if they’re shorter,’ says expert manicurist, Margaret Dabbs. ‘While we have Covid-19 concerns, nails shouldn’t be kept long.’ 

Acrylics can be trimmed using nail clippers, then filed so the edges are slightly rounded and the free edge is minimal. Similarly with gel polish: trim your tips down and ensure the edges are smooth. 

The removal process

If you’re keen to start fresh, removing your current nail treatments as safely as possible is key. Whatever you do, peeling either off is a terrible idea as it can prove painful and will ruin your nail beds, taking months to grow out and restore health. 

Instead, ‘lightly file over the nail to take the shine,’ Kim Treacy, celebrity nail technician told The Telegraph. ‘Then apply some pure acetone nail varnish remover on a cotton pad on each nail and wrap with a strip of kitchen foil. “Leave it on for ten minutes,” says Treacy, “and then gently remove with a cuticle pusher.”

For acrylics, the process will be slightly longer. To speed it up, nails can be soaked a bowl of pure acetone but this is harsher on the surrounding skin, so the foil method is preferred. 

What to do in the meantime

If you’re a constant gel or acrylic wearer, think about giving your nails some time to breathe. 

‘Lockdown is a good time to wean yourself off of gels and get nails into better condition,’ suggests Margaret Dabbs. ‘If you’re not great at painting nails, gently use a shiner buffer after filing and shaping to get a groomed look. You can also wear a conditioning base coat to help stop breaking and splitting whilst also improving the appearance.’ 

Equally, it’s a great time to experiment with colours: be sure to stick to health-promoting formulas like London Grace or Nailberry and take good care of your cuticles, too. 

DJ Cuppy tunes up her beauty when she rocks pink hair

We are taking inspiration today from DJ & Media personality DJ Cuppy Otedola. Known for her edgy barbie-esque hair and makeup looks, the Greenlight crooner has made us fall in love with rocking bold and bright tresses.

Because the colour is bold and subtle at the same time, beauty enthusiasts can’t seem to get over the pink hair trend.

On Cuppy’s page, we scrolled through a sea of pink hair colours, from pastel to bright bold shades, to bring you the best inspiration ahead of your next hair appointment.

SOURCE: Bella Naija

The 6 best lip balms to re-hydrate your lips


Lip balm is a year round beauty essential, and in the midst of winter and early spring when the weather and central heating takes its toll, it’s always a balm that helps to replenish dry, chapped lips. A great formula will improve the condition of your lips in minutes. 

Plus, smooth, hydrated lips are the foundation for long-lasting lipstick – ask any make-up artist and they’ll agree. To get the most out of your balm, it’s worth exfoliating your lips first. Use a lip scrub, such as Fresh Sugar Lip Polish, £19, or a spare toothbrush once or twice a week to get rid of any dead skin. 

For those looking for a new balm, here are the best ones to invest in, including the luxe buys and the budget finds… 

Best tinted lip balm: Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector, £18

If you find lipstick too drying, try these tinted balms from Clarins. The formula has the pigment quality of a sheer lipstick and the moisturising powers of a balm. It’s a win-win beauty buy.  

Best lip balm with SPF: Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Nourishing Lip Balm, £20

We often forget that our lips are constantly exposed and therefore, like our face, need to be protected. This clever cream contains SPF 20, as well as plenty of  nourishing vitamins to keep lips in tip top condition.

Best luxury lip balm: La Mer The Lip Balm, £45

Spending almost £50 on a lip balm seems extortionate, but this is like no other balm you’ve tried. The waxy balm re-hydrates and replenishes, as well as giving your lips a protective coating. As a result, it’s had a cult-like following since it launched. 

Best budget lip balm: Vaseline Lip Therapy, £1.89

Despite having a multitude of benefits, including a skin hydrating highlighter for cheekbones, Vaseline is best known as a lip balm. It’s a beauty classic and no round-up would be complete without it. For those who are prone to losing their balms or on a budget, this is easily the best option. 

Best lip balm for your handbag: EOS Lip Balm, £7

The round packaging was specifically designed to not only make it easily for you to apply this balm wherever you are, but also to find it at the bottom of your handbag. The formula is nourishing and the variety of flavours are a bonus. 

Best anti-ageing lip balm: Sensai Cellular Performance Lip Treatment, £74

If money is no object, then this formula is worth the investment. Technically a treatment, this product has been formulated to be used overnight. Smother it on before you get into bed and you’ll wake up with plumper, firmer lips. 

Need a Haircut?

A few weeks ago, Samuel Logan, a fashion executive, put on a protective mask and took a short subway ride to Greenwich Village for a highly anticipated, clandestine tryst. In the middle of a sunny afternoon, he covertly met his barber on a deserted street to get a haircut and beard trim.

The appointment had little in common with a typical trim. They walked silently up an empty flight of stairs, through a darkened hallway and into the vacant barbershop, its window shades drawn to conceal the activity inside. Mr. Logan brought along two items that seemed essential: disinfectant spray, in case the barber’s chair needed a germ-busting spritz, and a baseball cap to hide the evidence of newly shorn locks when he left.

“It felt like I had just made a deal to buy a case of bathtub gin,” Mr. Logan said.

He was understandably furtive. Salons in New York have been closed by government order since late March, as they have across much of the country. (In a few states, including Georgia, they’ve recently been allowed to reopen.) Since then, a longing for professional grooming has become a leitmotif on social media, with a deluge of images of scraggly, overgrown hair and sad attempts at self-administered haircuts, along with instructional videos on how to do a trim at home.

Inevitably, some hairstylists and their regular clients have, like Mr. Logan, been skirting governmental restrictions.

Weekend briefing

Success! You’re on the list.

“In terms of barbers getting out there to cut hair, they’re going to do that,” said Damon Dorsey, president of the American Barber Association, a nonprofit organization with several thousand members across the country. “There are going to be some people who are just going to say, ‘I’ll take my chances’ and some barbers that are saying that, too.”

Getting a haircut at the moment tends to be focused more on efficiency than on pleasure. Recently a loyal client of a salon in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles — let’s call her Michelle since she asked for anonymity because she was dodging government regulations — met her stylist for an overdue trim in his shuttered space.

Michelle had washed her hair at home to speed up the process; their usual relaxed banter was curtailed, in no small part because their faces were covered by masks.

“I was anxious to get it done,” she said. “I didn’t want to lean into that moment. I wanted to be in and out.” She left the same way she arrived: sneaking through an alleyway to her discreetly parked car for a drive down a traffic-free highway.

Some hairstylists are seeing regular clients on house calls, often in a client’s yard or garden. Joey Silvestera, the owner of the Blackstones salons in downtown Manhattan, did his first such appointment a few days ago. His barbershop was the backyard of a client’s home, a 15-minute drive from East Hampton, where Mr. Silvestera has been staying with his family since both Blackstones locations closed in mid-March.

Weekend briefing

Success! You’re on the list.

Instead of his usual work wear of a black T-shirt and leather jacket, he dressed in a de facto hazmat suit: a Dickies cotton jumpsuit he described in a phone interview as “a onesie.” The appointment was a test run for a weekly cut he plans to schedule with a faithful client, vetted through a list of health-related questions that, in calmer times, would be reserved for a doctor’s office.

“I’m not playing around,” Mr. Silvestera said. “If I don’t feel that they’re on the same page, I’m not going.”

Julien Howard, a barber who lives in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, is planning to cut hair quietly on the roof of his apartment building, or on clients’ terraces. He has done one such haircut already, upstairs from his top-floor apartment, wearing a makeshift version of personal protective equipment that included black nitrile gloves and a pair of round Saint Laurent sunglasses.

“I feel like in the open air there’s less chance of getting a germ than if I’m in a closed environment like someone’s bathroom,” Mr. Howard said.

For the rooftop service, he brought an array of equipment, including a hot towel machine and a glass bottle of disinfecting Barbicide. “I had the whole experience of the barbershop but outdoors, in the open air,” he said.

In lieu of cash or a Venmo transaction, he was paid with a handful of N-95 masks, along with a protective contraption that a graffiti artist might wear to keep spray-paint fumes at bay.

Mr. Howard is accustomed to cutting hair outside of a salon. Before the lockdown, he was making house calls through the Vélo Barber, a business he founded. Those appointments have been suspended since salons, including Blind Barber in the East Village where he also worked a few days a week, closed.

Other businesses that usually facilitate at-home haircuts — like the on-demand app and website Glamsquad and Paul Molé, the venerable barbershop on the Upper East Side, which normally send stylists to people’s homes — have similarly halted house calls for the time being.

While most salons are following government orders strictly, the temptation for both stylists and their customers remains.

“Until there is enough testing, we can’t in good conscience break with the social distancing protocols,” said Steve Marks, the owner of Persons of Interest, a chain of three barbershops in Brooklyn. “That said, people can’t wait till July to get a haircut, so they’ll find a way.”

He has heard, he said, that one of the barbers from his Williamsburg salon is planning to see clients in his backyard nearby. He’s not standing in his way.

Are you washing your hair properly? The secret to getting it right

There’s no doubt lockdown has altered our daily lives, and with that our regular routines. But while some of us may have ditched the razor or let our roots grow out, there’s one aspect of our routine that is soaring amid quarantine: hair washing. 

Despite being confined to our homes with little excuse to spruce up besides weekly Zoom and Houseparty catch ups, it seems we are washing more than ever. According to L’Oréal, hair washing is up by 76 per cent on account of more leisure time, the closure of hair salons and the need to feel clean, as we continue to practice necessary self-care. 

Now, while it may seem a simple task and one that you might have paid little attention to before today, believe it or not, there is a right and wrong way to wash hair. Hairdresser, Michael Van Clarke, says “from my professional experience of over 25 years, I can say consumers do not know how to use products properly to get the best results.”

From aggressive washing to picking the wrong ingredients for your hair type, there are a host of things that can contribute to damaging your tresses in the shower. With that said, this is everything you need to know before your next wash day…

The basics

Know your hair type

Michael notes that most people are unsatisfied with hair care products because they’re unaware of their hair type. To avoid disappointment, first get to know your locks, analyse whether it’s coarse, oily, thick or thin and consider if it has been chemically treated. 

“Think about whether your hair is a different type at the roots and at the ends,” says Michael. “It is generally best to select a shampoo that will benefit your scalp and root area, and then select a conditioner that will work for the middle and ends of your hair.”

Once you’ve determined your hair type, picking the right shampoo gets a whole lot easier. For fine to medium hair, opt for a product that offers volume and is free of weighty silicones (more on this later). If you have dry or coarse hair, look for a moisturising shampoo which will nourish and protect against further damage. And for coloured hair, use a product that offers UV protection as this will help to prevent any loss of hue.

Wash the right way

When it comes to washing, it’s not just your hair you should be paying attention to. “I wish the term ‘hair washing’ was changed to ‘scalp cleansing’,” says Anabel Kingsley, Trichologist at Philip Kingsley. “It’s not so much your hair you should be focusing on when you shampoo, it’s your scalp – which is a living, sweating, oil and skin-cell producing tissue.”

Begin washing by thoroughly wetting your hair first, then apply a small amount (the size of a 10p) of shampoo to the root area and the underside of your scalp, near the nape of your neck, apply more product if your hair is longer or thicker. Then, gently, but firmly, massage your scalp for approximately one minute, after which you should begin squishing the suds through the lengths of your strands a few times, which will be enough to cleanse them without the need to apply more shampoo. 

As much as you may feel inclined, “there’s no need to scrub your hair, as this can damage it. Also, don’t pile your hair on top of your head when you shampoo as this can tangle your strands and cause breakage. Instead, let your hair fall behind you and rinse well until the water runs clear,” says Anabel. 

As for how often you should be washing, this really depends on your hair type, but Anabel advises against going more than three days between washes as doing so could negatively impact your scalp. Of course, there is the exception of coarser or curlier and coily hair which usually benefits from fewer wash days.  

L-R: Grow Gorgeous Volume Bodifying Shampoo, £14, and Shea Moisture’s Extra Moisture Retention Shampoo, £10.99

The ingredients 

There are ingredients to look for in a shampoo and ones to avoid. Those which we definitely want to be using hinges on our hair texture; fine hair will need thickening aids like rice protein (try the Grow Gorgeous Volume Bodifying Shampoo, £14), while coarse, curly hair will benefit from formulas with moisturising agents like shea butter (Shea Moisture’s Extra Moisture Retention Shampoo, £10.99, is a treat).


Silicones and some sulphates are the ingredients we want to steer clear of. Michael says, “silicone is not good for your hair and scalp, but unfortunately it’s in 99 per cent of shampoos and conditioners because it’s cheap and instantly cosmetically effective. Silicone will lubricate your hair but it will not nourish, rejuvenate, restore or hydrate it, which is why it is so important that you avoid any hair product that contains it.”

Quite like a cling film sheath, silicones might immediately make your hair seem shiny, silky and smooth, but as a hydrophobic it pushes water away and displaces moisture. The result? Our hair’s protein structure becomes more brittle, less flexible and breaks down, you might even see it as premature ageing of the hair. 


Not all sulphates are created equal and Michael points out that there is much misinformation about these cleansers, which can actually do a world of good. “Commonly used in shampoo, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) is a very effective surfactant (surface active agent) which helps the shampoo dissolve grease and dirt, but can then be easily rinsed out. This can be good or bad depending on hair type or skin sensitivity.”

There are various sulphates out there, and while SLS might be the harshest or most effective degreaser and foam producer (not ideal for dry hair or sensitive scalps), other sulphates like Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) and Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate (ALS) are gentle enough to do their job without irritating sensitive skin or fading hair dye.

L-R:  Aveda’s Colour Conserve Shampoo, £20.50, Philip Kingsley Pure Blonde Booster Weekly Shampoo, £23, and Mask, £26, Michael Van Clarke LifeSaver Pre-Wash Treatment, £29, and LifeSaver UV Spray, £19.50

The secret tricks

If you’re washing your tresses more than usual at the moment, the fading of your hair colour is a given, but you can deter this by using colour-locking shampoos, like Aveda’s Colour Conserve Shampoo, £20.50, a gentle and organic plant infused product that extends colour life by resisting fading. 

If you have blonde hair, Anabel says, “use a weekly violet hued shampoo and mask, like ourPure Blonde Booster Weekly Shampoo, £23, and Mask, £26, which contain next generation pigments that brighten blonde hair and eradicate brassiness – while hydrating and moisturing strands.”

Michael also suggests using a treatment twice a week, like the LifeSaver Pre-Wash Treatment, £29, as the cashmere proteins it features will repair and recondition hair. Use this alongside the LifeSaver UV Spray, £19.50, especially when outdoors, as it styles, treats and works wonders for maintaining hair colour.

Before washing your hair, it’s also worth brushing through your strands to remove knots which can cause unnecessary pain, breakage and damage in the shower.

How to look younger in 60 minutes with a ‘virtual’ facial

A facial, over video chat? Surely not. But like many other service industries, the beauty world has had to adapt to working remotely with new, innovative ways to engage with their clients; you can have live-chats with your hairdresser now as they talk you through cutting your fringe, or follow an expert tutorial on removing your own gel nail polish. With a little help from the experts, during lockdown we’ve all had to skill-up in the beauty stakes. 

So a virtual facial? Why not. Especially when it’s with the leading facialist Beata Aleksandrowicz, who usually commands a long waiting list for her clients at her London clinic. Since lockdown began last month, she’s been offering one-hour video call sessions with clients old and new, for a virtual facial. 

But can you really give yourself a face-lifting, skin-smoothing facial only with the guidance over a laptop? I was doubtful but it really did work. The hour video call over Zoom begins with Aleksandrowicz identifying where you are holding tension in your face. Like any good therapist worth her salt, she’s brilliantly intuitive and can spot your ageing trigger points a mile off (well, several miles off, in this case). For me, it turns out I hold tension in my jaw and forehead – something she’s seen a lot of in clients since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Tension doesn’t evaporate, so if we are stressed, it shows in our skin almost immediately,” she tells me. “But if done correctly, facial massage can take years from the face.”

As a beauty journalist it’s a pet peeve of mine when a ‘facial’ only consists of merely applying and removing three or four different cleansers and creams, without actually massaging the face or working the muscles. Sounds pretty basic, but facial massage really is the key to looking more youthful.

The beauty of this facial was I didn’t need to use any expensive oils or lotions, just any face oil I already had at home (I used the Almond Soothing Facial Oil by Weleda, £18.95) or even olive oil from the kitchen. Aleksandrowicz then guided me through a series of movements to help lift and brighten my skin combined with tailor-made face exercises. These are the three I found most useful, and the exercises I’ve been continuing to do in the evenings. 

Face de-puffer 

Apply a few drops of oil on your palms. Use a sweeping motion from under your ear, down your neck and across to the opposite collarbone. This stimulates lymphatic drainage, which helps to drain fluid in the lymphatic system that can cause the face to look puffy or bloated. Repeat this sweeping motion 10 times on each side. 

Cheekbone lifter

Using both index fingers, sweep up from the jawline to under the cheekbone in a repetitive motion, with one finger following the other in a quick motion. This made a big difference to my skin, making the muscles look more lifted, and it’s something I’ve done since my one-to-one with Beata. 

Forehead relaxer  

Take four fingers of both hands and meet them in the middle of your forehead in a vertical line. Using the tips of the fingers, sweep across to the temples and repeat ten times. This helps to relieve tension in the head as well as soften any tension lines on the forehead if repeated often enough. 

The best gel nail kits to try at home now

For years women who manicured had to become dexterous in the most inventive ways. A drying manicure meant everything had to be done with the heels of the hands, not those delicate, still tacky fingertips.

Thirty minutes to ‘touch dry’ on wait-dry formulas was a luxury too far after an hour having varnish painstakingly and perfectly applied. And yet, that first day when varnish is super shiny, perfect and chip-free was all worth it. However, traditional nail varnish formulas, no matter how well they are applied, can fall foul of a hard surface and chip easily while one too many hand washes dull that mirror-like gloss of freshly painted lacquer.

Gel nail polish was a game-changer in salons for the fact that once you were done, you were done. No risk of dinging or chipping your polish by reaching into your purse and that high-shine finish lasted as long as two weeks. Then along came the gel nail kit, complete with LED light, for the manicure fan with a steady enough hand to replicate a salon finish at home.

If you’re missing your regular trips to the salon while you currently practice social distancing, check out these at home gel nail kits…

Best Gel Nail Kit for The All-Inclusive 

Red Carpet Manicure Starter Kit with Pro LED Light, £89.99

A comprehensive kit complete with classic red to get you started.

Works in exactly the same way as a salon gel manicure and this kit contains all the necessary steps you need. A prep, base layer, colour and top coat that all cure under the LED light. Great plus points for this set is that the colour selection available is vast, we challenge you not to get lost on their website choosing your next must-have shade…

Buy now

Best Gel Nail Kit for Beginners

Elegant Touch Lux Gel Polish Starter Kit, £34.99

You’ll get lost in the rainbow of colours you can add into this handy starter collection.

We know this brand for its useful manicure tools and their extensive range of press-on nails, but this kit is something different and includes everything you’d expect to achieve a salon-quality finish in the comfort of your own home. Comes with two colours, a classic red and suits-everyone nude, so you have two looks to choose from.

Buy now

Best Gel Nail Kit For a Salon Finish

SensatioNail Starter Kit, £49.99

Comes with a classic shade, but when you’re ready to add colours there’s a whole rainbow of fashionable shades to choose from.

Here’s a kit that comes with a classic red – the kind of scarlet red you’d see on fingertips in the Mad Men typing pool – and is easily cured for a two-week wear with a prepare, polish and protect system. Plus there’s a rainbow of colours including fashion and trend shades to keep your nails on point.

Buy now

Should I be wearing SPF indoors?

I like to think of myself as a serial SPF wearer. Battling acne for most of my adult life taught me early on the importance of sun protection in the quest for healthy skin. For one, infrared heat from the sun can cause acne to flare up, and second – and by far a greater concern to me – sun exposure leads to darkening the pigmentation of acne scars. Having to deal with acne on top of the remnants it leaves behind is a feat no one wants to endure, and so in SPF, I found my first line of defence.  

Then there’s the all-important protection from premature and accelerated signs of ageing – fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, dark spots and textural changes – which are all at the mercy of religious SPF use (genetics and lifestyle choices aside). That said, sun protection, as we all probably know by now, is part and parcel of a healthy skincare routine. And, if you’re anything like me, lockdown – coupled with the abundant rays of sunshine that have been bouncing off my dining table (aka home office) of late – may have made you wonder one thing: should I be wearing SPF right now?

In a nutshell – absolutely. You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone that says otherwise. Abi Cleeve, Ultrasun MD and founder of SkinSense, points out, while UVB (the burning rays) can’t reach us through a window, “UVA (ageing rays) penetrates unhindered through glass, so it’s still important to ensure that your daily skincare routine includes a broad spectrum protection product.

Sun safe | How much sunscreen do the doctors wear?

Nick Lowe, consultant dermatologist at the Cranley Clinic in London

“Every morning, after I’ve showered, I apply an SPF 30 sunscreen including UVA protection to my face and to the back of my hands, which are the areas where you’re going to get steady amounts of photodamage, such as benign brown sunspots, accelerated skin aging and possible skin cancers.

In addition, if I’m out on a sunny day I will wear specialised sun protective clothing, because regular T-shirts don’t protect very well. I still use my sunscreen in winter, and I take a 2,000 I.U. vitamin D3 supplement year-round.”

Klaus Witte, consultant cardiologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

“I burn when I go out in the sun, so I put sunscreen on. But I certainly don’t avoid the sun. In winter, I take a little vitamin D supplementation, and I do the same for my kids.

I think it’s all about being sensible: covering up and putting on some sunscreen when the sun is really bright or strong, and not staying out for too long. But it’s also nice to sit in the sun; it gives you a positive feeling and some vitamin D which may have a positive health benefit too in due course.”

Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic in London, and British Skin Foundation spokesperson

“Personally, I use a factor 15 to 30 sunscreen, but I am not absolutely religious about wearing it every single day on my face. We know that people with darker skin types have a lower risk of skin cancer and it also takes longer to produce vitamin D from the sun. So, while my fair-skinned best friends might need to use a factor 50, the chances are that I don’t.

I am much more mindful about my sun protection if I go off on a hot sunny holiday though. The only supplement I advocate is vitamin D. I try to remember to take it daily between October and March.”

Monty Lyman, dermatologist and author of The Remarkable Life of the Skin (Transworld)

“Like the ancients, we need to revere, but not fear, the sun. I don’t sunbathe, but do enjoy spending time in the sun. In the spring and summer I limit my unprotected sun exposure to roughly half the time it takes for me to burn – and with my fair skin, that’s about fifteen minutes – three times a week. That is enough to get my vitamin D levels topped up.

Outside of those times, I protect my skin from sunlight. If my head, arms and neck are exposed I slather on about two teaspoons of factor 30. If I’m at the beach, two tablespoons should be enough to cover my whole body. “

As one of the biggest contributing factors to skin ageing, UVA rays are present all year round, seeping through clouds and glass alike, which is why Abi says “UVA protection is essential for those who have set up a home office near a window.” 

When picking a sunscreen it’s therefore important to consider how well it can protect you from UVA rays, as well as UVB. Abi notes, “Ultrasun’s formula is lamellar, so it absorbs just below the skin’s surface for non-greasy protection that doesn’t rub off. It has a UVB and UVA filter of over 90 per cent (EU standard is 33 per cent), plus the face formulas contain additional skincare actives such as hexylresorcinol to tackle pigmentation”.

But it doesn’t stop there. While working from home, there’s also another potentially skin damaging light source to bear in mind.  High energy visible light (HEVL), also known as ‘blue light’ (emitted from electronic devices like tablets, computers and yes – even your smartphone) poses prospective skin harm via free radical generation that can contribute to skin ageing. “HEVL penetrates deeply into the epidermis and generates free radicals, which cause skin cells to produce enzymes that break down collagen and elastin in the skin. This process is known as oxidative stress and can lead to photoageing and hyperigmentation,” notes Abi. 

If you’re currently working from home, and next to a window, here are four skin-protecting products to try now.

4 SPF skin saviours

Face SPF50+ Anti-Pigmentation, £32, Ultrasun

Face SPF50+ Anti-Pigmentation, £32, Ultrasun 

Moisturing, smart ageing and anti-pigmentation, this all rounder protects against UVB, UVA and infrared, while reducing the appearance of skin damage brought on by the sun. 

Anti-Age Volume-Filler Day Cream SPF 15 UVB + UVA Protection, £21, Eucerin

Anti-Age Volume-Filler Day Cream SPF 15 UVB + UVA Protection, £21, Eucerin

With magnolol, oligo peptides and hyaluronic acid, this indulgent anti-ageing cream plumps and redefines the face whilst protecting it from harmful sun rays.

Photoderm Max Mist SPF 50+, £17, Bioderma

Photoderm Max Mist SPF 50+, £17, Bioderma

Amazing for sensitive skin types, this is my go-to SPF for its high protective properties and easy-to-use spray on formula.

Anthelios Sun Intolerance SPF 50+, £20, La Roche-Posay

Anthelios Sun Intolerance SPF 50+, £20, La Roche-Posay

Formulated with an antioxidant complex of baicalin, vitamin E and calming neurosensine, this sunscreen prevents against sun induced discomfort, itching and redness.

5 ways to hypnotise yourself calm in lockdown

‘I don’t care if you look into my eyes, you can look where you want. I just want you to  listen to me.’ It’s this kind of  direct approach to hypnotherapy – or simply ‘a relaxed state of mind’, as she puts it – that’s made Malminder Gill so successful.

She’s been helping clients at her Harley Street practice for the past six years, and has a steady stream of people who come to her to manage everything from relationships to anxiety.  Well, she did have a steady stream – now people are accessing her help in a different way.

Her online courses in hypnotherapy (there’s even one specifically to deal with anxiety around the coronavirus) have been extremely popular. I have personally found them very useful. Here are some of Gill’s top tips for staying calm through these strange times.

 Malminder Gill

Follow a routine 

In a way, we are all mourning the loss of the routine of work. If you’re working from home, try your best to follow what you did while in the office. Get ready in the morning at the same time you would for work, don’t hang around in your dressing gown and, if you only have two coffees a day at work, there’s no reason to suddenly start drinking a lot more caffeine just because you’re at home. 

Breathe yourself calm

Yoga and meditation are excellent tools for managing stress, but they won’t make a big dent in your anxiety if you’ve never tried them before. You need to  figure out practical steps you can follow to reduce panic. The quick answer? Breathe in for seven, and out for 11. That will always calm down a panicked state in the body. 

Think back to childhood 

We’re all predicting the absolute worst. Our primal brain is doing that so we can prepare. But we need to channel this imagination elsewhere, so our mind can have  a break from anxiety. Panic is a childhood response, so think back to when you were younger. What did you find calming or relaxing? Painting, colouring in or drawing, perhaps? These homely exercises can be really comforting. 

Fill the void

Loneliness is grief over a loss of connection, but you don’t have  to be around people physically to feel connected. Do cook-alongs, listen to podcasts or connect with a character in a book. Whatever you do, just don’t have the news on all day or constantly check your phone for alerts. It’s not healthy. Fill that time with things that bring you joy. 

3 fast relaxers

Inner Strength Bath and Shower Oil, £49, Aromatherapy Associates 

Inner Strength Bath and Shower Oil,  £49, Aromatherapy Associates 

Great Day Body Scrub, £34, Neom Organics 

Great Day Body Scrub, £34, Neom Organics

Neroli candle, £42, Malin + Goetz 

Neroli candle, £42, Malin + Goetz 

The best hair removal products for waxing, shaving and laser treatment at home

Deep breath) Body hair. Like it or loathe it, it’s a topic we’re talking about right now. And while it’s clearly not the most important issue facing us all at present, maintaining a sense of self through grooming (if you so choose) is a sure enough way to preserve some normalcy during these incredibly unnerving times. A form of self-care, if you will.

Since lock-down was first introduced last month to help quell the spread of the coronavirus, we’ve seen the temporary closure of most non-essential stores, including our favourite brow bars, waxing salons and laser clinics, leaving many of us to take beauty matters into our own hands – and it shows. 


The beauty gadget retailer CurrentBody recently reported a 56 per cent rise in home hair removal purchasing, with questions around this technology leaping by 91 per cent. Emily Buckwell, Head of Brands at CurrentBody, says “We’ve seen many people wanting to maintain some normality with their routines and day-to-day life. People are keeping up with daily exercise at home, manicures and home-dyeing hair to maintain their usual beauty standard, and hair removal is all part of this, especially as we move into the warmer months.”

With many now looking for at-home alternatives, it’s fair to say between epilating, depilatory creams and IPL, the world of hair removal can seem a confusing place, especially for those who are currently in between laser treatments and unaware of how to upkeep their progress. The good thing to note is that there are plenty of readily available products to help with any hairy problems you may have while you practice social distancing at home. These are some of the methods to try right now…


Originated in ancient Eygpt way back when, waxing remains a popular method of hair removal to this day for its long-lasting results.  Suited to all hair types, waxing removes hair from its root, located in the second layer of the skin (the dermis) and as the hair cycle regenerates every 30-45 days, most of us can enjoy hair-free skin for much longer than if we were to use other methods like depilatory creams, which only remove the hair shaft visible on the first layer of the skin (the epidermis). Waxing over time also means that hair will grow back weaker and reduce in quantity. 

While your wax therapist can give you the gift of smooth, hair-free legs in just a few swift pulls, achieving the same results at home requires some effort. “Waxing is all about confidence,” says Zainab Siddiq at the Ministry of Waxing. “Once the wax is applied to the skin, the removal is the most important step. A strong removal with a supporting stretch on the skin is essential.”


Before you start though, Zainab notes that your hair must be at least half a centimetre long so the shaft as well as the root can be removed. If your hair is longer than one and a half centimetres it should be gently trimmed to avoid getting tangled, which could cause undue damage to the epidermis.

For delicate, sensitive areas like the bikini, Zainab recommends hot wax which does not stick to the skin, but adheres to the hair itself – allowing you to get a good and direct pull at the root of this much coarser, terminal hair type. But whatever area you’re waxing, “stretch the skin beneath the wax when removing and keep the shape of the wax in a rectangular shape, you should also apply wax in the direction of hair growth and remove against it,” says Zainab. 

Nair Rose Sugar Wax, £13.99

Nair Rose Sugar Wax, £13.99


Let’s be honest, shaving has been around for millennia. Though quite possibly a prehistoric method of hair removal, it’s seen some suave reinventions over time. While it’s not the most sophisticated of the bunch, it definitely bears some merit as the quickest, most pain-free method on the market.

With everything from quintuple blades to wet and electric razors on offer, if shaving is your gig, here’s what you need to note.  First, the difference between wet (your run of the mill tool) and electric shavers is that wet razors cut close to the skin and when the hair is hydrated with water it becomes softer and easier to cut with the device. Electric shavers on the other hand, provide more comfort, less irritation and won’t cause nicks in the skin. 

Once you’ve picked your tool, prep is key and Zainab says bi-weekly exfoliation and daily skin hydration is good practice. When you’re ready to shave, remember “if the hair is long, shave in the direction of the hair first, then shave against the hair growth, this will stop irritation on the skins surface”.

Extra Smooth Swirl Razor, £11.99

Extra Smooth Swirl Razor, £11.99


Epilating your hair can be just as effective as waxing. This small, hand-held device used to remove hair by mechanically grasping multiple shafts simultaneously and pulling them out at the root, is a fairly quick and mess-free method to use.

Should you opt for it, Zainab says “exfoliate the skin prior, hold the machine steady at a 90-degree angle to your skin, and pull the skin tightly with your other hand to ease the glide of the device. Don’t press down too hard or go too fast over the epidermis.”

Braun Silk-épil 9 Flex 9010 Wet & Dry, £159

Braun Silk-épil 9 Flex 9010 Wet & Dry, £159


Used to treat skin conditions such as acne, as well as hair removal, Intense Pulse Light (IPL) machines emit a broad spectrum of light wavelengths which scatter within the skin and target the pigment found in hair. Working similarly to a flash-lamp, the beam of light produced is absorbed by the pigment in the hair and quickly turns to heat which then damages the growing cells that make up the hair, causing a reduction in growth. 

While IPL treatments have always been readily available in clinics, advances in at-home technology means you can now employ more permanent solutions to hair removal without leaving the house. Like all lasting hair removal machines, an IPL at-home laser “will require you to remove the shaft of the hair only prior to the treatment which can be done by shaving the area. The root must stay in the dermis to be treated,” says Zainab.


Before using the machine, you should also check your suitability as grey or white hair which has lost its melanin cannot be treated and red hair does not have enough pigment to benefit. Similarly, Zainab notes, deeper skin tones with more melanin will need to be more cautious as there is a risk of discolouring and pigmentation.

If you’re tempted to get on board with IPL, make sure your skin is tan-free, whether natural or fake.  After you’ve treated the hair avoid anything that can trigger sensitivity, like perfumes, in the first 24 hours and if you decide to sit in the garden be sure to lather yourself in sunscreen.

SmoothSkin Bare+ Ultrafast IPL Hair Removal Device, £179

SmoothSkin Bare+ Ultrafast IPL Hair Removal Device, £179


A constantly evolving and developing method in the field of hair removal, laser treatments are usually conducted by trained practitioners due to their technical and highly efficacious nature. Unlike IPL, lasers emit one, single pulse of light that travels down the hair follicle and converts into heat energy which cuts off the blood supply to the dermal papilla. As hair is nourished by blood, without a supply, the hair will cease to grow.

The huge popularity of laser means that pre-lockdown many of us will have spent a lump sum on a course of treatments, only to find that our very rigid treatment plan of one session every six weeks is now on a hold. But those who are currently mid-treatment need not worry about any disruption to their hair removal journey. Zainab says, “you can maintain the area by shaving until your next treatment. Do not remove the hair from the root as this will interfere with the laser treatment”.

Zainab adds, “The strength and power of a professional laser machine will be greater than any device that can be purchased for homecare removal. That said, with the uncertainty of how long one will not be able to attend a salon, a home device can maintain the hair reduction in the meantime”.

Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X, £279

Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X, £279

Don’y cut your hair! here are some tweaks to try instead

Cut my own hair? You must be kidding. I know first hand how one slip of the wrist can result in hair suicide. While some experts are taking to social media to demonstrate how to wield a pair of scissors like a pro, all of the hairdressers I’ve spoken to advise against it. 


“I would never recommend cutting your own hair. It can take years to correct and it’s much better to just pop it up if it’s getting on your nerves until salons reopen,” advises celebrity hair stylist and salon owner, Larry King. 

“Instead, it’s a great time to practice your blow drying skills or perfect how you use your hair tools. Why not try out different looks that you never get time to do when you’re rushing in the mornings?” 

Resist the temptation to cut your own hair (unless it’s to cull a few rogue split ends) and practice these five things instead.

Blow dry your hair each morning

” Keep up with washing and blow drying your hair, as somehow it just seems to make you feel better and we all need a bit of that right now,” adds King. While this sounds like an obvious direction, by making the effort to resume your normal work day pattern by having your early morning shower and blow drying your hair to a Zoom-ready finish will set you up for a productive day.

Weekend briefing

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Start with a nourishing shampoo and conditioner, then prep hair with a light styling product such as Living Proof Full Root Lift Spray – or for light nourishment, Drunk Elephant’s Wild Marula Tangle Spray – then rough dry your hair without a nozzle until it’s 80% dry, before finishing with a brush to smooth the cuticle, using your hair nozzle pointing downwards for less frizz. 

Break out your diffuser 

If you see the current lock-down as the perfect opportunity to enhance your natural texture then instead of letting it do it’s own thing (which, frankly, translates to just-woke-up-hair), dig out the diffuser attachment that came with your hairdryer. Diffusing will encourage your natural waves to form into a more considered style, and is less damaging than traditional blow drying, as your hair has less direct contact with the heat. 

Practice Tonging 

Using whatever heated appliance you have lying around, whether that’s a hair straightener, rollers or curling tongs, use this time to perfect the art of creating a salon worthy curls for your Friday night. Make sure to use a heat protective spray before using any heated appliance then get practicing.


The general rule is to clip part of your hair up and tong in layers from the bottom up, concentrating most of your effort around the hair line to frame your face. If your hair is fine, a thickening spray will give it more grip and hold, making tonging easier and your style longer lasting. Try Redken’s Rootful 06 which won’t leave hair with that tacky feeling. 

Work on your up-do 

Take a scroll through Instagram and you’ll see more top knots and face masks than ever before. But rather than throwing your hair into a make-do knot, take a leaf out of J-Lo’s book and craft your hair into a slick face-lifting ponytail or bun.

Blow-dry first to smooth frizz, then using a good quality bristle brush (or whatever brush you have lying round) to scrape hair into a ponytail, placing the band at a 45 degree angle, from the top of your ears upwards, echoing your jawline which is most flattering.

Twist into a bun and spray with a light hairspray. Smooth any baby hairs with a conditioner or a styling cream such as Larry King’s A Social Life for Your Hair. A basic facial moisturiser will do the trick too. 

Hair mask

“Most of us have a hair mask in the back of their bathroom cabinet. Take it out and use it once a week – it will make all the difference to the quality of your hair,” suggests Zoe Irwin, Creative Director at John Frieda. Philip Kingsley’s Elasticizer is a classic all-rounder. “A hair mask is one of the best things you can do for the condition of your hair as it penetrates the hair shaft in a deeper way than conditioner, which will boost hair radiance and give you a confidence boost in lieu of a glossy salon blow dry,” adds Irwin. 

How to make your own face masks to moisturise, hydrate and cleanse at home

For all of its merits, the poor face mask gets slapped with the label of being suitable only for those with loads of time on their hands, lounging about in fluffy white bathrobes. It’s just a luxury, isn’t it? 

Well, if there’s one thing I’m on a mission to tell you, it’s that the face mask should be part of your weekly beauty regime. Yes, it’s pampering to lie back and relax while a mask works its magic, but find a really good one and your skin will look tons better for its powerful, deep-absorbing ingredients. It also allows for a few moments of self-care and calm, which we could all probably benefit from at the moment. 


For years, my go-to has been the Black Rose Cream Mask by Sisley, which is beyond brilliant at waking up the skin and making it look fresher, smoother and healthier (and keeping it that way for days). At £99, it’s very pricey, yes – but a once-weekly Sunday-night slathering means it lasts and lasts. 

Also, it’s not messy: just apply to freshly cleansed skin before bed, then leave it on overnight. The delicious ingredients absorb in five minutes so you don’t need to worry about any greasiness. And the fresh, bright skin you’re left with the next morning is the best start to the day I can think of.

One of my favourite French pharmacy brands, Vichy, has three mineral masks that tackle different skin concerns. The Double Glow Peel Mask is my pick: apply it for five minutes and the alpha-hydroxy acids remove dead skin better than any gritty exfoliator.

There’s also a super-hydrating Quenching Mineral Mask, plus a Clay Mask for congested skin. At £15 a pop, they’re good to use whenever the skin needs a bit of tailor-made TLC.


I’ve also been loving the Rapid Morning Mask by Marks and Spencer, which is packed full of active vitamin C for just £12. It’s really impressive: apply it on in the mornings if your skin’s looking a little lacklustre or dull. 

Or you could go a step further and make your own mask, especially while at home. The facialist Abigail James suggests mixing one tablespoon of natural yogurt (which contains lactic acid to gently exfoliate the skin), one tablespoon of honey and a sprinkle of porridge oats. It’s a winning mix that helps skin to re-hydrate and soften.

My own pantry cupboard recipe lends itself well to a homemade brightening face mask: in a base of two tablespoons of natural yogurt, mix a tablespoon of chickpea flour with a teaspoon of turmeric. Not only is the turmeric naturally antibacterial, it also helps to brighten and soften the skin. 

The top five face masks

Votary Super Glow Face Mask Oil, £45

A lovely natural offering, this mask is great for sensitive skin. Slather on for 10 minutes and rinse off with the hot towel included. 

Vichy Double Glow Peel Mask, £15

The ultimate exfoliator, this helps to slough away dead skin cells and rejuvenate tired skin. 

Marks and Spencer Formula Glow Rapid Morning Mask, £12

A satisfying cream that helps to refine, brighten and balance the complexion – all in less than 10 minutes.

Fresh Vitamin Nectar Vibrancy Boosting Face Mask, £21

The ugly sides of skin bleaching

By Ezinne Success

No one falters the notion, that good looks – skin care giving, is a category of business, in and of itself. The craze to have an untainted, ageless and a possibly sun-kissed skin, fuels people to taking unthinkable measures towards its acquisition.

Contrariwise, there is a boundary, as it were, in such quest. The availability of a vast range of skin care products, which contain nocuous chemicals, constitute serious damage to the skin, and generally affect a balanced health.


The search for a true and fine-toned skin, admirable by all, have driven people to procuring products, which transmogrifies the natural skin colour, with the unhealthy chemical substances therein. The products containing these substances, most times do not go through the required safety measures, before being let out to the market. Owing to this, the natural state of the skin’s complexion, is unguardedly altered, with regular application.

As much as there may be attempts to run off from the consequences of altering the skin’s colour, they are always bare, and cannot be dodged. The temporary seeming benefits of this act, breeds umpteenth and lasting side effects, not only to the exterior body parts, but also the internal organs, generally.

Weekend briefing

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These aftereffects, made realized by noxious chemicals are Hydroquinone, Tretinoin, Kojic Acid, Niacinamide USP, Mercury etc. They pave way for the unhindered susceptibility of the skin to somewhat irreversible consequences, further highlighted.

Premature Skin Aging: The protracted use of skin care products which are abundant in these harsh chemicals, have the chance of causing the skin to wear the face of an aged granny. It exposes the skin to quickly wearing away, at a point it’s meant to be sheen and alive. In a world where everyone seeks to have an appearance likened to that of a day old baby, it is only best abstaining from products with these substances.

Skin Cancer: With regular and prolonged application of these products, there is an increased possibility of contracting cancer of the skin. This however, is quickened due to the exposure of the skin to sunlight. The presence of hydroquinone which inhibits melanin production and removes the top layer of the skin, makes this possible. It has also been validated to cause leukaemia in mices and some animals. For this reason, certain countries have banned its use, due to the life-threatening health challenges.


Kidney, Neurological and Psychological Problems: Most skin care products have Mercury as its active ingredient, and this poses deadly risks to the body. The chances of getting high blood pressure, excessive fatigue, numbness of a particular body area and sensitivity to sunlight, are as a result of this specific agent. This makes it commonly regarded as Mercury Poisoning.

Skin Infection: Certain skin products are composed of steroids which are harmful to the skin in diverse ways. These lightening chemicals cause skin disease, thinning, acne and poor wound healing. The steroids if applied in large portions of the skin, will be absorbed into the body, eventually leading to internal dysfunction of vital organs.


Irritation from Allergies: Skin bleaching have adverse reaction on the outer skin layer. Asides the irritation it gives, rashes, burning sensation, flaky or dry skin leading to cracks and peeling, profuse redness, swollenness, are side effects. All these are realized, due to constancy of the application. Consequently, the skin opposes any slight atmospheric and environmental change, normal or strange, contrary to what it originally experienced.

Uneven Colouration: The use of bleaching products expose the skin to an ununiform colouration. A part of the skin tends to blend while another portion remains dormant or unyielding. This is one reason the knuckles, knees and elbows of people who apply lightening creams, get relatively darkened, without any hope of it conforming with other areas of the body. This skin discolouration, is most times untreatable.

How to look after yourself during lockdown

Navigating our beauty regimes for the next few weeks – while not the most important aspect of the current pandemic – is something we all might need a little help with. Here’s your guide to looking after yourself during lockdown.

What can I do about the dry skin on my hands?

With so much hand-washing and using hand sanitisers, the skin on our hands needs far more attention than usual. Kim Treacy, a celebrity nail technician, suggests applying a thick layer of the Norwegian Formula Hand Cream by Neutrogena, £3.99, and pop some cotton gloves on top. Either leave on overnight, or while you watch a film. “If you don’t have any hand cream and can’t get out to get any, try olive oil,” suggests Treacy.

What’s the best way to pluck my eyebrows?

“Pluck the stray hairs first before tackling the shape,” advises Vanita Parti, the founder of Blink Brow Bar. “Brush your brows up and across. You can then determine the core brow shape hair to remove. Just pluck one or two hairs at a time, step away and view your brows before you continue – step by step is key. You may also need to trim the longer brow hairs with nail scissors, so brush up with a brow brush and snip any hairs poking above the brow line.” Parti recommends slanted tweezers, as they are more precise, and “will give you the grip you need to grab each brow hair by the root and minimise hair breakage.”

How do I keep my brows in shape until I can see a professional again?

“A pencil is a great tool to define the shape of your brow,” says Parti. “Place the pencil at the edge of your nose and where it hits your eyebrow is where they should be. Then swivel it from your nose to your iris – this is where the arch should be positioned. Finally swivel again from your nose to the end of your eye and where the pencil hits the brow is where they end.”

How do I make nail varnish last longer now I’m doing it myself?

“Always apply a base coat, two thin layers of varnish and a top coat,” Treacy tells me. “On the third day, reapply a top coat and as long as you are not digging the garden your polish should last 8 to 10 days.” Treacy likes to use the Nailkale Superfood Base Coat by Nails Inc, £15, and Vinylux Top Coat by CND, £6.36.

(L-R): Nailkale Superfood Base Coat by Nails Inc, £15, and Vinylux Top Coat by CND, £6.36

Should I trim my hair at home?

“This will never end well,” says hair stylist Luke Hersheson, “so instead try to change your parting or take this as an opportunity to grow your hair a little. Unless you’ve got a really graphic hairstyle that requires maintenance, grow out your hair a little and stay away from hacking it up. Most hairstyles definitely don’t need to be maintained every 6-8 weeks.” The same goes for men. Hersherson suggests rather than trying to trim your hair, play around with styling it a bit more. His Almost Everything Cream, £10, helps the hair to look sleek without resorting to unforgiving gel and wax products.

What’s the best way to keep facial hair looking neat?

Hersheson says you should maintain the length of your beard with clippers, but to prevent in-grown hairs with a regular exfoliation. “Mix a spoonful of olive or sunflower oil with some rice flour or semolina to make a paste,” adds facialist Abigail James. “It’s cheap, simple and particularly effective on men’s skin as it’s not too scratchy.

Almost Everything Cream, £10, Hershesons

What’s the best way to remove shellac now I can’t get to a manicurist?

“Whatever you do, don’t peel it off,” says Treacy, as this will remove some of your nail layers. Instead, lightly file over the nail to take the shine. Then apply some acetone nail varnish remover on a cotton pad on each nail and wrap with a strip of kitchen foil. “Leave it on for ten minutes,” says Treacy, “and then gently remove the varnish with a cuticle pusher.”

How can I keep my skin soft now that I’m constantly indoors?

“Look for any intensive masks with ceramides or hyaluronic acid in to help repair the epidermal layer,” says Dr David Jack, a Harley Street aesthetic specialist. His Face Paint Blue, £139, is packed full of ceramides and also contains azelaic acid which can help to reduce redness and rosacea flare-ups. Men also neglect their skin so this is a good opportunity to work a regular mask into your routine. If you’re in the market for something a little more homemade, James suggests a mask made from an equal measure of yogurt and honey with a pinch of porridge oats. Leave it on the skin for 15 minutes for a boost of hydration.

Face Paint Blue, £139, Dr David Jack

hould I start using any peels or active ingredients?

“You can start using active ingredients on a daily basis, but don’t just buy anything too strong,” advises Dr Jack. “You don’t want to strip your epidermal barrier right back. It might be tempting to start using glycolic peels and retinol creams but you need to build up gradually, particularly if your skin is not used to it.” A good routine to start with is using a comfortable vitamin C serum in the morning, such as Vitamin C Repair Serum by Balance Me, £25.60, with something nourishing in the evening such as a face oil or hydrating serum.

Are there any gadgets I can use at home to help my skin?

Investing in a silicon LED face mask, which emits red light onto your skin, can really help the skin and stress levels for men and women. “LED has a balancing effect on our bodies, which can benefit us in more ways than one,” says Laura Ferguson, co-founder of The Light Salon. “The lights can help lower cortisol, our stress hormone, and trigger the release of nitric oxide within each cell, our de-stress hormone. Red light also boosts the production of serotonin and dopamine, our happy hormones.” As for your skin, expect a more hydrated, youthful glow with daily use. ( Try the Boost face mask by The Light Salon, £395).

How can I make my fillers or Botox last longer?

“Botox and fillers are injected deep into the skin to the muscle and deeper into the fat so it isn’t possible to use anything topically to prolong their life,” Dr Jack advises. “The only thing you can really do is to use good skincare at the moment and stay healthy. There will be time enough to sort out any issues when we are back to normal.”

Boost Face Mask by The Light Salon, £395

hat’s the quickest way to look presentable for a video meeting?

“Use a good quality moisturiser, a concealer and a good mascara,” the make-up artist Adam de Cruz tells me. Warm your moisturiser in your hands by rubbing them together and then properly massage it into the skin to help bring all the blood to the surface. A.D.C 01 High Performance Moisturiser, £55, is excellent for both men and women. Apply a natural-looking concealer such as the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Concealer, £34.50, under your eyes and apply two coats of your favourite mascara. As for lipstick, “apply a balmy, creamy texture with a hint of colour, and look for a multi-purpose product you can use on your lips and cheeks,” says make-up artist Ruby Hammer. Meanwhile “side-parting your hair will look immediately professional,” according to Hersheson.  

How can I make my hair colour look fresher for longer?

“There are lots of root touch-up sprays and deep conditioners that will help you fix your colour in for longer,” Hersheson advises. Try the Color Wow Root Cover-Up, £28.50, and the Reflection Masque Chromatique by Kerastase, £34.20. There’s no need to leave a mask on for too long, he adds, as most of the benefits will be achieved in the first 10 minutes. 

Turn your eyes into a work of art

Painterly maquillage is all the rage. This is brilliant for everyone, from the cackhanded to those who are good at art, because its carte-blanche ethos makes it simpler than all that blending malarkey you were required to excel at with traditional eye shadows. While the inspiration behind this SS20 Salvatore Ferragamo look – Venetian meets abstract expressionism – sounds convoluted, the reality isn’t. Mix tanning drops into your moisturiser for a natural-looking glow, paint a myriad of colours over your eyes and finish with a light-reflecting clear gloss.

Pat McGrath Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection Concealer £25,
MAC Pro Palette Paintstick £60,
MAC Lipglass in Clear £16,
Isle of Paradise Tanning Drops £19.95,
Glossier Skywash in Lawn £15,

I can’t do without… The high-end lipstick to end all lipsticks

Velvety and long-lasting: Rouge Hermes lipstick

There was a period where liquid lipsticks landed on my desk so consistently I began to wonder whether the traditional bullet lipstick was becoming extinct. I loved the textures, the finish, the ease of application of the liquids. And so the ratio of lipstick to liquid lipstick you’d find in my numerous makeup bags was probably 1 to 25 (I know, ridiculous).

This launch, however, from Hermès, has made me reevaluate my choices. It is the brand’s first foray into cosmetics and to say the beauty world has gone gaga over this is an understatement. There are 24 shades – Orange Boîte, the perfect elegant orange, is set to be a classic – that have all been chosen from the brand’s colour archives.

The tri-coloured cases – created from the lacquered metal used on the hardware of its bags – are not only aesthetically desirable (they also come with that expensive click when you close them), they are refillable, too.

And the actual lipsticks? I’ll be honest, when I first received them, I wondered if they’d live up to the hype. Well, they did not disappoint. The textures – in satins and mattes – are mind-blowingly velvety. You can’t feel a thing on your lips as they are so lightweight and the pigment is magnificent. It went on my lips in a single swoop and stayed there all day. It’s worth every penny and will be giving my liquid lipsticks a run for their money.
Rouge Hermès lipstick, £58,

On my radar… Smooth serum,beauty bargains and night magic

Time for a lift One bottle of this powerful serum – think of it as a plumping treatment sans needles – is sold every minute in the US. Finally, it’s available here, too. L’Oréal Revitalift Filler Hyaluronic Serum, £24.99,

L’Oreal Revitalift Filler Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Cheap and chic Anyone who is not familiar with Beauty Pie, the high-quality low-priced luxe brand, should head to its pop-up shop. You are bound to discover a few gems. Beauty Pie Pop Up at Harvey Nichols,

Seeing the light Battling with pigmentation issues, be it from sun damage or from acne scarring? Try this. It reduces the appearance of spots in seven days. REN Overnight Glow Dark Spot Sleeping Cream, £49,

Follow Funmi on Twitter @FunmiFetto

The moment I fell in love with my hair

As a six-year-old, I wanted Janet Jackson’s hair. It was straight. Mine was not. I  imagined hers to be beautifully soft. Mine looked stiff. I coveted the malleability of hers – hair that moved, hair that looked like it grew down as opposed to up and out.

One day I unravelled my freshly braided hair and doused it with half a bottle of Comfort. My theory was, it softens clothes, it will soften hair. I ended up with incredibly matted hair and very angry parents. But I smelt nice. One of the most intense and complicated relationships I’ve ever had is with my hair.


Many of my childhood summers were spent in Nigeria, and seeing braidists creating intricate cornrowed styles fascinated me. So I learnt to braid. I practised on dolls, friends, family and pets with lots of fur. But mostly I practised on myself. Initially my handiwork either unravelled immediately or looked less like braids and more like knotted lumps.

Years later, on holiday in Sardinia, I braided a friend’s hair on the beach. Mid-session, some white women came over to ask how much I charged. On the one hand I found it embarrassing; on the other hand, it was evidence my skills were finally impressive.

 As a schoolgirl, I owned a plethora of hair paraphernalia – tongs, dryers, steamers, crimpers, grips, clips, creams, gels, sprays…   I told people I loved my hair, but I constantly tried to manipulate it into something it just wasn’t. How can you say you love something if you’re consistently trying to change it? 

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It was a hot comb, aged five, that had first erased my natural curl. This weighty instrument was placed on a stove and, once heated, combed through hair to straighten ‘kinks’. One wrong move and a burnt scalp, ear or forehead awaited. Terrifying but exciting. It only came out on special occasions and was an opportunity to have straight hair that swished.   It sounds crazy now, but that was the norm. Every black girl I knew had her hair hot-combed for special occasions. It was a chance to have hair you could run your fingers through, hair you could flick nonchalantly, hair that would blow in the wind. 

This desire for a texture that is so unlike anything I could grow has unsavoury roots. Black hair in its natural state has been stigmatised and marginalised throughout history. The hair texture of slaves (along with how fair their skin was) would dictate how highly prized they were.


During South Africa’s apartheid era, a ‘pencil test’ was used to determine racial identity: if a pencil passed through your hair smoothly (only really possible with Caucasian hair), you were classified ‘white’. If the pencil got stuck, you were ‘coloured’ (and had fewer rights), and if a pencil stayed put when you shook your head, you were ‘black’ (even fewer rights). 

Discrimination based on hair texture is rife on both sides of the Atlantic (the states of New York and California have recently outlawed it). A recent report by De Montfort University in Leicester found a 66 per cent rise in negative policies against Afro hair in schools, while in New Jersey late last year, a black high-school wrestler was forced by a white referee to cut off his dreads.

‘For the longest time, people with Afro hair have felt compelled, pressured even, to straighten it in order to integrate into a wider, whiter culture,’ says Fetto CREDIT: ELLIOTT WILCOX

For the longest time, people with Afro hair have felt compelled, pressured even, to straighten it in order to integrate into a wider, whiter culture. I was no different. I didn’t see anything – magazines, TV, adverts – that celebrated my natural texture. Afro hair was unruly, unmanageable, rebellious, something that needed to be controlled. Alas, many products for Afro hair still use this derogatory language.


By the time I hit my teens, going through the pain (literally)  of pressing my hair once in a blue moon, only for it to revert to my natural look a week later (or sooner if I got caught in  the rain) no longer touched the sides. I wanted more. In my mid-teens I began to relax it, a process in which creamy chemical formulas break down your curl pattern so you have bone-straight hair.

When the regrowth peeps up six or eight weeks later, you repeat the process on the roots. It proved even more painful. At best it would leave my scalp sensitive; at worst, with sores that later formed crusts. But I got the silky hair I wanted so I was addicted (this is why relaxers are known as ‘creamy crack’) and stayed that way for years. 

US hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa formed in 1985  CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

Despite wanting Eurocentric hair, I wasn’t inspired by Caucasian women. When US hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa released Push It, I  became an unofficial fourth member. I began collecting tongs in a million different barrel sizes to nail those asymmetric styles. If emulating Salt-N-Pepa was a degree, I’d have got a first. But daily use took its toll – every time my aunt visited, she’d greet me with, ‘Still frying the hair?’

I began to relax it more often so it felt slicker and more ‘acceptable’ for longer. Once, I relaxed my hair myself, left the product on longer than the recommended 20 minutes, dyed it jet black straight afterwards, and screamed as clumps fell out into the bath.  I began experimenting with wigs, extensions and various hairstyles informed by 1990s R&B stars.


I loved the finger waves I spotted on Missy Elliott. At the time I was dating a totally unsuitable guy, who told me he didn’t like ‘girls with finger waves and gold boots’ because they were ‘just a bit black’ and ‘too ghetto’. I got the hair, I got the boots and I got rid of him.  Some time after that I got a Toni Braxton- esque bowl cut. I’ve never invested as much money and time as I did with this. It was incredibly high-maintenance – I was at the salon twice a week – and unsustainable, so I began wearing my hair in braids, inspired by Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice.

For years, I alternated braids with relaxers.  What happened next was the turning point. Almost seven years ago, I gave birth to my son very prematurely. He spent months in hospital and I spent every waking hour I could with him. One day I decided to get back a sense of normality by going to the hairdresser’s for a relaxer.

‘It was incredibly high-maintenance – I was at the salon twice a week – and unsustainable, so I began wearing my hair in braids, inspired by Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice’

Throughout the process I just wanted to go back to my son. I felt so anxious that once my hair was straightened and washed, I left – with it still soaking wet – and sprinted back to the hospital. I began to question myself. I asked myself whether, when I finally got to take my son home, which happened three months later, I wanted to spend time with him or at the salon getting my scalp burnt? Why was I going to such lengths, torturing myself, destroying my scalp, in order to have straight hair?

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I realised I had treated my natural texture as a thing of shame. So shameful that even at my lowest, I still felt compelled to obliterate it. It was the wake-up call I needed. Just like that, the spell was broken. That was the last time I used a relaxer.  

My hair is now completely natural; coily, kinky, textured and yes, sometimes it has a mind of its own, but that’s fine. I love it, I’m proud of it and I accept it. It’s a journey many Afro-haired women have been on; the natural-hair movement is so huge, I can honestly say I hardly know anyone who still relaxes theirs. Which is a huge step change.


But then there’s the industry’s ability to cater for Afro hair. I still buy the majority of my products from black hair and beauty stores in areas that are deemed ‘ethnic’ because I can’t find them in major retailers. And I still find most salons don’t know what to do with my hair. But I am happy that so many women now love their hair in its natural texture. Let’s hope the wider industry begins to, as well. 

COVER PHOTO: From braids to hot combs, daily tongs to chemical relaxers, author and beauty editor Funmi Fetto spent decades painfully trying to transform her hair. Here, she explains why she now embraces her natural look CREDIT: ELLIOTT WILCOX

Electrolytes are the new big skincare trend for 2020

If you think you already know all there is to know about skin hydration, think again. Whilst hyaluronic acid has held the beauty crown for years, there’s now a new moisture-boosting ingredient (or rather, a group of ingredients) in town: electrolytes.

Most commonly found in rehydrating sports drinks and coconut water, electrolytes in skincare act as a sort of redistribution system for moisture, ensuring every part of your face receives its fair share of hydration as well as helping other great ingredients to work even more effectively.


Basically, they’re cheerleaders for a healthy, glowing and youthful-looking complexion.

“Electrolytes work to balance the movement of water through layers of skin via special channels known as aquaporins,” explains Paula Begoun, founder of skincare brand Paula’s Choice, which has just launched a Water-Infusing Electrolyte Moisturizer, £32.

“Think of aquaporins as a microscopic irrigation system flowing through skin in order to maintain healthy, natural levels of hydration by moving the moisture in your skin to where it’s needed. Electrolytes stimulate aquaporins to work as they should.”

One key perk of electrolytes, says Begoun, is that they offer benefits for everyone. “They are completely non-irritating, so even those with extra-sensitive skin can use them, and they benefit all skin types, all ages, because of how these ingredients fundamentally help normalise skin’s hydration,” she says.

Paula’s Choice Water-Infusing Electrolyte Moisturizer, £32 

The Paula’s Choice Water-Infusing Electrolyte Moisturizer feels lightweight to the touch, with a cream-gel texture that absorbs easily, but still leaves skin feeling smooth and hydrated hours later. The formula features three key electrolytes – magnesium, calcium and potassium – alongside fatty acids derived from olives and an apple and super fruit complex.


But it’s not just hydration that electrolytes are capable of promoting. They also help to turbocharge the repair processes of the skin, maintaining its health and protecting it from damage.

Drunk Elephant’s latest launch, the F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial, £44, is all about repairing, renewing and restoring moisture, teaming its “4-electrolyte blend” with ceramides, niacinamide, squalane and antioxidants.

Drunk Elephant F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial, £44

The creamy formula features tiny, vitamin-F-filled microcapsules, and leaves skin feeling plumper and more supple upon waking. Like all of the brand’s products, it’s cruelty-free, silicone-free and fragrance-free, and is designed to be layered or mixed for custom results.

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And for a real wake-up call for your skin, look no further thanAlgenist’s Splash Absolute Hydration Replenishing Sleeping Pack, £44, which combines electrolytes, red microalgae, and alguronic acid to transform skin while you sleep.

Boosted hydration, with no downsides. What more could you ask?

COVER PHOTO: There’s now a new moisture-boosting ingredient (or rather, a group of ingredients) in town: electrolytes CREDIT: GETTY

Step-by-step guide to perfecting eye make-up

By  Emma Gunavardhana

Eye make-up can weave quite the spell over anyone’s look. A few well chosen shades and a clever application can make even tiny eyes look huge and can give a real ‘wow’ factor to the wearer.

Gone are the days of one shade of shadow roughly swept over lids, now the techniques are many and varied, involve colours specifically for the crease and clever pops of shimmer under the brow arch to make everything look bigger and more pronounced.

Turn over most eyeshadow palettes these days and there’ll be a little graphic giving you some guidance on where to apply what colours. It’s rules that hold fast; a matte base colour, satin crease shade and a shimmer shadow for eyelids.

Why you should use an eye primer

If it’s a long-lasting look you’re after then before you start with the shadow prep lids with a primer. Benefit Air Patrol BB Cream Eyelid Primer, £24, knocks out those thin veins and discoloration on the eyelid to create a uniform canvas and it provides a grip to your shadow.

Benefit’s eyeshadow primer knocks out discoloration while giving eyeshadow ‘grip’ for make-up that lasts all day

How to create a clean canvas

Any eye look starts with a clean, even canvas whether you’re creating something simple or working your way up to a look that’s a little more smoky. Choose a matte shadow first, you can begin to build shimmer and dimension in later, as this will anchor whatever textures you put on top of it. Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in Bone, £20, is a best-selling, one-shade-suits-all, that will wear best if pressed and pushed into the eye using a brush as opposed to swept on.

Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in Bone gives a muted, clean canvas for simple or dramatic eye make-up looks

How to sculpt your eyes with eyeshadow

If you want to make your eyes look bigger it all starts in the crease. Blend a warm shadow into the crease and draw the shape slightly beyond the eye for an immediately larger looking eye. For even greater impact draw shadow under the eye and up to meet the extended crease line. MAC’s Eye Shadow in Cork, £15, makes a great sculpting shade. You can be quite bold with the application then go in with a fluffier brush to blend and soften the line.

A warm-toned shadow in the crease adds depth and definition

How to apply shimmery eyeshadow

Now you’ve created a canvas, sculpted and emphasised the eye, a wash of shimmer shade lifts and adds dimension. Charlotte Tilbury’s Starry Eyes To Hypnotise Eye Shadow Palette, £60, contains 12 versatile shades comprising of matts and shimmers, which can be used to create four different looks. Press shadow into the centre of the lid and blend out for a 3D finish. 

Play with light and shade on the lid to draw even more attention to the eye

How to give yourself an eye lift with make-up

To lift the eye and exaggerate the arch of your brow blend shimmer under the highest point of your brow. Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter, £16, imparts a perfect pop of highlight which is not too heavy on the shimmer, meaning it won’t look brassy. 

A little shimmer shadow can heighten the arch of your brow

How to apply metallic eyeshadow

A little metallic shimmer on the inner corner of your eye is a make-up artists’ trick for making an eye look really stand out. Don’t be heavy handed, the look is meant to be subtle so use a pencil so you have more control over how much you apply. Rimmel’s ScandalEyes Waterproof Coloured Brow & Liner Kohl Kajal in Hypnotic Gold, £4.99, gives that metallic edge without overpowering the rest if your look.

A little ‘dot’ of metallic shimmer on the inner eye draws the eye

How to prevent stress from ageing your skin


If you’re up to date on your skincare knowledge, you may have heard of the term ‘oxidative stress’ especially in the past year. A result of ‘free-radical damage’ oxidative stress is caused by our environment – whether that is self-induced lifestyle factors or external aggressors such as pollution and UV – and it is now thought to be one of the biggest causes of premature ageing. So what causes oxidative stress and how can you prevent it from ruining your skin?Beauty newsletter REFERRAL (article)

What is oxidative stress?

“To put it simply, oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between free-radicals and antioxidants in your body,” explains in-house pharmacist at Victoria Health, Shabir Daya. “Free-radicals are essentially by-products of a metabolic process in our body carried out by our cells. These by-products – or molecules – can cause damage by bonding themselves to healthy cells that the body needs and breaking them down,” he adds. Pollution-proof yourself

What causes oxidative stress?

The first step in lowering your levels of oxidative stress is knowing exactly what contributes to it. As Daya explains, “there are many factors that contribute to excess free radical overload which in turn leads to oxidative stress, including pollution, exposure to UV rays or a sugar and fat laden diet and unhealthy lifestyle.”

How does oxidative stress on your skin? 

“Over production of free-radicals damages healthy cells in the body. This, in turn, causes inflammation. Inflammation limits the production of skin plumping collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid in the dermal layer (deeper layer) of the skin, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles,” says Daya.

Furthermore, this inflammation can lead to a breakdown of the ceramide layer between cells that shields skin from water loss, leading to dehydration and crepeyness, a common complaint in winter when the continuous contrast between cold weather and indoor central heating can exacerbate dryness. 

Eliminating oxidative stress is impossible with the daily assault of UV, pollution and stress that many of us are exposed to, but there are some simple ways to limit its wrath and protect your skin from prematurely ageing. 

Tweak your diet 

“There is a vital mechanism in the cells in our bodies that turn sugars, fats and proteins into energy stores to keep our bodies functioning. Free-radicals are a by-product of this energy production. So, the more sugar you eat, the more free radicals are produced, making our antioxidants outnumbered and less effective at protecting our skin-plumping collagen and elastin stores,” says Amanda Griggs Nutritionist at The Khera-Griggs Cleanse Clinic located at Urban Retreat

The obvious answer to losing collagen is to eat less sugar, but Griggs also recommends eating products that are rich in anti-inflammatory properties and phytonutrients (found in plant-based foods) to help restore the balance of antioxidants in our bodies which will, in turn, protect skin cells. Griggs also suggests that a high intake of colourful fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins such as Vitamin A, E and C will help to protect against free radical damage and oxidative stress.

Up your defense against pollution 

By now, most of us know that pollution wreaks havoc on our health and the appearance of our skin. Not only does it block our pores, but it also increases the levels of free radicals in our skin. As a result, our skin’s protective barrier is weakened and our youth-boosting collagen and elastin stores are compromised leading to dull, dry skin and breakouts. 

If you live in an urban environment, it can seem impossible to avoid to these aggressors, but there are certain steps you can take to lower your level of exposure to pollutants that age your skin and cause breakouts, such as avoiding smoking and second-hand smoke and reducing the amount of trips you take in your car per day.  Investing in a good air purifier such as Dyson’s Pure Hot + Cool can clear some of the pollutants in your home that linger in the air. Plus, wearing a sunscreen with high levels of UVA will help. 

Invest in the right skincare 

Similar to your diet, Daya suggests that specific topical products  can help to neutralise free radicals and reduce the impact of oxidative stress and skin ageing. 

Vitamin C is commonly recognised by dermatologists as a potent antioxidant known to neutralise free radicals and is also vital for collagen and elastin production while brightening a lacklustre complexion and minimising pigmentation caused by UV exposure.

Products that contain natural plant based antioxidants also work to inhibit free radicals attaching and breaking down healthy cells. These are our top three skincare recommendations for beating oxidative stress. 

3 skin heroes for oxidative stress 

Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid, £10, Garden of Wisdom

Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid, £10, Garden of Wisdom

Try Garden of Wisdom’s Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid. It’s high concentration of vitamin C protects the skin from free radical damage caused by UV exposure, whilst ferulic acid works as a powerful antioxidant that preserves the vitamin C and also helps to strengthen the skin, thus reducing the production of fine lines and wrinkles. 

Molecular Multi-Nutrient Day Cream, £100, Allies of Skin

Molecular Multi-Nutrient Day Cream, £100, Allies of Skin

For a super-charged hydrator that’s serious about protecting the skin, opt for Allies of Skin’s hyaluronic-rich day cream. Not only does it provide the skin with intense hydration, it is packed with 10 different antioxidant extracts, including green tea leaf extract, to combat free radical damage and wrinkling. 

Daily Superfoliant, £55, Dermalogica   

Daily Superfoliant, £55, Dermalogica 

Cleansing is one of the key steps in removing dirt and pollutants that are resting on the skin’s surface and settling in your pores. Dermalogica’s  cult Daily Superfoliant lifts off the day’s grime. Activated with water, this powerful powder formula forms a charcoal paste to draw out impurities in the skin, whilst red algae helps to shield the skin from the damaging effects of pollution that cause ageing. 

How to make your perfume last longer

Nobody wants to splash out on fancy fragrance, only to find that the scent has all but disappeared by lunchtime. But there’s a world of difference between dousing yourself in the stuff so everybody and their neighbour can get a whiff of it, and spritzing sporadically for a good but temporary hit.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way: from choosing the perfect base note-heavy scent to spraying but not rubbing fragrance, there are lots of things you can do to enhance your scent to help it linger all day.

Take note

When it comes to selecting a fragrance, choose one that works hard for you. Opt for an eau de parfum rather than the lighter eau de toilette. The former contains a higher concentration of oils that will not only last longer on the skin, but is often a more beautiful strength of the original composition.

A long-lasting fragrance will also need to be base note-heavy, says Emmanuelle Moeglin, founder of the Experimental Perfume Club.


“Base notes are the ingredients that stay the longest, and they include woods, amber, leather and musks. Narciso Rodriguez Musc Oil, £75.90,is great for this. It’s a woody musky fragrance that last all day. Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle, £120, is another example of a fragrance that is built heavily on the base note; it’s an oriental woody musk fragrance, so by essence will last longer.”

“Top notes such as citrus will stay on the skin for 10-15 minutes (they disappear the quickest) whereas base notes can stay up to days on the skin. So if you like heavy, oriental woody fragrances, you won’t have an issue with keeping your fragrance all day long. On the contrary, if you like light floral fresh and citrus types of fragrance, a trick would be to layer fragrances on top of each other. For instance, if you own a woody fragrance (such as Santal 33 by Le Labo or Escentric Molecules 01) then you can layer it with your summery fresh fragrances. It will give you the impression that you smell your fragrance all day long.”

Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle, £120

Build layers

Molecules in fragrance bind to the oils in your skin when applied, so if you use a body oil or lotion first, then “layer on” your fragrance, it will have a better surface to bind to.

The best time to spray is after a shower or bath. “Well-hydrated skin holds fragrance the best, so I love to spritz my fragrance after getting out of the shower and applying unscented body lotion,” says Christine Luby, co-founder of luxury San Francisco-based fragrance company Pinrose.

Better still, moisturise with the matching body lotion and literally build up a layer of lighter fragrance on the skin before spritzing on your perfume. “You could also dab a touch of lip balm onto the inside of the wrists or on your neck before applying your perfume – the slightly waxy texture helps the fragrance to hold on longer,” says Kate Evans, daughter of late artisan perfumer Angela Flanders, who runs the Angela Flanders Perfumery in east London.

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Nina Friede, founder of London-based luxury perfume house, Friedemodin, layers her perfume on her skin during the day too. “With my Friedemodin Jardin Mystique Collection, the fragrances are made to be layered. One way is to spray one perfume in the morning and refresh with another one at a different time of the day – the ingredients start to awaken again and harmonise together. Alternatively you can spray both straight after each other to create your own scent and give a boost to each perfume.”

Don’t rub it in

The best way to wear fragrance is on the skin at the pulse points: the wrist, behind the ears, elbows and on the neck. This is where the fragrance will have the most projection due to the fact that the skin warms up here.

“Women could also dab a bit of perfume on the inner side of their knees,” says Nina.

Apply your perfume sparingly, and, says Kate, “don’t be tempted to rub the fragrance – it’s better to leave it to unfold naturally as it warms up on the skin. If you need to, carry a smaller size bottle with you to top up later in the day – particularly if you are going out for the evening – this will freshen up the top notes again.”

Spray and swish

Many people underestimate the power of scent in the hair. According to Christine: “Another black belt move is to spritz fragrance directly onto your hair. Hair carries scent for a really long time. Applying fragrance directly to your hair creates delicious, mysterious wafts that are bound to get you compliments,” she says.


A fine spray on the hair, or on a favourite scarf is “also a perfect way to add to the overall silage of perfume as any perfume will hold well on textiles and hair,” adds Kate.

Before she leaves the house, Nina always sprays some of her perfume in the air and walks through it. “The perfume settles in your hair and subtly on your clothes and that helps a lot!”

“Just be careful that you don’t spray too much and from very close distance, as the oil in the perfume can stain. I’d also recommend for men to spray a bit of perfume in the inner side of their jacket, because through movement you release the scent.”

Keep it cool

It’s important to store your fragrance bottles in a cool, dark place – so preferably not in the bathroom cabinet – as heat and light can destroy the quality of the perfume.

And be careful not to over-spray; you smell your own perfume less than others do because your nose becomes accustomed to it. “The brain adjusts naturally to surrounding smells after a certain time (it’s called olfactory fatigue) so while you won’t smell it yourself, other people certainly will,” Emmanuelle concludes.

The best thing about Kim Kardashian’s new KKW fragrance is opening it

The best thing about Kim Kardashian’s new KKW fragrance is opening it

The best thing about Kim Kardashian’s new KKW fragrance is opening it

The amazing, new Kimoji Hearts collection from reality TV star, Kim Kardashian’s fragrance line was released just in time for Valentine and unboxing – or ‘unhearting’ (as you please) it seems the most fun thing to do.

The collection which comes in three uniquely delicious scents – Bae, BFF and Ride or die – come in candy heart-shaped packages that are actually chocolates and contain tens of smaller candy hearts and the perfume bottle.

The best thing about Kim Kardashian’s new KKW fragrance is opening it

The Kimoji Hearts collection which launched on Thursday has been showcased on social media with people excitedly smashing the candy-heart open until it unveils the perfume bottle within.

The best thing about Kim Kardashian’s new KKW fragrance is opening it

Via a press statement, Kim Kardashian said, “I’m so excited to expand my fragrance line and do something cute around Valentine’s day. It’s one of my favorite holidays, and the fragrances are fun and sweet. The bottles are reminiscent of the candy hearts that I loved as a kid…”

SOURCE: The September Standard


Naturally flawless: how to get the ‘no makeup makeup’ look

Naturally flawless: how to get the ‘no makeup makeup’ look

As much as I have a soft spot for full-face glam, there is nothing I love more than a “no makeup makeup” look. For years our favourite celebrities and bloggers have nailed it using minimal products to achieve a simple, wide-awake aesthetic. Here’s how you can do it yourself.

Step one

Naturally flawless: how to get the ‘no makeup makeup’ look
Step one: moisturise. Photo: Hani Sidow

The key to a flawless base is skincare. I use an oil-based moisturiser before I put any products on my face as it gives me a dewy finish and helps bring my dry skin to life. My favourite moisturiser is the Nspa nourishing facial oil (Asda, £7) as it has a light texture, which does not feel too greasy on the skin.

Step two

Naturally flawless: how to get the ‘no makeup makeup’ look
Step two: prime. Photograph: Hani Sidow

I then prime my face using the Too Faced Hangover primer (Debenhams, £27) for a radiant finish. The texture is very creamy and light so it moisturises my skin further and preps it for the rest of my makeup. The refreshing coconut scent is also a plus.

Step three

Naturally flawless: how to get the ‘no makeup makeup’ look
Step three: conceal. Photograph: Hani Sidow

To achieve this “no makeup” look, I skip the foundation and go straight in with a concealer closest to my skin tone to help cover any discolouration and dark spots, focusing on the areas under my eyes and around my mouth. I like to use the Sleek MakeUP Cream Contour Kit in dark (Superdrug, £10.99) as it has several shades that I can use to even out my skin tone and still achieve a natural finish.

Step four

Naturally flawless: how to get the ‘no makeup makeup’ look
Step four: define. Photograph: Hani Sidow

It is still essential to add a touch of definition and colour using a bronzer and a blusher. I love to use the Nip + Fab travel palette in medium/dark (, £9.95) as it has a warm tone, which adds that little bit of depth to your cheeks.

Step fiveNaturally flawless: how to get the ‘no makeup makeup’ look

The most important part of a “no makeup” look is highlighting. I add a shimmery gold shade on the highest point of my cheekbones, underneath my brow bones and the down the centre of my nose. When blended out, this is effective in giving skin that natural glow and it brings forward the parts of your face the sunlight naturally hits. I use the gold highlight shade from the same Nip + Fab travel palette, as it is a perfect gold tone for my complexion and has just the right amount of shimmer.

Step six

Naturally flawless: how to get the ‘no makeup makeup’ look
Step six: apply mascara. Photograph: Hani Sidow

I add the finishing touches by applying mascara on both my upper and lower lashes. I like to use the Benefit Roller lash mascara (, £20.50), as it adds a little curl and definition, whilst also brushing my lashes out so that they don’t look clumpy. (I skip my brows for “no makeup” makeup, as my natural eyebrows are quite full, putting more effort into my lashes and getting them to look as long and defined as possible.)

Step seven

Naturally flawless: how to get the ‘no makeup makeup’ look
Step seven: add lip cream with a hint of colour. Photograph: Hani Sidow

To complete this look I then apply Buxom “Full-On” lip cream in Hot Toddy (Debenhams, £15) to add a hint of colour to my lips with a glossy finish to complement the glow.

Step eight

Naturally flawless: how to get the ‘no makeup makeup’ look
The finished look. Photograph: Hani Sidow

Feel free to add more or less; don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Use your makeup to express yourself and have fun with it.

Follow Hani Sidow on Instagram @hanihanss

SOURCE: The Guardian, UK