My Current Skincare Obsession – Vitamin C Products.

I am not really one for skincare fads. I change my skincare according to the seasons and my skin’s needs, but generally I like to keep things pretty simple. I like my products to be hard working and crammed full of ingredients proven to work. More than this, I like to SEE them work. There is nothing like visable skin improvement to prove a product’s worth. I have sensitive skin, and ageing is always a point of concern for me, so anything that can strengthen and brighten my skin is a winner. I have been using a few products recently which have all delighted me with incredible results, and they all have one thing in common; vitamin C.

Vitamin C, otherwise known as ascorbic acid, is naturally present in our skin, being found in both the epidermis and the dermis. Vitamin C is vital for the production of collagen. It is also essential for formation of scar tissue and skin healing. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that slows the rate of free-radical damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage collagen, causing skin dryness, fine lines and wrinkles. Research shows that ascorbic acid 2-phosphate, a derivative of vitamin C, not only neutralizes free radicals, but also reverses DNA damage. Vitamin C strengthens skin, reduces inflamation, fades hyperpigmentation and creates a thicker collagen layer. If you want strong, plump skin that gleams with health, you are going to need vitamin C. Vitamin C comes in many different forms, and is added to millions of products in different concentrations, but here are my favorites.

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Nubo Vitamin C Brightening Cleanser

I am not a huge fan of foaming cleansers, but this one came to me on the recommendation of beauty journalist and industry expert Galina. I admit that this inconspicuous looking foam cleanser did not set my heart racing at first sight. Foaming cleansers are a product category I consider to be joyless in general, and foaming pump cleansers would have to be the most boring sub catagory of that group . Thank goodness for Galina and her good advice is all I can say, because if it were not for her recommendation, I would never have considered this incredible cleanser. From the first use this product astounded me. My skin was left soft, with an instant improvement in radiance. The foam is thin, and looks like it would yield little results next to a good balm cleanser, but appearances can be deceiving and this cleanser brings serious results. If you are used to a scented cleanser, then you may not like the smell of this cleanser. It’s not a pretty smell, but that is the smell of vitamin C.  Anyway, the small is irrelevant. It is a cleanser, not a perfume, and it does exactly what it says on the bottle. Use it with a Foreo for a full on anti ageing cleanse experience.

List of ingredients: Aqua/Water, Olive Oil castile, Vegetable glycerin, Rosa Rubiginosa ( Rose Hip ) seed oil, Citrus Fortunella ( Kumquat ) oil, Eriobotrya Japonica seed extract, Chondrus Crispus ( Seaweed ) extract.

120ml of this SLS free cleanser costs £35 from Nubo.

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Elemental Herbology Facial Glow Radiance Peel

An old favorite of mine, and the best home peel product I know for sensitive skin. Made with vitamins A,C and E, as well as green tea and pomegranate, this peel is pure anti oxidant joy. Beautifully refined skin that is baby soft and seriously glowy. A 50ml jar of facial glow radiance peel costs £40.

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Cosmedix Pure C Mixing Crystals

The main problem with vitamin C is stability. Contact with light, air and moisture can degrade it’s effectiveness. I use this shaker of 100% pure L-ascorbic acid to boost my serums or SPF creams just before I apply, minimizing deterioration time. I am currently using a face oil as my base layer, but I like to add a few shakes of this to my SPF cream as it gives my skin instant radiance. Six shakes will give any face mask a vitamin infusion kick. This 8g shaker of  pure C mixing crystals costs £46.11, but one shake is such a tiny amount that I would expect this to be one of those annual purchase products. I have tried many different vitamin C powders, and none have given me the results of this one. Low grade vitamin C can even cause redness and dryness, so be cautious.

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So there you go, vitamin C is amazing. Now go get your glow on!

Jess x

The Anti Cellulite Diet

Processed and fried foods, refined sugar and white carbs all put stress on your digestive systems and cause toxic build up in your body. It is this toxic build up which causes cellulite to form. Topical products can help, but diet and excerise will be the best ways to get rid of cellulite.

Foods that deter cellulite 

Pineapple – Rich in potassium and vitamin C, pineapple is also full of bromelain which helps to increase circulation.

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Water – Ok, not really a food, but your body can’t flush out toxins without water. Plenty of water also makes skin look thicker and plumps it to help to camouflage cellulite.

Asparagus – Acts as a diuretic, helping the body to release stored toxins. It also strengthens veins and capillaries to improve circulation.

Green Tea – It’s more fluid to help with flushging out those toxins, and it contains catechins, proven to help prevent collagen breakdown. You can’t have strong, healthy skin without collagen.

Sunflower seeds – Antioxidant rich, these tasty little seeds will strengthen any weak tissue that can contribute to the appearance of cellulite. If you don’t like to eat seeds, or want an extra boost of antioxidant and omega oil goodness, Viridian Organic Ultimate Beauty Oil is potent enough for one teaspoon to give you a broad range of antioxidants as well as omegas 3,6 and 9 for strengthening skin cells.

Coconut oil – Coconut oil is rich in medium chain triglycerides which help the body to metabolise fat. Go for a raw, organic coconut oil to ensure that you are getting one which is rich in active nutrients.

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Foods that cause cellulite

White Carbohydrates – White carbs cause fluid retention.

Caffine – Too many caffeinated drinks will create an acid environment in your body, and any toxins that cannot be eliminated swiftly will be stored in fat cells, making them swell. Put it down and get a green tea.

Fizzy Drinks – Full of empty calories, refined sugar, artificial colorants and sweeteners which cause fat cells to balloon up and exaggerate the appearance of cellulite. The worst offender would be diet coke. A cocktail of artificial sweeteners and caffeine, diet coke is the perfect recipe for cellulite.

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Processed Foods-  Full of salt, sugar, fat and additives that cause internal inflammation which weakens tissues, blood vessels and the lymphatic system that carries toxins away from your skin.

Alcohol – Empty calories for the body to turn into fat, and stress on your detox organs. Hello puffiness.

Dairy – Dairy products contain enzymes that the body cannot fully break down, so it encourages water retention.

 

Take note of the foods above and dedicate yourself to making health conscious decisions, grab a dry body brush for some gentle lymphatic system boosting body brushing, get your pulse racing every day (even if just for ten minutes), then treat yourself to a lymphatic boosting massage and see a decrease in cellulite in a fortnight.

Jess x

 

Getting Rid Of Dry,Winter Skin

 

 

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Cold wind, freezing rain, central heating and hot showers. Winter is a perfect recipe for dry skin. Although a long hot shower with a lovely scented wash may seem like the perfect way to recover from the cold, they are the most common triggers for dry skin. They weaken the proteins that skin cells are made up of, and erode the lipids that glue them together. Moisture escapes from the cracks in the skin barrier, and dry skin begins.

As a side effect of this dehydration, enzymes that are responsible for skin’s own exfoliation process stop working so well. Dead skin cells will remain on the surface and build up, absorbing light rather than reflecting it. How well skin reflects light is one of the main ways me judge someone’s skin health. More light reflected means a more youthful glow.

Ever get red itchy patches on your hands in winter? dry, cracked, red skin between your fingers? That my friend is a compromised skin barrier. Compromised skin barrier function means moisture gets out and irritants get in. Lets say you wash your hands with hot water, you damage the skin barrier. If you then use a hand cream with synthetic fragrance, it will activate nerve fibres in your skin and signal immune system to release histamine, Making you itch like crazy. A compromised skin barrier also means that skin is vulnerable to attack from free radicals and pollutants. This means accelerated signs of ageing, and I’m pretty sure no one asked for that this Christmas.

What you can do:

  • Wear SPF – Even in the coldest winter, UV rays can interfere with skin barrier function, reduce ceramide levels and prevent skin from holding onto moisture.
  • Wrap yourself in cotton before wool – synthetic fibers and scratchy wool irritate and dry skin. Wear a cotton layer first.
  • Moisturize damp skin – applying lotion or oil within three minutes of leaving the shower will seal water in before it has chance to evaporate.
  •  Moisturise with the bathroom door shut – Keeps the atmosphere humid, and gives the humectants in your moisturiser water to draw to the skin.
  • Clear away dead skin cells – They make you look dull and they stop your serums and creams from soaking in.
  • Embrace balms – every time you drink, every time you go in the rain, you are getting wet. That water pulls moisture from your skin as it evaporates. Balm is your shield from water!
  • Turn down the shower – Yes, I know I’m a kill joy, and I know you have heard it before, but I have told you why now and it’s for your own good.
  • Stop using washes with SLS – they strip your skin barrier.
  • Wear gloves – Your hands do not need the trauma of washing up without gloves, and its far too cold outside.

Alternatively, move to the South of France and spend the winter months sipping gin cocktails poolside. This is my preferred option, but for now it’s on with the moisture layers and gloves.

Jess x

 

 

Things I Would Do Before Botox

I am not against Botox. I have seen Botox used by medical aesthetics professionals to achieve stunning results. I have however also seen some real horror shows, and far too many people who have been given Botox injections that they just didn’t need. I see my place in the industry as one where I must guide and educate people so that they can make the best choices possible; and although Botox is an option, it is not always the most effective way to make yourself appear more youthful.

Botox has become so massively popular because it is quick, easy to get hold of, and relatively inexpensive compared to other cosmetic procedures. When Botox is injected, it blocks the signals from the nerve to the muscle. The muscle is paralysed and the skin doesn’t move, resulting in fewer or shallower wrinkles. But wrinkles are not the only things which age us. I always use a ladder of intervention with my clients, where they try less invasive options and healthy lifestyle changes before options which are more invasive, or may have side effects. When looking to correct, we should always explore options in the order of the least invasive and disruptive first. So here is what I would do before botox;

Get my hair done

A drab and dowdy hair style will age you. A good stylist will know what style and colour will complement your face shape, lift your skin tone and draw attention to your best features. The anti-ageing haircut is an investment cut, and definitely not a job for the salon junior. If you have a fabulous looking rich friend who never fails to fill you with hair envy, ask her who does her hair.

Get my teeth done

The teeth are one of the supporting structures for the face. Unresolved dental issues can cause swelling, inflammation and facial sagging. Loss of structure around the cheek and jaw, more commonly referred to as ‘jowls’ is incredibly ageing. Discolouration of teeth also adds on the years, so going to a good cosmetic dentist can make a huge difference to how old you appear. At Samsara we are collaborating with WOW dental to offer a December special of a bespoke facial treatment from an aesthetician at Samsara, and natural whitening from a dentist at WOW for a special package price of £100. Remember, the key word here is natural…

Spectacle Wearer Of The Year Awards, London, Britain - 10 Sep 2013

Go for a professional make up consultation

I’m no expert, but I know that being stuck in a makeup rut can take you back a decade.

Go for Light treatment

Red light stimulates collagen production and fights inflammation, boosting the skin’s auto immune system. Red light treatment stimulates skin cell repair, plumping out fine lines and scars, leaving you with glowing skin that behaves younger on a cellular level. This is my personal favourite treatment for age defying skin, and at Samsara we offer red light as an add on for any facial.

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Go for dermal infusions

Forget the ten years younger style peels that rip half your face off, and consider more modern dermal infusions. Dermal infusions use acids, vitamins and proteins to deeply nourish the face whilst gently exfoliating and stimulating renewal. Dermal infusions or ‘peels without the peeling’ are low irritation, so suitable for most skin types, and some are even completely acid free. This is a professional service though, and results will be based almost completely on the skill of the person treating you. You should always have a consultation before you go for any treatment like this, and make your decisions based upon how much you think you can trust the person wanting to treat you, their reputation and qualifications. This is not the time to be penny pinching. Please don’t Groupon for peels.

Jess x

Crystal Clear Lift Away The Years

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As you can see, Crystal Clear lift away the years is a pretty glamorous looking product. In fact, it is so positively A-list, that I just had to photograph it with a crystal back drop. Anything less would simply be ill befitting.

Lift away the years consists of two parts; a firming serum, and a vibrating application wand. I agreed to test lift away the years for two reasons; the first was because I like the fact that the method of application has been considered. I always say that even the best product is only doing half the job, your method of application is the other half. The second reason for me wanting to review lift away the years, was that it was developed by Sharon Hilditch. As a skincare professional, Sharon Hilditch is someone I greatly admire and respect. The fact that she developed this gave me encouragement to believe that it would be good.

However, being someone who likes to pay for ingredients, not fancy packaging, I try to maintain a healthy suspicion of glamorous looking products. I am conflicted, because I love a bit of luxury, but the beauty industry has disappointed me so many times now, I was preparing myself for the eventuality of having to tell you that it was a cute gimmick. I was even planning out how to word it without seeming overly rude. (We all know that I don’t pull the punches when it comes to a good serum).

Luckily, it was my faith in Sharon Hilditch and not my general mistrust of the beauty industry which won out. Lift away the years is a product I have really enjoyed.

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Because lift away the years was designed by a therapist, it encompasses many elements, just like a professional treatment. The importance of direction of movement has been included, because by moving the wand in this way, you target muscles which support the face and give it firm structure. These movements will also aid lymphatic drainage, which helps to detoxify the skin and maintain a healthy skin metabolism. By following the suggested routine, you are giving yourself a mini treatment, as opposed to just slapping some serum on and hoping for the best. Even without the serum, just following these instructions and massaging your face in this way would yield positive effects for your skin. It’s a good little routine, and the fact that you are following it with a vibrating wand rather than your fingertips only intensifies the effects.

The serum is not a liquid, but a white gel. It is light, but takes a bit of working into the skin. That is good though, as it allows you to give your face a good going over with the wand. I have been using this serum at night, and I have found that the vibration wand really helps to release tension in my face. I am a squinter, so round my eyes is a key area of concern for me, and this wand has a lovely gentle vibration for use round the orbital bone and eye socket. Very relaxing. The serum is not designed for eyes, but I see no reason not to use it around the eye area, and I have been doing so with great effects.

The full ingredients are not listed on the Crystal Clear website, only a list of key ingredients. I do hope they will list full ingredients soon, as it is difficult for people with sensitivities or allergies to shop without full ingredients. It also looks suspicious, and they really have nothing to hide. I have included a photo of the full ingredients list here, because although it may not be perfect for everyone, it is a good serum, and I would hate to think of people being put off trying it due to an absence of ingredients disclosure. Apologies for this poor photo; I expected to find the ingredients online, so this is a last minute i phone addition to the post.

Crystal Clear Lift Away The Years Serum Ingredients

The serum is peptide packed, and made with camelia vegetal oil, which is rich in fatty acids essential for healthy skin. Argan vegetal oil is also used in this serum; rich in vitamin E, it is a strong antioxidant and encourages skin repair. I used the serum alone as well as with the vibrating wand, in order to assess its merits as a stand alone product, and I was impressed. I used it as an intensive night treatment, and woke up to skin that looked fresh, plump and well hydrated.

As a kit with the wand and 30ml of serum, the Crystal Clear lift away the years costs £59.99. Serum refill bottles are available, priced at £29.99 for 30ml, and the batteries in the wand are just regular AA, which are easily replaced. It is also worth noting that the vibration wand could be used with any other serum you may wish to use.

The Crystal Clear is an easy way to boost your skincare routine and give your home routine some of the effects you would expect from a professional treatment. Available on line from Crystal Clear.

 

 

 

 

 

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