Friday, 22 May 2015

Kate Somerville Mega-C Dual Radiance Serum

What is it?
'A supercharged face serum for a double dose of radiance. This revolutionary, high-tech radiance serum is packed with 10 percent vitamin C and youth-enhancing bioactive omegas 3, 6, 9, and 7. This two-phase system is divided in the dual-chamber to preserve purity and potency of ingredients until released. It improves the appearance of dark spots and discoloration, evens out skintone, and brightens the complexion to promote an all-around healthy radiance and glow. Recommended for nightly use, it replenishes skin’s natural lipids and restores the barrier function to soften skin texture and improve moisture retention.'

Who is it for?
Anyone concerned with a lack of radiance, dullness, uneven skin tone and mild pigmentation.  

What’s in it?
Omega formula: Water, Neopentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate, Propanediol, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Diisopropyl Dimer Dilinoleate, PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Fragrance (Parfum), HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Phenoxyethanol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil, Xanthan Gum, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Calcium Pantothenate, Niacinamide, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hippophae Rhamnoides Oil, Lecithin, Maltodextrin, Pyridoxine HCl, Silica, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Starch Octenyl Succinate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocotrienols, Adenosine, Sea Whip Extract, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide

Vitamin C Formula: Isododecane, Ascorbic Acid, Ethylhexyl Hydroxystearate, Polysilicone-11 

Possibly acne/allergy/troubling for some ingredients?

Natural? Organic? Man made? Vegan?
Man made

Tested on animals/sold in China?

What's not in it?
mineral oil

How do you use it?
Apply to freshly cleansed and toned skin in the evening before moisturiser. You dispense one pump from each of the two chambers into the palm of your hand, swipe across with your other palm and apply.

What’s good about it?
Immediate gratification ahoy. This works, both on a superficial level and throughout the day.
Some vitamin C products can be drying or cause too much redness on the skin. This doesn't do that for me. The vitamin c level is 10% and it is dispensed separately from the Omega section which is sea buckthorn oil pulp, an oil heavy in omega 3, 6, 9 and 7. The omega section also contains vitamin e, which helps reactivate vitamin c, essentially super-powering it if you will, whilst providing antioxidant, soothing and moisturising side-effects. They work very well together, one stimulating and active, one soothing and protective.
Skin remains healthy looking with a great glow for the day.

What’s not so good about it?
I personally found this to have a bit of a kick so if you have sensitive skin I would definitely try first. (If you can)
It doesn't make me red at all, but I definitely feel it when I apply it.

Where to use in your routine?
As serum, after toning, before moisturiser.

Similar products?
Dennis Gross MD Hydra-Pure Vitamin C Brightening Serum
SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF Gel
Elemis Advanced Brightening Even Skin Tone Serum

Exchange rate – does it punish the UK?
Kind of, because you have to order in $. Between customs and shipping you end up paying dollar for pound. (approx!) Better value than a lot of serums available in the UK market regardless.

Kate Somerville Mega-C Dual Radiance Serum is $90.00 and available on

Thursday, 21 May 2015

L.A. - brace yourself

So I'm off to L.A. on Monday. I'll be at Generation Beauty with Pixi Beauty next weekend - the 30th and 31st. If you plan on going and see me there - please do say hello! I'll post specific stand and meet-up details next week closer to the time.

In the meantime, there are two serious topics that I need your help with.

Burgers and Beauty.

Where to eat?
Where to shop?

I have the usual list including Fred Segal etc - but would love to hear your tips. I have an empty suitcase ready to go.

Also: prepare to be blitzed on my Instagram. And I may well Periscope for the first time - especially when I get to my Kate Somerville facial. *SQUEALS*

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

How to use a retinol/vitamin A product

My most frequently-asked-questions recently have all been about retinol. My next cheat sheet will be on retinols, but in the meantime, I thought I would answer the most popular question, both on social media and in the comments section on here, so that I only have to so it once. 

How do I use retinols?

Brands will all give you instructions on the packaging, and whilst there will always be exceptions, the key things to remember are:
  • Retinols go onto the skin after cleansing and toning
  • You can use other products, but they go on afterwards
  • If you have sensitive skin it is worth applying onto dry skin as it slows the absorption rate and, therefore, reduces the risk of inflammation 
  • Don't apply a lot thinking it will work faster. It won't. Save your money. And your skin! Apply a small pea-sized amount, or in the case of an oil, a few drops, not an entire pipette. 
  • Don't overdo it. The results can be very alarming - in a good way - almost overnight. Don't be tempted to think more is more. It isn't. In the case of retinols, and especially if you have not used them before, less is more. Every 3rd night, moving to every 2nd night. Unless a brand specifically says differently.

I have been using retinols a long time. If I know I'm using a vitamin A product in the evening, I cleanse, acid tone, spritz, then use my retinoid. I usually follow it with a soothing moisturiser. I love them. They are easily the best products for fighting signs of ageing. Everyone should use one. They are worth the faff. Just use them correctly.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Meeting Paula Begoun

Oh lovely people! So today I went along and met the brilliant Paula Begoun and her co-author Bryan Barron. We chatted for over two hours and I could've stayed all day. Next time she's over we may hit the department stores on Oxford Street together. ;)

If you are unaware of Paula Begoun she is the Cosmetics Cop and the woman behind both Beautypedia and Paula's Choice skincare. She is sassy, opinionated, intelligent and did I mention opinionated? 
I see a lot of brands, meet a lot of people 'behind' brands where there is just nothing but dollar signs in their eyes. Not here. We spoke for so long that it would be nigh on impossible to cover everything but these are some gems that I took away from meeting Paula. 

'More than half my life has been in this industry, it's been over 35 years. Product development is what I love now. Developing products that encapsulate everything we believe is a joy.'

Her beliefs/the brand ethos
'We're now in 50 countries. Thank God for the internet!'
'We were on the cusp of setting up in China and then we heard about the animal testing and we pulled out. We said 'No'. It's a billion people market. It's a big deal. But 'No'.'
'Skincare has to be based around a system. There is no such thing as a hero product. Skin is too complicated. It's the largest organ of the body, it has specific needs and concerns that take more than one ingredient, more than one product to address.'
'It is the rare person that has a 'normal skin'. Or one skin type. So it takes a system to address those variety of concerns.'
'Everybody's skin, no matter who you are, has the same needs from the same ingredients. Everybody needs antioxidants. Everybody needs anti-inflammatories because inflammation is a skin destroyer that comes from many sources and then they need cell-communicating ingredients. Ingredients that can tell cells to make better cells, especially later in life or if you have a tendency towards blemishes.'
'So what it comes down to is texture. If you have an oily/combination skin, you may prefer gels. Same ingredients, but in a gel formula. If you are drier you may prefer a creamier formulation.'
'You cannot use fragrance. It's damaging as soon as you put it on. Skin doesn't show damage in the short term, it takes a long time. We know this from UVA. You step outside, the damage is immediate, even though you don't feel it. Irritation, no matter what the source, is taking place, even if you cannot see it.'

CH: 'And you love/use mineral oil. I hate it.'
PB: 'Well the research says that it is a wound healing ingredient. There is no negative research about mineral oil.'
CH: 'Weellll, that depends what studies you read.' :)
PB: *sits forward* 'What studies?' 
There follows a long off the record conversation about mineral oil and brands that use it.
CH: 'Certainly from a massage point-of-view, during facial massage, plant oils are superior. I would never massage with mineral oil, although I would do a paraffin mask during the treatment.'
PB: 'Mineral oil and plant oils have two different properties. Plant oils have fatty acid properties and are anti-inflammatory and antioxidants. They absorb in better and work at cellular repair. Mineral oil, on the other hand, is a surface ingredient. It's too large to penetrate. It's great for wound healing. It allows for air to flow through and keeps moisture to a minimum.'
That's where we left that conversation. ;)

Her products
'A great skincare product takes into consideration that there are things that need to stay on top, things that need to absorb, and then things that need to absorb deeply.'
'The other thing is the notion of 'gentle'. It is a huge issue because everything about ageing, everything about healing the skin, red marks, blemishes, is all about reducing inflammation. What we know about ageing and collagen destruction and sun damage is inflammation is a killer. Whatever that source is, whether it's the sun, hot water, irritating ingredients, fragrance, fragrant plant extracts, essential oils, it causes further irritation and damages skin. So everything we do is to encompass active ingredients in a formula loaded with soothing ingredients that contain no irritants. That's who we are.'
'All of the claims we make for the products are supported by published research, that we list on our website. We take all of that very seriously.'

'A major component of Paula's Choice is exfoliants. It's a fundamental concept for healthy skin, to help skin shed naturally what it can't normally do because of things like sun damage. Glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids are the ones we know the most about. However, not everyone can use all of them so we make different products so that everyone can use something.' 
CH: 'I love acid toning.'
PB: 'You call it acid toning? I think that's brilliant!'
CH: 'Don't nick that Paula! It's mine.'

She's not a fan
'That everything needs to absorb, or everything needs to penetrate, or this needle-rolling to create channels to get things into skin is just bogus.'
Me: 'What do you think of dermarolling? I hate it.'
PB: 'It's damaging. Repeatedly wounding the skin does not generate collagen. It generates (we both say together) scar tissue. If you use it once a month, it may not give you an issue, but a lot of people are using it on a regular basis, using at-home kits. Over time, it ends up stiffening the skin. It does not give you supple, pliable, beautiful skin and it damages elastin. And elastin doesn't rebuild. It is very hard, if not impossible, to rebuild elastin. Dermal rollers are terrible. They are physiologically bad for skin.' 
*high fives Paula*

And my favourite part of our conversation
I asked Paula what she thought of the frequent criticism of her Beautypedia website being conjoined with her Paula's Choice website.
CH: 'Do you find it's a fine line to cross between having a website that talks, frequently in a negative fashion, about all the other brands and then at the bottom up pops a box with a 'Try this!' and it's recommending something from your range?'
PB: 'No not at all.'
CH *smiling*: 'You don't care?'
PB: 'Well it's not that I don't care, I get that it's controversial. But I know that we are the only cosmetics company in the world that recommends products other than their own - that are willing to talk about other products.
So as long as we stay, in Paula's Choice, respectful of what we are trying to achieve and keep each other in check, and never cross any lines....
Listen. I know, for a fact, that we have some of the best products on the market, and as an entire line, some of the most cohesively consistent formulas and packaging. We're not going to make everybody happy. You never will. For years we were almost embarrassed that we had our own products. So no, I don't mind the criticism.'

The Lady has a point. 

And yes. She has great skin.

Monday, 18 May 2015

MUJI Skincare

Well this is certainly going to please a lot of my lovely readers. Especially those with sensitivity to fragrance and those of you on tight budgets. *calling all students*

MUJI, home of all beauty bloggers favourite storage, have relaunched their skincare and it shows great promise. It is fragrance, alcohol, paraben, dye and mineral oil free. Although that alone makes it attractive, the price point and sheer value of the products mean it is worth checking out for everyone, not just those mentioned.

Coming from the Far East, it advocates double cleansing, has a selection of essences and even sheet masks (YAY!).

There are three collections, Cleansing, Sensitive and High Moisture and prices start at £3.95 and go up to a whopping (she says sarcastically) £14.95 for the High Moisture Essence Lotion. Don't worry about the descriptions either, the soaps aren't 'soaps' of old, they're not loaded with SLS.
The Moisturising Essence for Eye Contour - second tube from the left in the picture above is worth checking out at £10.95 for 30ml.

I've added various items from the High Moisture range to my shelves and will report back but in the meantime, at these prices and sizes, it's worth checking out for yourself right now.

Your only immediate challenge is that it is exclusive to Selfridges for 3 months.

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