beauty favourites april 2017
Infuse My. Colour Wash (Shampoo) from Bespoke Brands
After returning to icier pale tresses and undergoing my first keratin treatment, I was widely advised to ensure all my hair products were sulphate-free. It seemed as long a time as any to start using my latest product of intrigue, Infuse My. Colour’s vegan and sulphate/silicone/paraben-free shampoo.

The new products were launched in five colour-enhancing shades to give customers ethical, clean, and environmentally-friendly hair care which maintains or enhances colour & hair health simultaneously. My chosen shade (Platinum) takes the form of a thin purple rinse which neutralises yellow, maintains brightness of greys & whites, and even adds shine.

For keratin and colour’s sake, I’m a lifelong convert.

The White Company‘s New Beauty Products
I was beyond intrigued to discover The White Company had partnered with DECIEM (“The Abornal Beauty Company”) to expand its already gargantuan inventory into advanced tech skincare, so picked up a few products just before I left for the US. Hoping they would last me the full two months (potentially naively), I am pleased to report the three that I suitcased have met all initial promises.

The first – their multi-purpose Super Serum – is superfine and sinks into skin at the speed of light to moisturise, defend against UV damage, even out skin tone, and generally perfect in skin. In the crazy Floridian humidity, I have been FOTD-ing the serum and Eye Revive under SPF and feeling as confident as I would with a face full of slap. In fact, moreso. The combination – all eye and skin brightening – leaves you with the most radiant, fresh and happy skin.

The trio of faves ends with the Super Balm – a cleanser which transforms from cream to non-greasy oil when rubbed into the skin, dissolving all of the day’s dirt, grime, and – if you’re that way inclined – cosmetics. It is also gentle and effective enough to suit all skin types and, with a sweet lemon scent, a real comfort to cleanse with.

Baby Lips in Cherry Me from Maybelline
What’s a monthly beauty favourites without a lip product, eh? This month, I have fallen for what I assume is the cheapest product in my entire beauty collection – Maybelline’s tinted Baby Lips in Cherry Me. Like their OG cult favourite, the tinted version of Baby Lips moisturises and smoothes as soon as it is applied, albeit this time with a translucent cherry hue. I find it really brightens the face and takes my naturally pink lips to a more neutral, pretty hue. A genuine handbag staple.

grey hair root smudge
For lack of a better explanation, my hair got roasted last year. Though I’m fortunate to be friends with some of the best hairdressers in the world, a root touch-up at an unfamiliar yet expensive hairdresser before my best friend’s wedding basically boiled my hairline to pieces.

It wasn’t the end of the world (TGF Elasticizer) but I certainly didn’t want to damage or bleach the broken hairs further so headed to Vinokurov Studio London for a little bit of tress taming.

Dmitry Vinokurov, you see, is one of the industry’s most creative talents (a renowned hair stylist, Wella trendsetter, multiple award winner, et al) and his his first UK salon – newly opened in Chelsea – boasts a team of care-focused stylists that have all been individually trained by him.

My favourite of which, Mauricio Dorneles, created the healthy root-smudged beauty on show, above.

The studio is luxe yet cosy and flooded with natural light, meaning you feel at home almost instantly. Over coffee, Mauricio and I discussed my woes (breakage), goals (keeping as much blonde as possible), and options before finally deciding to smudge my roots with nutritious semi-permanent colour (healing, rather than contributing to, the breakage) and toning the existing bleach to keep my locks as bright as possible.

As far as hair rehab is concerned, I could not have been more ecstatic with the results (seen above and below) so decided to return to Vinokurov a week later and kick breakage’s ass with a keratin treatment.

This, despite all Mauricio’s talents, I was a little dubious about. Keratin treatments are often PR-ed under miracle status; they promise smooth, sleek, shiny, “wash and go” hair of dreams and my natural hair (quasi-curly and erratic waves) has never been any of those things.

Two hours of treatment followed by 24 hours of unwashed “downtime” later, however, I’m sold. I was on planes for most of the time you’re supposed to keep your hair stick-straight and unwashed (this lets the keratin work its magic) and when I finally got to a shower, finally transported to Florida’s heavy humidity, my hair dried naturally like never before.

With the trade-offs for glossy keratin hair flicks amassing to 1) a trip to the hairdressers and 2) strict use of sulphate-free shampoo, I can’t believe I didn’t do it earlier.

Long live root smudges, keratiin, Mauricio Dorneles, and Vinokurov Studio London.

vinokurov london
vinokurov london
View Full Post

hot stone massage
Hydraboost Facial at Sorbet Salon
I took time to visit Sorbet’s newest salon in East Finchley as a Valentine’s Day treat to myself and truthfully had a better time with my eyes closed than many of my friends did with their partners on the day.

The treatment – Environ’s HydraBoost Facial – combines a number of practices to hydrate, plump, and perfect skin in only sixty minutes.

It starts with a deep cleanse and inspection of the skin’s natural state before customizing a round of treatments (many of which combine the powerhouse duo of Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin A) to leave you with flawless, smooth skin.

The entire process entails decongesting pores, lifting dead skin cells with a mask, toning the skin, and applying the most extravagantly thick mask over the entire face (with room for nothing but breathing holes) before probing the mask – using sound waves and electrical pulses – deep into the skin’s epidermis.

Combined with light massage of the head and hands, it is undoubtedly the most luxurious way to seriously indulge your skin. Mine has never looked better.

Balancing Ecosoy Travel Candle by 58 Lifestyle
When it comes to bringing that spa experience home (and away!), very little could beat 58’s Ecosoy travel candle. It is a luggage-friendly size of their ‘Balancing Ecosoy Candle’ which is hand poured using eco-friendly soy wax for a long lasting and clean burn that is free from pesticides and herbicides.

Not only are Ecosoy candles kinder to the environment (as they are produced using renewable resources and do not omit harmful fumes), but also burn a fragrance (woody, comforting) that makes me feel calm and – bizarrely – beautiful within seconds.

(If you really want to indulge – or gift someone special – their Lifestyle set is gorgeous.)

Hot Stone Massage at Marshall Street Spa
As it turns out, I have walked past Marshall Street Spa hundreds of times and had no idea the rather gargantuan business was there until this month. On the edge of Soho, the Spa – managed by Everyone Active – is as convenient as a break from the city gets. It is literally underneath it.

For my first visit, I sweated my stresses out between their steam room and sauna, worked in my robe for an hour under the twinkling lights of the relaxation lounge, and wrapped things up with a hot stone massage.

As London has been keeping me both freezing and tightly wound, the stones worked quickly to heat all of my knots, dissolve every ounce of physical tension, and – at least with my eyes closed – transport me to somewhere with double-digit temperatures. For something that could be done on a City worker’s lunch break, it doesn’t get much better.

Dr Bronner Organic Rose Castile Liquid Soap
This crazy wonderful cult product is one I am sure you’ve seen if you’ve read a magazine in the last twenty years but, if you’re like me, you may not have tried it.

Do so. Immediately. Dr Bronner’s liquid soaps (the Rose, of which, I favour) are paraben-free blends of certified Organic natural essential oils, packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, and they last forever. Whether you’re cleaning your body, hair, baby, makeup brushes, or kitchen (seriously), you simply dilute a couple of drops into water and use the result to your natural beauty-loving heart’s content. With a penchant for a ‘deep clean’ without stripping the skin or “nasties”, I have yet to find anything better.

the chapel candle
I have a confession to make. Though I been doing the “feminist as f*ck” thing for a number of years – all “Girl Power!”, “Love yourself!”, “Equality and kindness for women!” – I am very rarely kind to myself.

Do I believe I deserve as much as anyone else? Sure. Believe I’m a good person? Absolutely. Ever take time out for myself? Uh…no.

And it wasn’t until I went to the launch event of The Chapel‘s new incredible product range that I realized as such.

Rather than inviting 300 members of the press to take Snapchats of her new products and shove as many overpriced canapes as possible down our throats, Amanda (Dicker, The Chapel Founder) asked a handful of us ’round to her Islington Salon, fed us from fresh sharing platters on her own china, poured us her favourite tipples, and led an all-empowering feminist pow-wow.

The entire logic behind expanding her award-winning hair, beauty and lifestyle business was to encourage people to take the brand’s renowned “haven” status home with them. To reclaim time outside of the salon (the only place most of us allow ourselves “me time”) and put themselves first.

“Too often these days we mistake a hectic schedule for a full life, yet the time thattruly belongs to us is the moment when we pause…” – Amanda Dicker, Founder of The Chapel and all-round Wonderwoman

It was a much needed wake-up call for me. As our makeshift circle of trust shared personal stories, I related with patterns my own sacrifice, insecurity, and societal pressure. “Me Time” is long overdue. And The Chapel’s products are the perfect gateway drug.

The three products – candles, hand cream & pulse point fragrances – come in three fragrances; Oparus (Bergamot, Geranium, Sandalwood, etc), Mellifera (Apple, Tuberose, Vanilla, etc), and Noctula (my favourite – Mandarin, Violet, Patchouli, etc).

Though I fell in lust with all three scents I, naturally, went for the “hot red lips” (Noctula) scented candle as when you complete the 80 hour burn time you can use the exquisite ceramic candle holder as a home accessory.

That has “me” written all over it.

cheers

A post shared by Lela London (@lelalondon) on

long blonde hair
This has been such a bizarre month of beauty-related highs and lows for me. While I’ve discovered some absolute gems – especially in spa services (hashtag birthday month!) – I have also been dealing with the literal fallout of going to a hairdresser I didn’t know or trust last-minute while in America.

Thankfully, my poor ravaged baby hairs have found solace (and you’ll see how, below)!

Secret Spa
Before my last trip, I had been so busy and running so low on time to pack that I felt incredibly ill-prepared for all that travel entails. I needed to take a moment out. And found that moment with Secret Spa. The mobile beauty service (both available through their app and online) books appointments with elite beauty therapists in the comfort of your home, at a time that works for you, and takes mere seconds to do so.

I booked in with Charlotte – a hair stylist and nail tech – to give me a blow dry and beach-ready pedicure the second after I knew I would finish packing and was successfully prepped – mentally and physically – less than one hour later. With nail, waxing, massage, hair, makeup, facial, spray tan, and even lash treatments available, Secret Spa is a foolproof Uber for beauty junkies.

ChinUp Mask
Suggesting it would erase a double chin in 30 minutes, this product was simply too bizarre not to try. Essentially, ChinUp asks you to measure around your chin, apply a mask, secure it with a terrifying-looking band, wait 30 minutes of skin-tingles, and remove everything to reveal a 2cm loss in chin fat.

It sounds ridiculous…but it works. The mask’s serum boosts collagen (helping to contour), contains Q10 co-enzyme (a strong antioxidant to relief dry, dehydrated skin & stimulate cell renewal), and utilizes active ingredients to help all of its natural plant extracts to sink in and reduce the appearance of fat.

While I very much doubt this is a long-term solution for those of us with proper (non-water retention) double chins, it would be a dream to use in the lead up to a big event, photoshoot, wedding, or – like me – when you’re feeling sick and can’t face your puffy, dehydrated profile in the mirror.

The Moroccan Spa Limited Edition Detox Ritual in Urban Retreat at Harrods
During this treatment, I could not stop thinking I was living out some sort of Jasmine-in-Aladdin dream life.

I mean, Harrods and Urban Retreat tend to make me feel that way on their own but this was different.

In the spa’s hammam, I was sat down to relax and breathe in steam before being taken to my own hammam area for an incredibly indulgent wash and Kessa scrub by the practitioner. Different to a normal ‘spa scrub’, this process is incredibly meditative and thorough, allowing intense oxygenation of the skin, microcirculation of the blood, and a slough of dry skin that you can see and feel immediately.

Completely prepped, my full body was then wrapped – with a special focus on detoxifying energy points – in Rhassoul mud, organic honey, and peppermint oil. With the wrap hard at work, I was then treated to a short facial with the same products and eventually rinsed clean – top to tail – before taking some time to read and drink fresh mint tea in the relaxation area.

It was unadulterated bliss.

My current hair hero products:
Oh Bee Hive by Tigi –
This dry shampoo is my new (and convincingly all-time) favourite. As well as an adorable name and bottle, Oh Bee Hive soaks up excess oil within seconds, leaves no residue, boosts volume, and – most importantly – feels clean.

K-Pak Deep Penetrating Reconstructor by Joico –
Remember my aforementioned hair woes? This has been a lifesaver. This hair mask (‘Reconstructor’) actually uses a combination of amino acids and Joico’s Quadramine Complex (theirr famous protein-stocked repair formula) to genuinely rebuild and fortify damaged locks in as little as five minutes.

I was skeptical to begin with, especially as it smells like a useless bottle of sweet banana heaven, but the results speak for themselves. The longer it’s left, the less breakage I deal with. The more I use it, the less insane my hair texture becomes. I love it.

Toni & Guy Style Fix Curler
The new TONI&GUY Style Fix Stylers are handbag-sized professional styling tools and – unlike ones I’ve trialled previously – are genuinely as good as their full-sized counterparts.

Best of all? Each product (straightener, waver, and curler) is designed to protect your hair & colour as it smoothes with their Ceramic Tourmaline plates and boasts world-wide voltage (is there anything else more travel blogger friendly?). Whether you fancy a spruce up from your gym bag or carry-on, there will be a Style Fix styler perfect for you.

…and last but not least, Live True London (you can thank them for the hair porn, above)
Long-time readers will remember Gro as the salon that made me blonde over two years ago (how time flies!), but may not have yet to hear of Live True London.

The kicker? They’re the same salon.

After a rebrand, Live True have maintained seven kickass hair salons across London and seemed like the perfect place to fix the ongoing fried-hair disaster I was caused months prior in America. The order of the day? Tackle the roots, drown it in Olaplex, chop off the damage, and add a clip-in Lullabellz hair piece to style (don’t worry, you’ll be seeing much more of those in my upcoming 90s Get Ready With Me vlog).

Long story short, Paco Latorre (of Live True London Vauxhall) is a genius. He colour matched the extensions to perfection, added a tonne of life to my hair with Olaplex’s three-step molecular bond-builders, and chopped off enough hair to keep my extension-free mane in recovery without making me cry.

I could not be happier.

beauty favourites january 2017
coffee and hair