hearts in hair
The Pevonia Jumeirah Sensory Wellness Journey Treatment at The Peak, Knightsbridge

Don’t worry, babe – I didn’t have a bloody clue what a ‘wellness journey’ was either. All I knew was that it was a 75-minute spa treatment at one of my favourite hotel clubs from one of my favourite brands. And that’s promising enough to be awarded an afternoon.

The massage-focused ‘journey’ ended up being a wildly indulgent combination of meditation, kneading, body wrapping, and facials. It was my indecisive dream.

To start, you pick a scent (coconut & pineapple, jasmine & lavender, or peach & vanilla) to be used across all the treatments. Then, in my case, you kind of fall into a dream and wake up completely restored.

Though I’m a glutton for a massage, this club-exclusive treatment of scrubs and rubs takes it to the next level. Every part of my body felt like it had been anti-aged, restored, and pampered.

It also didn’t hurt that a finishing slather of Pineapple & Coconut Body Moisturizer was as soothing (thanks, Calendula flower and aloe leaf extract) as it was tantalising – four strangers asked where they could buy the ‘fragrance’ I was wearing later in the day.

When you book in, make sure to schedule in a little extra time for the club’s 20 metre indoor heated swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms. You won’t regret it.

Milk and Blush Hair Extensions

I am beyond non- committal when it comes to hair extensions. I’ve trialled a number of different brands as a journalist but nothing has ever really wow-ed me on the consumer side. Even the high-end, celebrity-endorsed options.

Milk and Blush, however, make phenomenal hair extensions under £100. I have been using a 16-18″ Deluxe set to jazz things up every now and then (be it as a bridesmaid or just for a night out with the girls) and the super-soft hair blends perfectly. Not only that, but the 160g “seamless” set feel like nothing more than a few clips in the hair. So much so I accidentally slept in them one Old Fashion-fuelled night.

The ‘Luxurious’ 200g set would, undoubtedly, offer more volume with its quad wefts but I don’t think I need anything more for my little pea head.

(For reference, my shade is Sweet Like Chocolate and I’ll definitely be purchasing longer lengths as my lob continues to grow out.)

Etmore

Etmore’s range of cruelty-free and natural extract-infused beauty products just launched in the UK and they’re some of the best I’ve got my hands on in months. Discovering Etmore was like discovering a pot of gold…en dupes.

My hero product is the argan oil-packed Liquid Illuminator (RRP £11.99). You genuinely need less than a pea-sized amount for a fully strobed or nontoured face, so I’ve started rubbing the excess on my legs to give them a much-needed winter glow.

Next up is the Forever Fibre Brows set (RRP £8.99) – again, with argan oil. The little brush picks up 100% cellulose fibres to fill and define brows in a single swoop. Each coat adds a little extra drama and you can build to smudge-proof, sweat-proof Delevigne brows in no time. It even has a little vanilla flower extract included which feels crazy luxe for the price point.

Last but certainly not least, the Mineral Complexion powder (RRP £7.99). It only seems to be available in one caucasian shade, but has colour-correcting infusions built into the base in small circles. The brand claim it can be used as a foundation or a finishing powder thanks to buildable – but sweat-proof – micronised minerals, but I assume it’s more of the latter as it matches my own skin so perfectly. Nonetheless, it is a fantastic little powder to balance and brighten the complexion and offers a flawless photo finish when used on top of anything heavier than a tinted moisturiser.

shiny curly hair
Emma Hardie Midas Touch Revitalising Eye Serum
If you can read the product name without bursting into ‘Goldmember’ by Beyonce, you’re a far superior human than I. REGARDLESS! This eye serum is a tried and true holy grail product that will not be leaving my beauty bag for years to come. While its consistency is quite thick on application, the formula sinks in to smooth fine lines, fade dark circles, reduce puffiness and boost cellular renewal.

It is absolutely jam-packed with the best ingredients for its cause, too; glycofilm (a barrier which protects against environmental damage), hyaluronic acid (for intense hydration), aloe vera (soothing tired eyes), and a slew of elasticity boosters (Omegas 3, 6 & 9, Inca Inchi and Raspberry Seed Oil).

There is so much skin-saving goodness I’ve even been using it on spots that catch too much sun for instant recovery.

Hair Botox at Margaux Salon
Don’t worry, babe – we’re talking needle-free beauty with surgical results. With natural products.

It seems all a bit unlikely, I know, but if any salon was to make it a reality it would be Margaux. The Finsbury Park salon launched with a definitively pure approach to beauty – no nasties, no complexities, and no smoke and mirrors.

They have built a slew of happy cut and colour customers since opening but I knew the real test of their abilities would have to be through more than skills and products. It would have to be through their ‘Hair Botox’ treatment.

Priced by hair length, the ‘botox’ uses natural acids, healing agents and powerful antioxidants to restructure damaged hair.

And it bloody works. After two hours luxuriating under masks in the Parisian-style hideaway, my stressed-out Summer curls have a shine (and remarkably repaired split ends) like never before! When I left the salon my hair was so reflective I thought it might blind an unsuspecting passerby.

Two weeks later, the initial glass hair effect is long gone but the general quality of my hair has sustained. I am enjoying a shine and bounce in unstyled hair (in the photo above) typically achieved only by professionals.

Beauty & Go Skin Shot Supplements
Anyone who’s ever flipped open a women’s magazine knows that collagen in king. When the protein is working in our favour, skin is stronger, firmer and smoother. Until now, however, most proper collagen products (read: not just the word on some packaging) have been invasive and expensive.

Skin Shot brought something entirely new to the table; a drinkable bioactive supplement that delivers. Its unique blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals nourish skin from the inside out and have proven results in clinical trials. The so-called ‘ginger’ taste is strange and much sweeter than expected but easy to knock back before brushing your teeth in the morning, keeping the benefits in mind.

In a thirty day trial, even women between 45 and 65 years old found a 50% increase in firmness, 23% increase in viscoelasticity, 7% increase in brightness, and a whopping 8.5% decrease in wrinkle count. With a decade or two on many of our sides, imagine the long-term results.

summer beauty favouritesLush Powdered Sunshine
In Croatia, this quite literally saved my skin. Though I wore my beloved Frezyderm sunscreens I mentioned last month every day, the sun was fierce and I wanted to make sure I could top-up my SPF as and when needed. This little powdered sunscreen was ideal. It is all-natural, weighs next to nothing (so is super easy to carry around with a small buffing brush), and smells divine – almost like you’re dusting sweet limoncello across your body. It also doubles as an amazing protective dry shampoo; I didn’t wear a hat a single day for two weeks in the sun and didn’t burn my scalp at all.

Bed Head Beach Bound Protection Spray and Beach Freak
My curly hair becomes something of a temperamental desert in warm weather. While the heat encourages a big bounce, it also seems to zap its moisture within minutes. I knew I needed to pack a strong heat protector and rolled the dice on TIGI’s Bed Head Beach Bound Protection Spray for Coloured Hair. The leave-in heat protection treatment not only protects tresses against the frizz of humidity but creates a barrier against heat styling up to 230 degrees, making it a perfect beachside beauty buddy.

I would spritz it through my hair every time I took a break from the sun and followed up with Bed Head’s Beach Freak Moisturising Detangler Spray – a milky formula that works to soften, nourish and moisturise dry hair – in the evening to reduce breakage before washing my hair.

Intima Ziggy Cup
As far as I’m concerned, period cups are a ridiculous thing to find taboo. They’re simply another part of a woman’s beauty and well-being regime that can make a huge difference. And this one really has. Because it was designed for period sex.

Yes, actual fully-fledged, mess-free sex on your period. Intima’s flat-fit Ziggy Cup is petal-thin, reusable (like all of their period cups), and offers up to twelve hours of protection. As someone who is very passionate about advocating ownership of your womanhood, I cannot recommend it enough.

Flawless Eyeliner from Flawless Lashes by Loreta
This teeny tiny nib makes for the easiest and smoothest eyeliner application ever. Though I wasn’t sure what to expect of the lesser-known brand’s offering, this liquid eyeliner is now my go-to. It doesn’t budge once dried (heatwave or not!) and does so within seconds. When the weather is so hot ‘putting your face on’ feels like a losing game, the Flawless Eyeliner is a godsend.

hax lip kit
After a few months of repetitive rituals, I am having a moment with new beauty products.

HAX Holographic Lip Kit
My first obsession is the lip kit so many of you asked about from this outfit post. The brand, HAX, has been created to move beauty hacks away from Instagram filters and into our hands – the put everything you would need to recreate tutorial-worthy looks in one-stop kits. They currently sell kits for everything from a shimmer cut crease to a rose gold lip, but the holographic lip kit – super sumptuous and simple to customise – is my favourite.

Frezyderm Sunscreen Velvet Face SPF
I wasn’t prepared for the sun to grace our little island with its presence quite so soon (what, with springtime snowstorms and all), so went on a mad rush to find a top-notch sunscreen when it did.

One of Meghan Markle’s reported faves seemed a good place to start.

Frezyderm, the Greek pharmaceutical brand famed for its paraben-free ingredients, was touting a ‘velvet feel’ transparent serum sunscreen that seemed perfect. And it is. The water-resistant formula is full of goodness, dries completely matte, and even doubles as a foundation primer.

I have been using a combination of the face SPF and Invisible Spray SPF (which offers additional antioxidant protection when my bod’s out) and couldn’t be happier.

BeGlow Tia
I have been wildly skeptical about ‘skincare systems’ for over a decade. While good genes definitely play a part, I have always found my skin looks and feels best with the help of a natural and simple skincare regime. More than three products – let alone a device – seemed excessive.

BeGlow (and their new sonic device, Tia) have completely changed my mind. The device was created by tech and skincare experts who had experienced problems with other cleansing devices and it shows. The Tia is 100% hygienic, gentle enough for everyday use, waterproof, and even tones the skin as it cleanses.

With a USB-rechargeable battery, the cleansing process utilises gentle pulsations to shift impurities from the skin. But it doesn’t stop there. A neighbouring anti-ageing titanium applicator then works to improve blood circulation, cell vitality, and oxygen absorption. Finally, you can trigger dual pulse technology on the device’s curved back to contour the face with low and high-frequency pulsations.

It is unreal.

Manuka Doctor
Last but not least, two powerhouse products from Manuka Doctor; the Balancing Micellar Cleansing Pads and 24K Gold & Manuka Honey Face Oil.

I have been using the nutrient-rich pads to lazy girl cleanse my skin every night and their scent – a delicious blend of manuka honey and floral nectar – is partner-appreciating levels of divine. They can remove stubborn makeup as well as they can hydrate the skin (thanks to enriched fruit acids and Vitamin C), prepping me perfectly for a deep morning cleanse.

And that’s where the facial oil, fortified with 24-karat gold, comes in. I have been applying it with the BeGlow Tia’s titanium plate and the pimped up precious plant oils (marula, inchi, kukui, et al) give me the most even, illuminated complexion imaginable. It is potentially the most affordably impressive face oil I have ever tried.

beauty favourites 2018

short black hair
If being a woman has taught me anything about beauty, it has taught me we all give a lot of f**ks about our hair.

To an extreme. A, dare I say it, religious extreme. We wake up most mornings thinking about it. Praying our efforts don’t get ruined by forces out of our control. We obsess over the loss of it, change of it, silver-crept ageing of it, and more.

And few of us are atheists. Despite priding myself on my intellect and kindness far above my follicles, I have spent decades tonging, bleaching, and masking my hair. If anything ‘of the flesh’ was to consume me, it would be the mass of tortured strands on my head.

The realisation came unexpectedly and I knew I had to break the chain.

Aptly named as it could could be, The Chapel provided a personal hair mecca.

While my first visit had little to do with hair whatsoever, the environment left such a positive imprint on me I knew it was the place to turn to cut more than half my hair off. To finally fill in those over-bleached ends. To get over the use of hair as a security blanket*.

In two separate appointments, Oliver (and a slew of truly kind salon accomplices) took me from weighed down to the glossiest, bobbed version of myself I could hope for. With the service, laughter, and know-how of proper barnet apostles.

As my hair grows out, the gloss will fade into a healthy version of the natural colour I can barely remember. And I can’t wait.

the chapel london
the chapel london
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