Friday, 28 October 2011

Pai Organic Facial at Content Beauty Review

The Pai Organic facials recently launched at Content Beauty and a couple of weeks ago I booked in for the Detox and Decongest facial which is ideal for hyper-sensitivity, eczema, psoriasis, congested or acne skin.  I have liked the Pai products I have tried so far so was looking forward to seeing how I got on with this facial.

I have had a treatment at Content before and like their cosy, warm rooms with ambient lighting so in terms of environment, I felt relaxed. Also they do play some music but it's faint so blends into the background and is not trying too hard to make you feel relaxed which I appreciate.
Onto the facial and it starts off with a thorough cleanse, then followed by exfoliation. Pai haven't yet released an exfoliator (as far as I'm aware) so I was excited to get a taste of these new products used in the treatment, I'm hoping they will become available to purchase.

The skin was then massaged with what I think was with the Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil. Then a manuka honey mask was applied which was interesting as the natural sticky quality of the mask allowed the skin to be stimulated when the hands are pressed over the face in quite swift movements - this is supposed to help stimulate the collagen in the skin and also I think the natural suction helps to draw out impurities as well as the manuka honey being antibacterial. This is something I am definitely trying out at home!

There are extractions which I found ok and not too uncomfortable although I only had a few so that part didn't last very long. Now after this even though I didn't fall alseep, I kind of zoned out and paid a little less attention to the different steps but just let the lovely therapist do her thing. Another mask was applied and while that was left on the skin, my hands were massaged as well as the shoulders and neck area.
The treatment is finished off with the Echium Rejuvenating Eye Cream, and for my combination skin, the Geranium and Thistle moisturiser.

Afterwards my skin felt very clean, soft and well hydrated but it wasn't until the next day that I noticed that I did have more clarity in my face, my skin looked a little more even and felt really deeply cleansed and decongested - no cloggy feeling pores and it felt that way for several days after.
I've had very few truly natural facial treatments, sometimes not believing them to be as effective as their chemical counterparts (which is odd for me as I adore natural skincare), but the Pai Organic facial I rate highly and I would definitely go back.

The Pai facials are £35 for 30mins / £65 for 60mins at Content Beauty, London but I took advantage of an October offer on the Content website to save £20 (off the 60mins facial) when you quote 'Pai offer' at booking.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Water Secret by Dr Murad

If you follow my blog then you might know that I have quite acne-prone skin and while I think it has gotten better now I am in my late 20's there are times when I feel at a loss at what to do with my skin. It feels like when I make some progress I can just as easily undo it in a few days. It's not so much the spots themselves but the scars and bad skin texture they leave behind. I have long since learnt that I cannot rely on products alone to overcome this but it is something I find tough, even though I am greatly interested in healthy things I am not naturally one who follows these things. For one I have a very sweet tooth which doesn't help matters!

I haven't rushed to do a whole bunch of changes at once as I know I'd be less likely to stick to them but I have been slowly (v-e-r-y slowly) trying to incorporate more healthy foods and exercise into my lifestyle to aid my skin and general wellbeing.

Earlier this year when I was introduced to the new Anti-Aging Acne range by Murad, there was one item that I was given that I have found rather valuable and that is Dr. Murad's book, The Water Secret. The Water Secret is not about drinking lots of water (which I am rubbish at) but rather to do with how well the body's cells hold water, so that if they are well hydrated (and this is more through 'eating' water as opposed to just drinking it), they can perform all their important functions in the body.

It is packed full of information, guidance and recipes and is easy to read as well as being very positive in tone. I wouldn't say it's a diet book, it goes much further and looks at all aspects of lifestyle that contribute to a person's overall wellbeing and looks at ways in which you can improve these areas.  

This leads me on to one of the things I have recently started doing, and that is making a smoothie every morning for breakfast. I am definitely a breakfast eater but not a tea/coffee (apart from herbal tea) drinker so having an alternative breakfast beverage is a must.

This is from a recipe we were given for the Water Secret Smoothie which is loaded with ingredients that contain 'key nutrients and phytochemicals to optimize water content in the cells while also building and strengthening connective tissue'. Packed full of antioxidants to help the skin but also (although it's hard to tell with these sorts of things) I think this is helping me with this very changeable weather and *touch wood* I haven't caught any coughs/colds which a few members of my family have at the moment.

1/2 cup blueberry juice (unsweetened). I was planning to buy fresh blueberries but found this Biona organic blueberry juice at the Nutricentre. It's also available in Wholefoods (where it's cheaper) and some health food shops.
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup raspberries. I have recently switched to frozen ones as they're cheaper and can keep for longer.
1 tablespoon lecithin granules - available in health food shops (this 250g has lasted me a month so far and I have a little left).
1 small banana

Ice cubes/crushed ice
Agave nectar/stevia extract (stevia is not available in the UK - it is now)

This recipe makes quite a lot (enough for about 2 glasses) so I use a bit less of the ingredients.

It's a small step but one I hope will get me on track with achieving a more healthy me and better skin!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Cleanser Empties - Alpha-H & Snowberry

I am on a serious skincare no-buy at the moment, I cannot buy an item unless I have used up all the ones I have, so until I finish all my cleansers, I'm not buying another one (as I am writing this a MuLondon newsletter has arrived in my inbox to inform me of the launch of their new foaming facials cleansers, and I have to resist the urge to not put in an order, but boy do they sound lovely).

Just for reference I have combination/dehydrated/acne-prone skin with acne-scarring and am 28 (so use more preventative/fixing acne devastation skincare).

I have used up 2 cleansers so far - Alpha-H Balancing Cleanser and Snowberry Instant Deep Cleanser.

Alpha-H Balancing Cleanser
I have always been curious about Alpha-H products and bought a set from QVC a while back which this cleanser was a part of. While I haven't really been taken so much with the other products (I don't quite understand the fuss with Liquid Gold), the Balancing Cleanser is not bad.

This is a slightly runny white cream that is easily rinsed off with water. It does a good job of removing makeup and leaves the skin feeling clean but not stripped. I think this helped a tiny bit with skin clarity but unfortunately I found it slightly irritating around my eye area. Overall it is a solid cleanser but I am not likely to repurchase.

Aqua, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sorbitan Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetyl Alcohol, Lauryl Glucoside, Phenoxyethanol, Glycerin, Methylparaben, Sodium Hydroxymethyl Glycinate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Citric Acid, Parfum.

Snowberry Instant Deep Cleanser
This is quite an unusual looking cleanser as it's a bright orange colour with an slightly oily-serum thin cream like texture. This does allow for the product to be massaged well into the skin and it rinses off very cleanly with water so with all these elements it offers quite a unique cleansing experience. Packed full of natural oils and extracts (some more unusual then others - I didn't know a Cloudberry even existed).

It does a very thorough job of cleansing, leaving the skin clear and pores feeling less 'cloggy'. I hadn't noticed how much this was the case until I finished it up. The saying 'you don't know what you have until it's gone' rings true for this cleanser.
Having said that it's not a repurchase as it is the most expensive cleanser I've ever bought at £46 for 50ml. While it lasted much longer then I thought it would (about 3 months, mostly using in the morning as you only need 1-2 pumps for the face), it doesn't quite beat the Ren ClearCalm cleanser for me.

Melia azadirachta linn (Neem) seed oil, Plukenetia volubilis (Inca Inchi) seed oil, Macadamia Ternifolia seed oil, Olive Oil Squalene, Glyceryl Oleate Citrate, Passiflora edulis (Passion flower) seed oil, Polyglyceryl-6 Caprylate, Candida Bombiola extract & Glucose & Methyl Rapeseed Ferment, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides & Cymbium grandiforum flower extract, Asboryl Tetraisopalmitate, Rubis chamaemorus (Cloudberry) seed oil, Echium plantagineum oil, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) flower extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Gluten extract, Polydecene & Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) extract, Coleus Forskohili (Coleus) oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis leaf extract, Lycopene extract.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Hydrodermabrasion Facial at Hydrohealing Review

I have walked past the Hydrohealing Day Spa in Notting Hill, London a few times and was curious about the Hydrodermabrasion facial they offer. Anything with the word 'hydro' or referencing water definitely gets my attention! I have never had microdermabrasion, but this is different as it's gentle and is supposed to be good for acne-prone skin like mine. I had this treatment a while back in August and being a bit slack this post has been sitting in my list since then.

The spa is located on Kensington Park Road, a short walk from Ladbroke Grove tube station. It's a clean and bright blue place and doesn't feel intimidating when you walk in. I was greeted by my therapist who gave me a form to fill out and I took a seat in the dimly lit relaxing waiting area.

I would say the treatment room itself even though clean, minimal and quite nice looking is not as lux as some other places - the bed itself is more a standard flat treatment bed and not some soft, cushy bed, but having said that it is not uncomfortable and is quite relaxing.

The facial starts off with a cleanse to remove any makeup on the skin. Ren products are used in the facial (and it is bespoke to your skin type) and on me she first cleansed with the Hydracalm cleansing gel.
Then onto to the interesting bit with the hydrodermabrasion. A saline solution is blasted onto the skin in what felt like a concentrated jet of liquid. This is supposed to help remove impurities and improve the texture of the skin, as well as being deeply moisturising and helping with fine lines and wrinkles. It feels quite strange, like an ice cold wind moving over your face. It was hot outside that day so it was quite a welcome feeling and it doesn't hurt at all, but on certain parts of the face like the temples where the skin is close to the bone you can feel the pressure a little more.

Then afterwards the face, neck and shoulders was massaged with the Omega 3 Night Repair Serum, this was done to a medium pressure and felt quite relaxing although I am not one of those people who can ever feel totally chilled with a facial and have yet to come across one that has sent me to sleep! Afterwards a mask was applied (the Clearcalm 3 one). The therapist said that my skin was rather dehydrated (don't I know it; I am terrible at boosting my hydration levels), so she applied the Max Moisture Concentrate, and then I think it was the ClearCalm 3 Night Serum as a moisturiser to finish off.

My skin did feel calm and much more softer and well hydrated then before so that it felt a little more plumper although I didn't see much difference to blemishes, but I think I would have to have a few more treatments to see a difference in this respect.

This facial is expensive at £85 for 60mins, but I filled out an online consultation form to get 20% off my first one.