Min's Beauty Equipment: April 2014

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Does Botox Cause Muscle Atrophy? (by Tracey from Face Up Beauty)

A couple of months ago I wrote an article about what happens when you stop using Botox. There I talked about a lady who stopped using Botox after 20 years, and wrote about what doctors said Botox would do to your face once you stop using it. The article was ended with a question mark as I didn't go into details about the effect that Botox had on muscles.

Today Tracey from Face Up Beauty is discussing Botox side effects and specifically the effect that botulinum toxin has on our muscles, which I thought was a perfect compliment to the previous post on the subject.

Botox side effects

Everyone has heard about Botox, and likely has an opinion about it. Love or loathe it, Botox undoubtedly remains one of the most popular surgical wrinkle treatments, despite reported concerns over its safety.

Botox may cause muscle atrophy
Muscle atrophy is one of the possible side effects of Botox
If you type “Botox side effects” into Google, you’ll be presented with an array of scary stories and pictures. Botox isn’t unique – all cosmetic procedures have risks if administered incorrectly.

The unregulated nature of the Internet also means searching on any subject will bring up a shed load of extreme content, much of it totally inaccurate. The challenge is sifting through it all and working out what to trust.

Muscle atrophy is one of the possible side effects of Botox

Muscle atrophy is one of the purported side-effects of Botox that fascinates me the most.  This is where the muscle loses mass and can waste away, sometimes due to the lack of use. Botox relaxes (partially paralysing) the muscles by inhibiting neurotransmitters, i.e. those muscles are no longer being worked. It has led some to ponder: can long-term use of Botox cause muscles to sag and actually make you look older?

There is no dispute that Botox causes muscles to weaken at the time of use. The controversy is thus: do muscles remain weaker after the drug has worn off and is it something we should worry about?

One place where you can find reliable information on cosmetic procedures is the online community RealSelf, which Mingaile referred to in her recent ‘Alternatives to Botox’ post. This forum, populated by medical doctors, has a thread on muscle atrophy.

Do muscles return to their normal state after quitting Botox?

According to one doctor on the RealSelf thread, Botox can lead to muscle atrophy if used repeatedly over short periods, without allowing the muscle time to regain some use before being re-injected. His advice: go carefully.

Most, though, maintain that muscle paralysis is temporary and full function will return once Botox wears off, which is usually between 3-6 months. This slight opinion clash apart, all the experts on the thread I read maintain that Botox is a super safe and highly effective treatment, if administered correctly.

Botox may affect muscle weakness and atrophy far from the site of injection

Doctors on RealSelf have one story, but if you look elsewhere on the Internet you can find more opinions. Fears over the safety of Botox were raised in the 2010 study on rats. The study found that animals injected with botulinum toxin A experienced muscle weakness and atrophy far from the site of injection. The report, by researchers at the Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, raised questions about the long-term therapeutic use of Botox. It also mirrored previous research.

Final Word

So, is Botox safe? I can’t answer that, there is a need for more evidence. But if you want to try Botox, make sure you go to an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist for the treatment.

Also, give your muscles time to regain some of their function before re-injecting Botox, otherwise, you may end up with an unnatural look.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Look Great Hair Therapy Heat Wrap Review

Microwaveable Heat Wrap for hair therapy
Look Great Heat Wrap for hair therapy
A few months ago I was browsing around on Amazon looking for hair deep conditioning treatments. I came across this thermal heat wrap for professional quality hair conditioning. It's called Look Great Heat Wrap. It costs approximately £25 on Amazon now, although I believe I paid more. I bought the wrap and I put it in the drawer. It was sitting there for a few months until I eventually got it out and used it on my hair with a deep conditioning treatment.

The wrap is great. It is very easy to use and it stays warm for some time. I felt relaxed when using it. The therapy was enjoyable, even though I didn't get great results. I can't blame Look Great for the poor performance though. I think it's the hair conditioning treatment that is not good for my hair. My hair felt like straw after the treatment, but when I used the deep conditioner before without the heat wrap my hair felt the same, so it's nothing to do with the wrap.

What is a Thermal Heat Wrap used for?

  • It is used to boost performance of deep conditioners, reconstructors, hot oil and similar treatments.
  • Can be used to speed up hair colouring.
  • The heat wrap applies moist gentle heat for up to 30 minutes.
  • It opens up the hair cuticle, encouraging conditioners and treatments to deeply nourish the inner hair shaft.
  • The heat wrap can also help control dry, flaky scalp.
  • Can be used for all hair types and textures.

Where and when can you use the heat wrap?

  • You can use the Look Great Heat Wrap while bathing, relaxing or working around the house.
  • It can be used at home or in a professional setting.

How to use the Heat Wrap for hair treatments?

Microwaveable hair heat wrap user instructions
Look Great hair therapy heat wrap user instructions
  • The box comes with the wrap that has 3 pre-inserted thermal gel packs and a disposable inner processing cap to protect the wrap during the treatments or hair colour.
  • You can either heat the wrap in a microwave or you can heat the gel packs on a hob and reinsert them into the wrap.
  • I used the microwave. C'mon, who would use a hob if they had a microwave at home?
  • Heat for 60 seconds on high in a microwave, then check how hot the wrap feels. If you feel that it needs more heat, put it back in for another 10 seconds, then another 10 seconds if required, but overall heating time should never exceed 90 seconds.
  • If the gel packs are getting inflated, wait till they cool down a bit as the gel packs may explode.
  • Do not touch the heated gel packs directly as they may be very hot.
  • Apply your conditioner or any other hair treatment.
  • Cover the hair with the disposable inner plastic cap.
  • Fit the heated wrap over plastic cap with front part resting on middle of the forehead and tail part towards the back.
  • Make sure the ears are covered.
  • Twist the hanging part at the back until the wrap fits tight, then make sure that the hook and loop strip on tail covers the strip on the top of the wrap.

What do I think about the product?

  • It's very snuggly and the warmth makes me feel therapeutic.
  • The warmth is very pleasant, not too hot. It lasts for at least 15 minutes.
  • I think it would work well with the right hair products. It didn't work for me, but I blame the conditioner that I used and not the heat wrap.
  • Very easy to use when heating in a microwave.
  • The gel packs didn't burst for me, but, unfortunately, there are many people complaining about the gel packs bursting. The new ones cost £15 for a full set and you can't buy just one gel pack, you have to buy the whole set, which makes the wrap quite expensive.
  • Overall, it's a great product. Now I only need to find the right deep conditioner to use it with.
  • I would recommend.

Final word

Do you use any deep conditioners for your hair? Which ones do you use if so? Would you bother with a wrap like this?

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Lowen's Skincare Products Review

I have been given an opportunity to test three products by a family run business in Canada. The brand name is Lowen's and the products are as follows:

  • Hand and body lotion junior Rub it in Why Don't Ya!
  • Cuticle and dry skin therapy Super Sav!
  • Fortified revitalizing cream In Yo Face!

Lowen skincare: hand and body lotion, cuticle and dry skin therapy & a face cream
Lowen skincare: hand and body lotion, cuticle & dry skin therapy and a face cream

About Lowen's skincare

  • 100% natural
  • Cruelty free
  • Non-gmo (no genetically modified organisms or products)
  • Environmentally conscious products for consumers that want unique products at reasonable prices.

What are these products and what do I think about them?

Lowen's hand and body lotion junior Rub it in Why Don't Ya!

  • Hypoallergenic (causing fewer allergic reactions).
  • Noncomedogenic (do not block pores, which means it reduces the incidence of acne).
  • No added fragrances.
  • Minimal preservation.
  • Smells like sunflower seeds. I am not a big fan of this smell, but it's not a problem as the lotion goes on my body and I can't feel much of the smell unless I make an effort to smell it. Also, the smell is not strong and goes away quickly.
  • Skin feels amazing after application of the lotion, i.e., nice, soft and moisturised.
  • Dry skin stops feeling dry and itchy.
  • Non greasy, skin feels velvety after application.
  • Although the website states that you only need a tiny bit of the lotion, I think I would use it up very quickly if I used it on my whole body. I haven't been using a lot of it so far, mainly on my hands.
  • Perfect for hands as hands only need a tiny bit of the lotion.
  • Spreads very easily.
  • Easily absorbed.
  • Price 10.95 CAD (approximately £5.90) for 55g.
  • Very nice product, I would recommend.

Lowen's cuticle and dry skin therapy Super Sav!

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Preservative free.
  • The dry skin and cuticle therapy feels amazing on my hands - the cuticles soften up and stay soft for ages, longer than after application of any other product I have used so far.
  • Amazing smell. It is claimed that this smell is the consequence of having coconut and orange oils in the product.
  • Currently advertised as a bum cream and this product was simply renamed into a cuticle and dry therapy cream. I wish I didn't know that! :)
  • It is hard to squeeze the cream out of the tube, but the product is worth it.
  • Price 17.95 CAD (approximately £9.70) for 90g.
  • My favourite product! I would highly recommend.

Lowen's fortified revitalizing cream In Yo Face!

  • Vegan.
  • Hypoallergenic.
  • Noncomedogenic.
  • Unscented.
  • Minimal preservation.
  • Too runny, squirts when opened.
  • Feels greasy on face and the greasiness seems to stay.
  • Smells fairly nice when I try to smell from the bottle, but it smells like grease and sunflower seeds when on my face. The smell seems to stay. I don't like the smell.
  • I am not a fan of this product, so I offered it to my husband to try it out, but he didn't like it either for the same reasons.
  • The good news is that the creator of the skincare brand is still working on this cream and he is making amendments depending on the feedback he gets from people like me, so maybe after a while this product will become perfect.
  • I was also told that people over 50 seem to like the product more than younger people. Generally, older people have drier skin, so I wonder if that could be the reason for why they like it better.
  • Price 29.95 CAD (approximately £16.17) for 45g.
  • This is the only product that I don't like from Lowen skincare brand. I would not recommend the cream, but it's my opinion only, so others may disagree.

Lowen's is a great skincare brand that has a lot going for it. It's fully natural and only has the absolutely necessary preservatives added to its skincare range. Every tub has a best before date and all products expire this or next year, which makes me believe that they live up to their claims.

Although I don't like the face cream, I hope that this product will be improved in the future to address all those concerns that me and other people may have.

Final word

Have you ever heard of Lowen's skincare brand? Do you care about using natural products with minimal preservation and no added fragrance or you don't pay attention to such things?

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Alternatives to Botox

Methods to reduce wrinkles
Alternatives to Botox
In this article I would like to talk about alternatives to Botox. I am not going to offer creams like a lot of other sites do as I believe that if you are looking at other methods to get rid of your worry, frown and other lines, it is only because you have already tried lots of creams and now you realise that Botox may have to be your next step. I start with the more gentle alternatives to botulinum toxin injections and then progress to the more drastic methods. Which ones you would like to try out depends on your age, skin quality and your appetite for aggressiveness of the treatment and, obviously, the end result.

What is Botox?

Botox or botulinum toxin is a drug made from a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The product is used to paralyse or weaken muscles which results in smoothing out wrinkles and improving person's appearance.

It may sound strange, but Botox is a brand name, which slowly became a generic word for a drug used to freeze muscles. The other two popular brand names that offer the same drug is Dysport and Xeomin. They are not the only ones, but they are among the most popular ones. Botox and Xeomin both have a 68% satisfaction rating on the beauty procedures website realself.com. Dysport has a lower 55% rate of satisfaction.

Although Botox is the name that springs to many people's minds when they think about wrinkles, this method of smoothing out your skin is not always the best for everyone. We sometimes hear stories of older people who started having Botox injections in their thirties and carried on with them well into their fifties. It's ok if the toxin can eliminate the wrinkles and restore their young face, but sometimes Botox is not the best option for older people and other procedures should be considered as more appropriate.

People in their thirties and early forties have more gentle alternatives to try out and there may be no need to rush into freezing their muscles. However, Botox is generally the most effective and appropriate  method for that age group as opposed to older generation.

Why do some people shy Botox?

Although botulinum toxin works very well in evening out wrinkles and its effect is not questionable, some people don't like the idea of having a poisonous bacterium injected into their face, even if the quantities used are safe. Also, there may be some side effects such as headache, mild nausea, blurred vision, drooping eyelids and many more, which frightens some people. Others are scared of needles or botulinum toxin doesn't seem to work on them. These people may seek out alternatives.

Alternatives to Botox

  • Training muscles to relax. This is what Botox does, it relaxes the muscles, but in this case you would use no toxins. Training muscles involves training yourself to keep your face muscles still and more relaxed and, thus, avoid forming wrinkles due to muscle movements. If you can simply tell yourself not to frown and this is sufficient to stop your muscle movements, then this is all that you need, but if you keep forgetting to not frown, then you may use frownies or sports tape to remind you about your facial expressions. Stick a patch of any of these on the areas that you want to stop moving the most, usually your forehead, and keep them for as long as you are comfortable with. Do this training at home, you certainly do not want to go out with frownies on your forehead. Mastering the skill of keeping your muscles still is an important alternative to Botox as it serves well in preventing new lines from appearing on your face.
  • Facial acupuncture. Approximately 30-40 needles are inserted into your body and face. This increases blood flow to the face; collagen and elastin production may be stimulated. The time spent at the acupuncturist is a pleasant relaxing experience. The needles don't hurt. This method is a holistic approach which addresses your inner well-being and works by de-stressing and bringing you inner peace resulting in cosmetic benefits. It's not a replacement for a facelift, but it has some effectiveness. The treatment prices in London fluctuate quite a lot, you can find a 90 minute session priced at £60, at £128 or even quite a lot more. Generally, 10 or 12 sessions are recommended. Facial acupuncture may not be a replacement for Botox if you have medium lines, or a facelift and fillers for deep lines, but it may soften deeper wrinkles and get rid of fine lines.
  • Derma rollers is a great replacement for Botox
    Derma rollers are a great alternative to Botox
  • Derma roller. This is one of my favourite alternatives to Botox even though I have been very slack at using this device lately. Derma rollers even out fine lines and wrinkles and soften deeper lines. After rolling skin gently swells giving the impression of smoothness. What is best about this device is that it has much more than a temporary effect. The tiny needles on a rolling device puncture your skin lots and lots of times, thus stimulating collagen and elastin production. Please read more about derma rollers in my article called Derma Roller Skin Therapy.
  • Sewing needle can help you get rid of your wrinkles
    A sewing needle is another great alternative to Botox
  • Skin needling with a sewing needle. This method came to life after I imitated what derma rollers do, but with a single needle. There is nothing wrong with using a derma roller, but I prefer to use a single ordinary sewing needle in cases of some specific lines or wrinkles that I want to get rid of, such as frown lines. A single needle can target a specific line better than a derma roller. Also, derma rollers can be a little bit painful or, more correctly, uncomfortable. A single needle is a lot easier to control, so it never hurts and I am less reluctant to avoid the treatment. It's like separating your hair gently into two sections with a divider as opposed to pulling it with a comb. Please read the whole article about how to get rid of frown lines using a needle for more details.
  • Dermal fillers. If you don't like Botox due to the toxins, then dermal fillers may be an option for you. However, unfortunately, fillers may also have side effects, even though they are rare. Fillers work differently from Botox. They fill in lines instead of targeting nerves. Fillers generally should be used when lines become deeper. They add volume, so they are good for restoring some structure to your thinning face. If you are still fairly young and you only have tiny wrinkles that annoy you, you should go for other alternatives to Botox; at an older age, fillers may be more appropriate.
  • Laser resurfacing or chemical peels may be used instead of Botox when lines are fairly mild. These treatments will leave your skin smoother and younger looking. For moderate dynamic wrinkles Botox is generally very effective as it stops the wrinkles from turning into severe lines. For deep wrinkles you may need laser resurfacing, deep chemical peels, fillers and/or facelift to get optimum result. 
  • Endoscopic brow lift, also known as forehead lift, is a cosmetic procedure which elevates a drooping eyebrow and/or removes deep worry lines.  During this procedure certain muscles would be surgically striped out, which would work as an alternative to Botox. This method would only be used on older people. You wouldn't do this if you only had fine lines.
I hope these few alternatives to botulinum toxin injections gave you some ideas. Make sure you evaluate your skin and determine what you are trying to achieve. That will give you a good starting point as not all methods are appropriate for all age groups. Get expert help if you are unsure.

Final word

Do you use any anti-ageing devices? If so, what are they? What are your tricks to younger looking skin?

Monday, 7 April 2014

Collagen Retinol Moisturiser by Celebrity Skin Review

A few weeks ago I was sent a face moisturiser called Collagen Retinol Moisturiser by the company called Celebrity Skin. As always, in this post I will review their product as honestly as I can.

What is claimed on the Collagen Retinol Moisturiser's bottle and/or website?

Collagen Retinol Moisturiser
Collagen Retinol Moisturiser by Celebrity Skin

  • It is natural organic skincare with skin-boosting, age defying properties and silk proteins.
  • Infused with marine collagen which keeps skin hydrated, helps to soften fine lines and wrinkles, helps maintain skin's elasticity and strength by stimulating collagen synthesis.
  • Contains dark circles reducing arnica oils.
  • Rich in antioxidants.
  • The moisturiser will leave your skin feeling soft, smooth, more hydrated and totally rejuvenated.
  • PH balanced.
  • Paraben free.
  • Not tested on animals.
  • It has SPF 25.
  • 50ml bottle is retailed at £32.

Directions for use

Apply to a cleansed face and neck and massage gently into the skin to promote healthy, younger looking skin.

What do I think of the product?

  • To be really honest, I didn't use this product a lot. I applied it to my face and neck only a few times, not because it's not a good product or because I didn't like it. I avoided Collagen Retinol Moisturiser, because it had the word 'Retinol' in the product name. Recently I have resumed my experiment with Skinceuticals Retinol 1.0 cream and I have been using Skinceuticals product once a week. Skin becomes very sensitive to sunlight after application of retinol creams, especially after cream with such strong concentration as Skinceuticals 1.0. My skin still peels a bit when I use Skinceuticals Retinol 1.0 product even though I have been using this cream for a few months now. The last thing I wanted was to add more retinol containing products on my face.
  • Now when I started reading about Collagen Retinol moisturiser by Celebrity Skin I found out that it doesn't contain any retinol in the ingredients list. Please anyone explain what I am getting wrong! I would expect a moisturiser that has 'retinol' in the title of the moisturiser to have retinol in the ingredients list. After all, if it has no retinol in it, I should have been using this face moisturiser as it has SPF 25. Collagen Retinol Moisturiser by Celebrity Skin has high protection from sun and it would have worked perfectly well for me together with Skinceuticals Retinol cream in this mainly overcast UK weather.
  • The product has very good texture. Skin easily and quickly absorbs the moisturiser and feels moisturised and pleasant after application.
  • Non-greasy.
  • As mentioned before it has SPF 25 which is great as far as I am concerned.
  • No smell or the smell is very mild and not unpleasant.
  • Convenient and easy to use. The bottle has a nozzle for convenient hygienic application.
  • Although I have used the product very little, my husband has gone through half of the bottle. He says he likes it, but he refuses to say why as he doesn't want his name to be mentioned on my blog. I have a few moisturisers to choose from, but he managed to find Collagen Retinol Moisturiser by Celebrity Skin even when I hid the product in my drawer. I wanted to have a chance to try it out properly before we ran out of it. I take it as a good sign.

All in all, the product is amazing, feels nice on skin, softens it and moisturises. I LOVE the high SPF in it. The only problem is that I still do not understand why it is called Collagen Retinol moisturiser. Has it got any retinol in it or not? Ambiguity is my only problem with this product. For me it is important to know whether the product contains retinol or not. If it doesn't then the title is certainly misleading.

Final word

What is a good moisturiser for you? Have you ever seen any misleading labels? Do you use retinol products?

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Senzimi Sensitive Skin Moisturiser and Cleanser GIVEAWAY (Closed)

Best sensitive skin moisturiser
Senzimi sensitive skin moisturiser

The winner of the giveaway (updated on the 2nd of May 2014, the rest of the article remains unchanged)

I am pleased to announce that Samantha Tedesco is the winner of the giveaway. Hope you enjoy the products!

The giveaway

I am very pleased that I have cooperated with the skincare brand Senzimi to offer you their amazing products in a giveaway. Senzimi specialises in skin and hair care products for sensitive skin. I have already tested their moisturiser and a cleanser and I am in love with them.

The prize

Senzimi sensitive skin moisturiser and cleanser.

The products have been specifically formulated to soothe irritated skin, encourage rehydration, help regulate sebum production, help promote cell growth and healing. There is a lot more good things that these products can do for your skin. Please read the article about the Best Moisturiser for Sensitive Skin for full details. Also, read the same article if you don't know whether your skin is sensitive or resistant.

Best sensitive skin cleanser
Senzimi sensitive skin cleanser
Do you think you don't have sensitive skin? Senzimi moisturiser and cleanser are very good products for any skin type, even though they were specifically formulated with sensitive skin in mind. If you win the giveaway, you can still enjoy the products.

Although I am running the giveaway, Senzimi is responsible for shipping the products to the winner.

The end date of the giveaway

2nd of May is the day when I announce the winner, so all entries until then will be included. I will notify the winner through social media sites or via e-mail, whichever is available.

Conditions to enter

  • Please subscribe to my blog email notifications. You can find the box called 'Join My Email Subscribers!' on the top right hand corner of my blog. You can always unsubscribe later if you wish!
  • Write down why you would want to win Senzimi sensitive skin moisturiser and cleanser, which skin problems do you think it may help you solve. Write it down in the comment box under the blog post. If you have no skin problems, just write 'None'.

Leave your e-mail address in the same comment, so that I can check that you have met the first requirement to enter.

Final word

Do you have any skin problems? How do you address them?