Min's Beauty Equipment: 2015

Monday, 15 June 2015

Review of Calm Before the Storm (Guest post by Cara Lake)

Fate, destiny, soul mates, yin and yang and opposites attract.

Calm Before the Storm by Cara Lake
Cara Lake’s debut urban fantasy romance novel Calm Before the Storm has all of the above. Add in a universe populated by immortal warriors, kickass heroes and heroines, supernatural beings and demonic beasts and you have the perfect recipe for a great summer read.

For those of you who like to escape to other worlds but also enjoy action and adventure both in and out of the bedroom - this is the book for you.

The story unfolds with many twists and turns as the hero and heroine grow to an understanding of their destiny, for in a world on the brink of chaos they are the only two people can balance opposing forces and restore order to the universe. To do so, the two must forge an intimate bond. Unfortunately, they’re complete opposites who are unaware of their powers—and of the consequences if they fail to unite.

A lawyer with good reason to abhor violence, Irina is wary of her new client, a famous boxer accused of murder. As a street orphan, Tyr learned to fight for survival and trust no one. Despite their differences, the two find themselves irresistibly drawn to each other.

With secret forces working both for and against their alliance, Tyr and Irina find themselves on a journey fraught with danger, betrayal and overwhelming desire. Ultimately the fate of billions rests in the hands and hearts of two lost souls who must overcome their fears and learn to trust each other.

Calm Before the Storm is a Romantica® urban fantasy erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave. Reader Advisory: This story has graphic sexual language and scenes—no closed bedroom doors (or other rooms) here!

You can purchase the book from Amazon here, like Cara's Facebook page and follow her on Twitter.

If you do read the book, Cara would love it if you would post a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Announcement of The Winner of Thesis Skincare Prize

This is a fragment from an awesome T-shirt that I bought from
H&M a few days ago
The winner of the last month's continuous giveaway prize, two Thesis Beauty skincare products of your choice, is someone with the e-mail address that looks like this:


If this looks like your e-mail, please get in touch, so that I can pass your details to Thesis Beauty. My e-mail address can be found on the Contact Details tab.

Unfortunately, I will not be announcing the new prize for the next month as I have decided to have a break from blogging. At the moment I do not know if I will resume my activities in the future. The blog will remain on the Web, so anyone who found a useful article or two is welcome to browse around.

Thanks again to everyone for reading and your continuous support! Always remember - YOU ROCK!

Monday, 6 April 2015

Shampoo and Conditioner for Extreme Hair Volume: Amazonia Preciosa Cupuacu by Surya Brasil

Your Tonic online body care shop has kindly provided me with a few Surya Brasil products. I have already written about Surya's body scrub and their shaving gel, the high end products with an amazing smell and great texture, and today I would like to review their Amazonia Preciosa Cupuacu shampoo and conditioner for normal and straight hair.

Surya Brasil Amazonia Preciosa Shampoo & Conditioner Review
Amazonia Preciosa Shampoo & Conditioner
Cupuacu by Surya Brasil
If you love big hair, you are going to love Surya Brasil's range of hair products. Their shampoo and conditioner turns my locks into big thick tresses that I love. The first time I used the products I got a bit annoyed as they do not seem to form any foam. It feels like you could put the whole bottle on your hair and the hair would still be dirty. The conditioner also seems to disappear into your hair without doing anything. However, don't be fooled, you don't need to use up the whole bottle of Surya's shampoo nor conditioner just for one wash. You need only a little bit and although hair doesn't seem to get foamy from the shampoo or smooth and glossy from the conditioner, it doesn't mean that the products are not doing anything. Only a little bit will wash your hair well and give it that extreme volume that most of us so crave.

Amazonia Preciosa Cupuacu shampoo and conditioner are sold as products for normal and straight hair, but I find the products great for my gentle waves too as long as I don't brush my hair after wash. The shampoo reminds me of John Frieda's range for extreme volume, but I think that Surya has the edge. The hair feels like it has been powdered to volumize it, so I guess that some people may not like the way the hair feels after wash, but that is what gives your hair that extreme mostly desired volume.

Other great features of Surya Brasil Amazonia Preciosa shampoo and conditioner:

  • Hair shine and anti-frizz effect
  • Free of mineral oil, silicone and sulfates
  • Protects hair from the effects of wind, pollution and use of hairdryer.
  • Enhances thickness
  • Increases hair volume and flexibility  
  • No animal testing
  • No animal ingredients
  • Natural and organic

Surya Brasil Amazonia Preciosa shampoo is sold for £19.99 on YourTonic and the conditioner is also sold for £19.99.

Have a happy hair day! What is your favourite shampoo and conditioner? Which features do you value in hair care products?

Saturday, 28 March 2015

How to Get Rid of Peeling, Flaking, Desquamating Skin When Using Retinol Products

Are you a regular retinol user? If so, you may have already figured out how to deal with that awful skin that you get if you use too strong for you retinol product. If you have just found out about retinol and you bought some product by yourself without really knowing what you were doing, chances are that you have got a cream that is too strong for your skin. It's not going to kill you, but it may give you an unpleasant experience and this is exactly what I had when I started out. I had no idea that retinol makes skin peel and I certainly had no idea that it can make skin peel so badly that you won't know how to get out of the house without embarrassing yourself.

Here is another very good article about retinol which I highly recommend to read for anyone who is anything less than a pro in skincare and anti-ageing.

Retinol flaking skin
Flaking skin from too strong retinol product
Anyway, let's go back to our original question about peeling skin. So, how do we solve this problem? First of all, if you have already acquired a product that is too strong for you, then you may want to ditch it and get another one that is the right strength for you! But what about all the cash that you just splashed out on the cream? Hmm.. I think this is where some creativity can help. Take another cream that you normally use and mix it up with your retinol product, then spread it on your face as usual. You may still not get the consistency that works for you in the first time, but you can still try a few more times until you do get it right. If your skin still peels too much, use more of your usual cream and less of retinol. According to the beauty therapist Amie from Biologique Recherche skin doesn't have to peel for retinol products to be effective.

Retinol flaying skin
Ginvera Marvel Gel helps get rid of flaking
One thing to bear in mind, as Amie states, is that you need to know what's in the bottle of your ordinary face cream or a moisturiser, i.e., if the cream already has ingredients that encourage exfoliation, then it may not be good for your skin to mix your night cream up together with a retinol product as your usual skincare favourites will not dilute the retinol and it may even enhance instead of suppressing the vitamin A derivative. So, be wary.

What if your skin is already peeling, you need to get out of the house and you don't know what you can do to reduce that desquamating skin? In this case I use a product called Ginvera Marvel Gel. I use it after a standard face exfoliant which, unfortunately, doesn't normally remove flaking skin, but it somehow makes Ginvera gel more effective. You can also try to use the mentioned product without exfoliation beforehand. Ginvera Marvel Gel targets the cornified skin layer dissolving and removing the dead skin cells on the top most epidermis layer. One word of caution: use it only in emergencies as it certainly has some ingredients that work in a similar way to AHA, BHA, which means that it will irritate your already irritated skin instead of soothing it. However, it will get rid of the flakiness at least for a few hours. Watch the video to see how the marvellous gel works on skin. The YouTube video has more than just a demo of the mentioned product, so be patient.

What is your experience with retinol products? Do you use any? Will you in the future if you are still too young now?

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Biologique Recherche Facial - Facelift Using Just Hands

Friday was a pamper day. I had an amazing facial with Biologique Recherche. Amie, the therapist, spent the whole 2.5 hours talking to me about my skin, giving me some general skincare tips and giving me an amazing facial which left my skin noticeably tighter, lifted and wrinkle-free (except for a few around the eyes lines that I get when smiling).
Biologique Recherche BR facial at EF Medispa
Biologique Recherche facial at EF Medispa, London

Biologique Recherche (BR) has a very unique attitude to ageing and cosmetics. They do not claim to make people young again, but they try to slow down the ageing by using their holistic approach to skincare. They do not go for the extreme cosmeceutical approach that often rips skin off the top layer, imbalances skin's ph neither they use ineffective mass market products that are hardly able to achieve any results due to them being too generic for individual skin. They look at skin as a part that is interconnected with the rest of the body and they try to solve skin problems by looking at the bigger picture. Biologique Recherche have a huge number of skincare products to offer a bespoke solution to every client.

Biologique Recherche facial at EF Medispa by Amie
Beauty therapist Amie from Biologique Recherche
at EF Medispa
Let's go back to the facial that Amie did to me on Friday. The BR facial was very long with a massage that helped me disconnect from the outside world and some pinching and pulling movements along my face to achieve the lifting effect. At the end she used a galvanic device to push some extra ingredients deeper into my skin. Some ice at the end of the therapy closed my open pores. Amie asked me if I could see a lift in my face when I was still lying down on the treatment bed, but it was too difficult to see. When I eventually stood up and looked at myself in the mirror I was really impressed as my face looked noticeably younger and lifted! How could she lift my face with her hands, it's impressive! Amie claims that she pushed a lot of ingredients into my face by massaging it, which gave me outstanding result. Also, the result is not only short-term.

There is some more stuff coming my way that has been selected specifically for me by Amie. This is how things are done at Biologique Recherche - everyone is different and unique and everyone's skin is treated accordingly.

Watch out for more posts on Biologique Recherche to see if their pick for my skin was better than any other products that I use based on my own judgement. Looking forward to trying out their lotion, serum, cream and a few other things.

Do you use any products that you can't normally get in your convenience shop without it being prescribed by a therapist, dermatologist or any other expert? Have you ever been given a facelift with hands?

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

V-Beam Pulsed Dye Laser Review for Getting Rid of Skin Redness

Today I would like to talk about the V-Beam pulsed dye laser session that I had approximately six weeks ago.

I have a very red nose. It's not constantly red, but the redness comes back every time I get cold, every time I have some alcohol, do some exercise or certain other activities. To make matters worse, the skin on my nose has a very waxy appearance, i.e., when I apply some foundation or concealer, it simply doesn't stay on for very long. Well, try to apply some concealer on a candle and see how easy it will be! Not easy, I tell you. So, I mustered my courage and decided to get this redness problem removed from my life.
IPL VBeam Pulsed Dye Laser review
A demarkation line visible after the IPL VBeam treatment.
My face doesn't look too bad in the pic, but the swelling
only got worse as the day progressed

The Medical Practice, Price and the Number of Treatments required

I went to Karidis, a medical practice for beauty treatments in St John's Wood, London. The practice was nice and the lady who I spoke to was lovely, so I booked myself in for a V-Beam session.

According to the practitioner V-Beam is the most effective therapy for treatment of skin redness, rosacea and so on. I require a minimum of three sessions, but it can be as many as six to see a difference. I guess for my nose I will need at least six to make a change. I also decided to get rid of redness on my cheeks which was never too bad, but it seemed to make sense to do this too, given that I had my nose treated, anyway.

The V-Beam therapy cost me £120 per session, i.e., for the top of my cheeks and the nose area. You are not supposed to have any active sunbathing for a month before and after the pulsed dye laser treatment, also, no fake bake for a week before and after the therapy time. Sun cream is a must of at least SPF30 for a month after the VBeam and, ideally, before.

The V-Beam Pulsed Dye Laser Procedure

The V-Beam session only took approximately 10-15 minutes. My make-up was removed, face properly cleansed and safely goggles placed on my eyes. The goggles were very dark, they almost blacked everything out. They were very tight and I could hardly blink, so I just kept my eyes closed. The session started.

Imagine that the lightening lands on your face, you see bright light and you get an electric shock - that's how I can best describe the feeling of having my face lasered with the mentioned device. Luckily, the laser is not continuous, it pulses, so you get breaks to recover from the electric shock, plus the whole process only takes 10 or so minutes. It's bearable.

Alter the V-Beam Pulsed Dye Laser Procedure

After laser the therapist applied some cooling gel and SPF50 on my skin. She said that I might feel  a burning sensation for a few hours or even days, but, luckily, I felt nothing. I had no discomfort whatsoever, other than my swollen appearance.

I put on dark wide sunglasses to hide my face from strangers and set off home. You certainly would not want to go back to work after this, not because you wouldn't be able to work, but because you would look so ugly that you simply wouldn't want anyone to see you.

VBeam is a non ablative laser, so the skin surface remains unaffected, i.e., you don't get weeping skin nor there is any risk of infection unless your skin had already been infected before the treatment, but then you should not have the procedure done in the first place. The only thing that happened to me was a badly swollen skin and some temporary redness.

After the therapy my skin looked like a 3D map. You could clearly see the line of demarkation with sections being raised were the laser device glided on my skin. On the next day the demarkation line disappeared and my skin simply looked very swollen. I avoided going anywhere where I knew I could not get away without taking off my sunnies. I went to the shop though. I know I looked silly with the sunglasses in the middle of the winter and in the dark, but still not as silly as I would have looked like with my two normally quite big eyes looking like two peas planted in a pile of snow.

All right, I am a little bit exaggerating. It wasn't quite as bad, but I tell you, don't plan any events for at least two to three days after the treatment as you may end up looking like someone who has been beaten up. The swelling went away to a reasonable level on the third day after the treatment, i.e., on Monday (the VBeam pulsed dye laser treatment was performed on me on a Friday before). Even then I was still swollen, but I dared to get out of the house without my usual sunnies. Tuesday was the first day when my appearance seemed to be normal.

The Result

Review of IPL pulsed dye laser Vbeam, personal experience
The red patch that appeared on my skin 2-3 weeks after
the treatment
My cheeks look noticeably less red. To be honest, they hardly have any redness now at all, so it's an achievement. My nose is still as red as it was before. I mean it went badly red when I was skiing. I looked like a Santa Clause, which is usual for me during rigorous exercise, so no result. I am supposed to have three to six sessions, so I will definitely need them all at least. The question is: Will all those sessions help my redness go away? We will see. I will update you in the future.

Side Effects

Two to three weeks after the V-Beam pulsed dye laser treatment some red patches appeared on my skin. They are clearly laser related. Luckily, I managed to get rid of the redness with OZ Naturals 20% vitamin C serum. I can still see that my skin is not exactly its usual self, but at least it doesn't look too bad now and it's not red anymore. I believe the skin will even out after a while, otherwise, I will have to employ my favourite anti-ageing tool called a derma roller to even out the texture of the skin.

Just a couple of days ago another two red patches appeared on my skin, which I find quite odd as it's been nearly six weeks since I had the VBeam laser therapy. I certainly didn't expect any side effects to appear so much later. I will see what happens and let you know in the future.

Final Word

Have you used any laser treatments? Did it help you? Would you use an IPL, any other non ablative or ablative laser? What skin problems do you have?

YouTube Video

If you fancy to watch me chat about the VBeam treatment for skin redness, you are welcome to watch my YouTube video. There is no new information there, but you can see what my face looks like now.

Update on 27 March 2015

Today I have been on my second session of VBeam at Karidis. The therapist used a slightly stronger setting on my nose to get better results, so we will see what happens next, but my nose already looks less red. Is it possible that this is working straight away? I don't know, but it looks like it might be.

I would like to update you on my red patches that had appeared on my skin previously. Thankfully they are now fully gone and my skin looks absolutely flawless.

Increased collagen is the added benefit of V-Beam, which I can totally notice. My cheeks look fuller and more rounded, which I love.

Smaller skin pores is another plus that V-Beam provides and I can observe the difference on my face. So, I am happy with the results of my first session in terms of what my skin looks like. Now I am waiting for the results from the second session as I want to see the redness from my nose fading, which was the original intent of my visit. I'll keep you posted.

One more important thing about swelling. My skin swell badly the first time round, but I hadn't used anything to cool it. I assumed that cooling was suggested to keep pain at bay, which I didn't have. However, I have been told that cooling is necessary to control swelling, which, obviously, makes sense looking back. I will keep my cheeks cool as much as it is practical to do so and I will let you know if I still get the same degree of swelling as before or less.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Continuous Giveaway. This Month's Prize: Thesis Skincare of Your Choice

The two winners of the last month's giveaway prizes, wonderful Joe Coffee Scrubs, are as follows:

This month's prize: one Thesis serum and one powdered product of your choice

If one of the e-mail addresses looks like it could be yours, most likely it is yours then, please get in touch. You can find my e-mail address on the Contact Details tab on my blog. I only need your address so that Joe can send you the prize. Thank you for being on my subscribers list. Winning now does not preclude you from winning again in the future. You automatically participate in all my future continuous giveaways simply by being on my subscribers list.

This month's prize: Thesis Beauty Skincare of your Choice

I am very pleased to announce my cooperation with Thesis Beauty skincare brand. The company is providing one serum and one powdered product of your choice. Their serums are a lullaby for your skin with amazing scent that beats any other oil based product. Powdered products are unique, they leave skin soft, clean and rejuvenated. You are welcome to browse around in their online shop here. I have tried and reviewed Thesis products before in the blog post here.

Most of Thesis serums and powdered products cost US$19.95, so the whole prize is worth approximately US$40.


Thesis Beauty is responsible for delivering the prize to the winner. Although I totally trust the company to deliver the prize, I cannot be held responsible in case things do not go according to the plan.

How to enter the giveaway

This giveaway is part of my continuous giveaway, which I started a few months ago and you can find some more details about it here. You only need to join once and you will automatically participate forever without ever having to enter again provided you stay on my e-mail subscribers list. So, being on my e-mail subscribers list is the only compulsory condition.

Simple conditions to join:

  1. Become a subscriber of my blog. Find the subscription box on the righthand side of my blog. It says "Join My Email Subscribers!". Make sure you verify your subscription by clicking the link that gets automatically sent to your e-mail address as only active subscribers take part.
  2. Like my Facebook page here. Don't worry if you don't have a Facebook account, you can still participate in a giveaway as number 1 is the only compulsory condition to be included.
  3. Like Thesis Facebook page here. Also a voluntary condition.

Scope of the giveaway

Open internationally to people over the age of 18.

Winner selection

The winners will be selected randomly from the active subscribers list as of 15th April 2015.

End of the giveaway

This month's prize winners will be announced on the 15th of April 2015.

Final Word

Good luck to all participants and have a wonderful Sunday!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

OZ Naturals 20% Vitamin C Serum Review

If you are into anti-ageing you will know by now about the power of vitamin C to your skin. OZ Naturals also know about it and, therefore, they have created a 20% Vitamin C Serum with amino acids, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and Ferulic acid to give our skin a boost in nutrients and anti-oxidants. It is not a magic formula which will turn back the clock, but it will even out your skin tone and, hopefully, will slow down collagen loss whilst loading your skin with anti-oxidants.
Ascorbic acid serum by OZ Naturals, Vitamin C review
OZ Naturals 20% Vitamin C serum

OZ Naturals claim that their vitamin C serum penetrates further into the skin's layers as opposed to a moisturiser that penetrates just below the surface. The 20% Vitamin C serum is specifically designed to stimulate new collagen production while also hydrating your skin to make it softer, smoother and younger-looking.

The serum is free of all the nasty stuff, such as parabens, sulfates, it is cruelty free and 100% vegan.

Clearly having said all those wonderful things about the claimed youth elixir, I would love to share my thoughts.
OZ Naturals Ascorbic acid 20% serum review
Red spots that appeared on my skin after having a V-Beam
treatment were instantly cured by the OZ Naturals
20% Vitamin C serum

Although I am not able to measure my collagen levels and I cannot confirm that it has increased collagen in my skin, I can confirm that OZ Naturals 20% vitamin C serum has evened out my skin tone. Actually, it seemed to have solved one serious problem that I had after having had an IPL treatment on my cheeks. I'll talk about this beauty procedure sometime later on my blog.

Two to three weeks after the VBeam treatment some red spots appeared on my cheek. I had never had them before and after a bit of "googling" I decided that the spots were a consequence of too high power used during the IPL session. I was a bit concerned as most other people who had their skin burnt by the laser had the marks appear a lot sooner than three weeks after the treatment. Well, I could not do anything, but wait and see what happens. At the same time I decided that it was time for me to try out the new OZ Naturals 20 percent vitamin C serum, which I applied on a thoroughly cleansed face before going to bed. To my surprise, I woke up with such a smooth skin tone and no red marks on my face at all. I was in awe!

So, although such things as collagen levels are hard to measure, I can confirm the power of the OZ serum in evening out the skin tone and brightening the top layer of our face. My patchy and blotchy skin looked so much better after a single application of this skincare elixir and, most importantly, it saved me a lot of worries about what would happen with my face and those red marks that appeared on my cheeks after the laser.

Do you use any vitamin C serum or product in your skincare regimen? If so, which one?

Thursday, 5 March 2015

SkinPEP Hydra-Sun Defence SPF 30: Outstanding Non-greasy Suncream

Best sunscrean SkinPEP Hydra-Sun Defence SPF 30
SkinPEP Hydra-Sun Defence SPF 30 day cream: outstanding
sun cream which leave no residue, non-greasy and creates
a perfect canvas for make-up
I am an infrequent retinol cream user, therefore, protecting my skin from the sun is of utmost importance to me. The only problem is that I had to find a product that had high SPF, but, also, did not leave my face all shiny or turned me into a porcelain doll, which happens with most of the other sun creams with high SPF.

Thank God, SkinPep sent me a lot of samples of almost every product that they have in their range. They are a great brand, but SkinPEP Hydra-Sun Defence SPF 30 mineral sunscreen moisture boost day cream left the best impression. I have been looking for a product like this for a long time and I have been using sun creams with high SPF that I absolutely hate, simply due to having bad luck and not coming across anything else similar to the mentioned product. I only have a small sample of 7ml, so it won't last me very long, but I am definitely buying this sunscreen day cream again very soon.

So, what exactly do I love about SkinPEP SPF 30 sun cream?
Non-greasy formula SkinPEP Hydra-Sun Defence SPF 30 day cream
Non-greasy formula leaves skin tone with no cast
  • It has high sun protection, i.e., SPF 30.
  • It protects skin from the full spectrum of rays.
  • It feels absolutely wonderful on skin - non-greasy, makes skin look glowing and flawless.
  • SkinPep Hydra-Sun Defence creates a perfect canvas for any make-up, which is not the case with most of the other sun creams with high protection.
  • It's not just a sun cream, it's a moisture boost day cream which leaves skin tone with no white cast.
  • Paraben free, alcohol free, perfume free, hypo-allergenic.
Cons: none.

Price: £5.99 for a 7ml tube, £34.99 for a 70ml tube.

I would love if they had the same one with SPF 50 for those super hot days that we occasionally get even here in London (hint hint...).

Are you a regular user of sun creams? Which SPF and which brand sun protection do you use? What qualities in a sunscreen are important to you?

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Could Your Collagen Drink Be Harming You?

I could be so wrong, but here you will see some of my thoughts and considerations on why a collagen drink did not work for me. If you have any experience on this, please enlighten me and my readers in the comment box under the post.
Collagen drink & shots reviews
Rejuvenaed collagen shots

Months ago I got sent a collagen drink in powder form by Rejuvenated. I totally forgot about the received bag, but when I came across it at the back of my cupboard, I got very excited and set off to try the collagen shots out immediately.

Collagen is the main structural protein of various connective tissues in animals. Collagen drinks are supposed to help us rejuvenate our skin, hair and nails, make nails firm and strong, improve the tone and texture of our skin and so on. Lots of benefits, so what's not to like?

All excited, I opened the pack and started to drink collagen shots - once a day one hour before bedtime, as instructed. A couple of weeks later after starting to drink collagen shots I noticed that my nails became thicker and whiter, which I normally consider a sign of health. My hair seemed to look shinier too. Although my nails looked better, I noticed that they started to split and became brittle. Very soon, a few of my nails broke from very mild impact and I had to cut them all short as they looked ridiculous. This does not often happen to me. My nails are fairly strong generally and I often cut them shorter simply due to convenience, but now I had to cut them really short, much shorter than it is usual for me.

Collagen drink review
Liquid collagen drink
I did not understand what was going on, I thought I was going crazy. I googled to see if there was any chance that collagen drinks could make my nails brittle. What I saw was the opposite! Every site claimed that the protein in collagen makes nails strong and stops them from being brittle, so how did the opposite happen to me then?

We all know how diet affects our lives. Good diet can make us look and feel better, bad diet can cause us various problems starting with constipation, bloating, lethargy, lack of concentration, stomach aches and others. Both hair and nails are made from the same protein, called keratin, so it makes sense that similar diet choices would affect them both, says dermatologist Jessica Wu on Huffington post. She claims that a lot of people come to her practice complaining about thinning hair and brittle nails. One of the main culprits, she says, is that people eat too much fish, which contains high levels of mercury. High levels of mercury can lead to hair loss. Also, people who do not eat enough of protein can have hair loss and brittle nails.

Collagen drink
Collagen shots by Rejuvenated
Some fish has higher levels of mercury, especially those that are higher in the food chain such as marlin, tuna, shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish and northern pike. Also, fish that is older and larger contains more mercury, which is accumulated throughout their lives. Weak flaky nails that tear and split easily is one of the many signs of mercury poisoning, so could I have been harming myself with my collagen shots? I can't answer that, but the company concerned claims that their collagen has only tiny traces of harmful metals, not more than any other fish products that are considered good to our diets. Nevertheless, the quality of collagen is important and, if you are to try out this drink, you must do further research on which collagen drink to buy as they are not all equal. Rejuvenated does not provide any information on what their collagen drink is made of. The package states that it is made of marine collagen with a lot of extras added to it.

If anyone wants to know more about Rejuvenated collagen shots, I will tell you that they taste good and they don't smell of fish, but this is trivial if it doesn't do what it is supposed to do or, even worse, maybe it's causing me more harm than good?

If anyone has any explanation as to why my nails started to split and became brittle, please let me know in the comment box below. I would love to hear the answer.

Have you ever tried any collagen drinks? What effect did it have on your skin, hair and nails? Would you like to try a collagen drink?

Updated on 2 February 2016

Addressing the company 's mentioned in the post concerns I would like to add the following words provided by them:

"The fish used for Collagen Shots is ethically sourced from free running fresh water and of European origin. All production runs are produced to European Food Safety Association standards and have certifications of analysis.  Our products are 100% natural without additives or fillers, we go to great lengths to source the very best ingredients possible."

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Professional Beauty Show at London Excel, 2015: Review and Highlights

Crowded at the Professional Beauty Show at London Excel
Professional Beauty Show in London Excel is one of the shows that every girl who has any interest in beauty should visit. The show advertises itself as a professional expo, i.e., the show for beauty practitioners and all those working in the industry, but really it's a great event for everyone. People in the industry can find beauty product suppliers, make connections with brands, learn about and acquire beauticians and beauty salons' software, attend educational seminars or simply watch live demonstrations of various beautification techniques that beauty professionals use in their practices.

The event took place on the 22-23rd of February 2015 in London Excel centre. I attended only the Sunday show, but it was enough to get an idea. The Show is a big and busy event with lots of stands of various sizes and exhibitors showcasing their products. In one end there were more beauty products such as lipsticks, hair extensions, eyeshadows, nail polishes and alike, the other end was dominated by skincare brands and large stands, which reminded me of the Anti-Ageing Health and Beauty Show in its nature. The only difference between the shows is that the Professional Beauty Show is a lot bigger and it is more varied, but I am sure everyone would find something interesting for them in both of them. From an exhibitors point of view, Professional Beauty seemed to be a lot busier, especially if I compare it with the Anti-ageing Show in Manchester, but I don't know how busy it is in the other cities where @pro_beauty has its presence. Maybe they are a lot emptier there too?

Let's see what I saw at the Professional Beauty Show in London. Obviously, I saw a lot more than what you'll see in the pictures, but I did not wear Google Glass to film it all!
  • When I turned up, there were some incredible models with spectacular make-up, costumes and hair art. The girls looked phenomenal. Professional Hair Direct were responsible for this outstanding show. 
Professional Beauty London Expo - Professional Hair Direct
Professional Hair Direct with their stunning models
  • Thanks to RejuveMe for the celebrity moment I had - when somebody you don't know comes up to you and says that they recognise you from your blog, believe me, it feels rather fab. I have been in touch with Nicki before through social media though, so it wasn't a completely random encounter. I have already tried their rejuvenating drink called EverGreen. More about EverGreen in the future, but below is a picture of their product in case you are curious..
Professional Beauty London Show - RejuveMe EverGreen
RejuveMe EverGreen drink that improves sports performance
  • Wonderful Shea butter products from Aviela. They felt really moisturising and had a very pleasant consistency.
Professional Beauty London Expo - Aviela
Aviela outstanding shea butter products
  • Zephorium Soul Tonic has a range of products to restore your moods depending on your concerns. They talked about chakras and how their tonic helps balance them. The dark purple one is the one that I requested to improve my mental performance and levels of concentration. You have to spray Sephorium Soul Tonic into the air and breath it in. You can do this multiple times throughout the day. It smells quite nice, so it might work a bit like aromatherapy, I guess.. 
Professional Beauty London Exhibition - Zephorium Should Tonic
Zephorium Soul Tonic balances chakras through smell
  • There were lots of devices and consultants to give you a free skin analysis test in case you wanted to know how badly your skin had been affected by exposure to sun, humidity levels and other factors that affect your skin quality.
Professional Beauty London Expo 2015 - free skin analysis
Free skin analysis
  • The Abnormal Beauty Company with they abnormal colourful energy drinks. They claim that their Fountain drinks give us energy in a very subtle way, i.e., they make us energetic like Red Bull does, but they do not give the rush and anxiety that is often accompanied by the mentioned popular product. Also, the drink can target specific concerns, such as aid sleeping, give us confidence, mental energy and so on. Pretty impressive!
Professional Beauty London Show - Fountain drink
Fountain energy drinks from the Abnormal Beauty Company
  • Also, for those that wish to have various treatments done there and then, there were plenty of options to choose from: semi-permanent make up, teeth whitening, eyelash extensions, nail art, micro current facial, massage and lots more.
Professional Beauty London Show - semi permanent make-up
Semi-permanent make up

Professional Beauty London Show - teeth whitening
Teeth whitening

Professional Beauty London Show - eyelash extensions
Eyelash extensions

Professional Beauty London Show - nail bar
Nail bar

Professional Beauty London Show - Nouveau facial
Micro current facial by Nouveau
  • Hair styling demonstrations on stage. 
Professional Beauty London Show - live hair demonstration
Hair styling live demo
  • Some of the stands that I enjoyed and took snaps of were: Clayspray, Elemis, Hammam Ritual. I think the winner was Elemis who brought a double decker to the show. The bus had a spa on the first floor and a shop downstairs - pretty impressive! People queued up to see what's inside.
Professional Beauty London Show - Clayspray
Clayspray stand

Elemis stand at Professional Beauty London 2015
Elemis double decker bus stand

Professional Beauty London Show - Elemic double decker stand
Elemis bus stand

Hammam Ritual stand
Hammam Ritual stand

  • I have been a fan of the French salon skincare beauty brand Guinot for a while. I have used their Guinot Technispa equipment for getting rid of cellulite, so when I saw their massive stand at the Professional Beauty London expo, I was hesitating to come up to them and talk. Nevertheless, I mustered the courage and I ended up having a very enjoyable conversation with the guys. Also, they kindly offered some products to try out, so you will definitely be seeing some reviews of Guinot in the future.
Guinot products received at the show

Did you go to the Professional Beauty London expo in Excel? Do you go to any beauty shows? If so, which ones?

Sunday, 22 February 2015

How to Soften Up a Hard Face Mask and Why You Have to Do it

How to soften hard face mask - pressure spray
Unsuccessful attempt to buy
a water spraying bottle 
Recently I tried out a few face masks that got hard very quickly. Some of them state that you need to keep them on for 15 or so minutes, but they get hard within a minute or two. They start pulling skin so badly that there is no way you can last the recommended time without doing anything about it.

Clay masks go through three stages: the damp phase, start of the dry and the dry phase. During the damp phase skin absorbs all the nutrients, the start of the dry phase exercises capillaries and stimulates blood flow and the dry phase draws moisture out of skin. You don't want to reach the dry phase, you need to wash the mask off before then if you want to benefit from the product rather than cause dry and possibly itchy, flaky skin. I don't know if all the other masks draw moisture from your skin in the same way, but I believe that they do. Even if that wasn't the case, how can you possibly benefit from keeping a face mask for, let's say, one minute instead of the recommended 15 minutes? Most of the masks are too pulling!
How to stop facial mask from drying out
Toothbrush is a great way to spray water on your
drying out face mask

So, what do you do? How do you stop face masks from getting hard to get all the goodness out of them?

Don't buy masks that pull your face!!! No, I am only joking. The first mask that kept drying out very quickly was the mask that I received from Ogra. Luckily I read their instructions, which said that you need to keep spraying water on your face, and this is when I figured that I had to do the same with all the other masks that were drying out too quickly. At the end of it it was worth it, Ogra's mask and a few others all worked very well on my skin, leaving it beautifully smooth with that super clean feeling, so don't be put off by that drying feeling. Carry on reading to see what I do to solve this problem.

It can be a little bit tricky to spray water unless you have a special bottle spraying mist. My first attempt to buy such bottle ended up in failure as it doesn't spray mist, it sprays water like a hose as it's a pressure spray bottle, so no way I could use it on my face. The bottle will do a good job in summer though when we play water guns with my kids. I'll use the bottle as my secret weapon to unsuspecting children!
How to correctly use a face mask - add some oil
Add some oil to stop face
mask from drying out too quickly

Let's forget the guns for now. I use a toothbrush to spray water on myself when I am wearing a face mask. It gives very fine mist and it's perfect for applying a little bit of water on my drying out face. It keeps the mask moist and allows me to keep it on my face for as long as I want.

Thesis skincare brand has their advice regarding face mask softening. They say that in winter face masks get hard a lot quicker due to low humidity levels and one way to rectify this situation is to add a few drops of oil into a face mask. I haven't tried this method yet, but I am definitely going to give it a go next time I am using Thesis products.

I hope this gave you a few ideas. What type of face masks do you use if you use them at all? What's your favourite?

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Thesis Face and Eye Serum, Face Mask and Scrub Review

Thesis face and eye serum, face scrub and mask are a bit different products from what I am used to seeing. So, what's so different about Thesis products?
Thesis eyes and face serums, scrub and mask review
Thesis eyes and face serums, scrub and mask

First of all, the mask and the scrub come in a powder form and it's not something I have seen before. There is always the first time! Thesis face and eye serums are both in oil form. They are made from premium cold-pressed oils and organic essences, no synthetics. The ingredients in both serums are similar. Both contain jojoba, grapeseed, argan, rosehip, palmarosa and some other oils together with vitamin E.

Although I am generally not a huge fan of oils as they stay on my face without getting absorbed by my skin, I enjoy using these ones. Essences have been added to give the Thesis products a wonderful smell and not the usual smell of cooking oil, which I must admit is a big part of why I don't normally enjoy applying oils to my face. Like usual, these oils do not get easily absorbed into my skin, but they don't feel very thick like most of others, so I don't mind them too much. Also, the serums give my skin a wonderful glow, which is a big plus.

Thesis face serum claims to be a perfect nourishment for dry, damaged skin, which I perfectly believe as the only reason it doesn't get absorbed into my skin quite easily is because my skin is not dry (although it used to be!). I tried the face serum on my extremely dry hands at this time of the year and the serum got absorbed instantly. I like the fact that Thesis made it clear that the face serum is a lullaby for dry skin, instead of trying to convince that it's the best product for everyone, even though the person ends up with a layer of grease on their face for the rest of the day. Well, they have other products to match your skin type.

Thesis Face scrub and mask review
Thesis Face Scrub and Mask review
Thesis face mask and Thesis face exfoliant are great products too. The scrub gently removes buildup of dead skin and the mask revitalizes face as it's loaded with antioxidants, skin renewing vitamins and acids. A teaspoon or two of each has to be mixed with a bit of water to achieve desired consistency and then the products are applied on face. During the application the mask kept getting tight on my face, so I kept spraying water, otherwise, I would not have lasted the recommended 15 minutes. Also, they both have quite clinical smell. It felt a bit like I was at a dental clinic as the smell bore resemblance to the smell of fillings, especially those in the old days. Well, even though the products remind me of a dental practice more than a spa, they are effective and I felt totally content with the result after removing all of them from my skin. My skin felt more even and super clean, ready for a moisturiser before bed. Thesis face scrub and mask could be used to infuse some glow into your skin before a date night, for sure!

Thesis has kindly advised that the mask drying time depends on humidity levels that are normally lower in winter, so the mask dries out quicker. A few drops of oil could be added to the mask to remedy the situation.

Thesis face serum for dry skin and the eye serum both cost US$19.95 each, Thesis face scrub and the mask are also US$19.95 each. As mentioned before, they have other products to match your skin type, which is always a benefit.

Have you ever used any masks or scrubs in powder form? Have you tried Thesis products? Do you use any eyes to face oils?