Monday 30 January 2012

Clarisonic Mia: First Update

Right so I'm still a little undecided on the Clarisonic. Obviously for the price tag I want to love it. But I am aware of that. So I'm trying to not let that sway me. And I don't think it is actually. If anything I'm being more harsh on it.

Now I figured the point of it was to remove daily dirt and make up so it makes more sense to use it in the evenings but I like the potential for it to tighten up your facial muscles so I sometimes do a 'double shift' with it and use it again in the morning.

To give you an idea of the routine, I use a natural cleanser, Stem Organics Gentle Cleansing Milk (review to follow) for a quick pre-cleanse so as not to get the brush head too discoloured with make up. Then I squish a bit out onto the brush and I'm away. Rinse with cool water. Wash the brush clean and Tah-Dah! There's not much to it really.

I haven't suffered any breakouts, certainly nothing that I think was caused by the Clarisonic anyway, which is great. I've heard that this can be the case as your skin starts to respond but so far so good with me.

I do think I might have a little more firmness around my cheeks, in the smile line area. This is probably only noticeable to me and might be non-existent - I'm not squealing with excitement just yet. But I'm going to watch this carefully as I continue to use it and if this is indeed the case I might start a one-man parade with a sandwich board and a megaphone to declare my jubilation because that really was what I was hoping for!

I can't say I've seen outlandish improvement in the unblocking of pores around my nose and chin however, maybe a little bit but I'll persevere and monitor this.

One slight concern with using it was I was getting pesky dry patches on my forehead and nose which I never get and considering this is the oiliest bit of your face - the T zone- I did find this a little strange and obviously very much unwanted! This made me switch back to a hot cloth and coconut oil every now and then to sort this out. I thought the Clarisonic would be ace at getting rid of dead skin, like an industrial floor sanding machine but I suspect it's actually causing it. Maybe it's too abrasive?

In summary: It's not bad but it's not magic. More Paul Daniels than Paul McKenna.

I'm curious. I'm not blown away but I'm not disappointed. I will continue to subject my face to the experiment and I will report back when I have fully made my mind up on this funny little gadget.

I would love your feedback on this. If you have a Clarisonic, what are your experiences using it? Did you love it right away? Did it take time to notice a difference? Did you have any problems with it or has it been plain sailing on a sunny day?

Comment below! Thanks y'all.

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Coconut Oil - A Beauty Must Have!

You know what, every now and then I like to try a bit of homespun beauty. I don't go crazy, like mixing my own shampoo in a vat over the bath or anything but I have been known to plaster porridge on my face (oats make a great exfoliator and are very soothing for dry skin).

This latest kitchen cupboard discovery is the endlessly useful coconut oil. I'm not talking cocoa butter or shea butter. This is more like the insides of a Bounty. Without the sugar. And organic. And virgin. *Blush*

It's a great ingredient and has been included in hundreds of skincare formulas I've come across before. It's also the 'healthiest fat in the world' (cue fanfare of silver hornets and trombones) with an amazing array of health promoting properties. Google it if you're interested but as a quick overview it acts differently to other saturated fats - this one is a medium chain triglyceride which means your body metabolises it right away and doesn't store it like it does other fats. It can reduce bad cholesterol, it's great for keeping your heart healthy, it's anti-microbial, ant-viral, anti-inflammatory and it has a whole host of anti-oxident action too. Seriously it's overwhelming stuff. I'm breathless just thinking about it!

But aside from eating it (I have yet to try it on my toast but I hear it's a great cooking oil too as it's stable at high temperatures) the reason I'm loving it so much is how good it is for the skin. I feel a little silly after declaring it can have boundless good effects on your health and then following it up with, "I use it to take my eye make up off!" but it's true. I do. And there's nothing better if I may be so bold.

Quick moan: I hate taking off my eye make up. Firstly, because it generally means the removal of my entire eye - without make up I look like a little blind mole that's been dug up from the soil and dangled in bright sunlight; pallid, squinty, shy. And secondly, it's just messy, my eyes sting, go red, get sore. Its just a faff isn't it?

So using something that is quick, uber-gentle and actually good for my skin instead of leaving me with nightmares of propylene glycol molecules dancing around my bloodstream in some kind of Wizard of Oz mash-up, well, it's just perfect really. I dampen cotton wool with warm water, squidge a bit onto the pad, it quickly turns into a liquid from the heat of the pad, I apply to my eye, hold a few seconds, circle my eye a couple times and then wipe away. DONE.

After using it to remove eye make up so successfully, well, one thing led to another and what can I say,  I began using it as a full face cleanser! Bam! Right now, I have to say, it's even made me put my Clarisonic down and reach for the hot cloth method once more. Yikes. It makes my skin look so clean, so much more even and I love that! (There will be updates on my progress with Mr. Clarisonic soon)

So then I went the whole hog and began using it as a body oil, it's LUSH! I was getting a pesky little eczemary patch on my arm, Lo! And Behold! it cleared that up in a matter of days, nay, hours. It instantly relieves dry skin and it works to generally improve skin tone and elasticity. It's blooming marvellous. I don't usually go in for a body lotion or such like, mostly because it's a bit of a bore applying it but I'm loving this and it smells all tropical and exciting.

I won't go on any more. You get the picture. Buy a jar of it from your health food shop for about £4 and quench that winter skin! 

Monday 23 January 2012

Suti Core Facial

Suti Core Facial. The Ultimate Facial Treatment. Coming Soon...

This facial, by the brand that's fast becoming my all time favourite, deserves it's own tagline, Underground poster campaign and TV ads with a gravel-voiced Voiceover Man bellowing out dramatic and glamourous statements to get you all over excited and impatient, because it is quite frankly the best facial I have had. And what's more, the build up to this particular appointment was nigh on EIGHT months! That is one hefty amount of anticipation and boy did it live up to it - way beyond my expectations!

So then. What the hell am I on about... Suti, if you haven't yet heard, is the most beautiful skincare range developed in very recent years by two sisters-in-law. I have reviewed some of their gorgeous products here and have been enamoured with them ever since. In May last year I was asked if I would like to try a new facial treatment they had developed and of course, I accepted! However, work got in the way and before I knew it I was filming in Malta. I ended up being away on location for the rest of the summer. Kindly the appointment was postponed and scheduled for November on my return. After seriously doing my back in (standing for long hours and heavy make up kits don't do much for your back) I was forced to postpone again and so in December on the morning of the appointment I awoke with excitement and trepidation and... the most godawful cold. Again I was forced to forfeit and the wait was back on. Bugger.

A month on, stupid cold still very much with me (seriously??! What is up with my immune system right now??) and the big day finally came! I half expected locusts to fall from the sky... thankfully no hitches this time!

This treatment, performed by the lovely Suzannah Jenkins, is way beyond a facial. Incorporating all the products in the range it includes deep cleansing, exfoliating and several nourishing and purifying masks. Every product in the Suti range is beautiful and each one really gets to shine here. The Purity Face Balm is gorgeous, the Peppermint water is so reviving, the Organic Cleanser is already a favourite, as is the Rejuvenate Face Oil - I'm completely hooked on this. But why let your face have all the fun?! Whilst the various masks are performing their magic, legs and feet, arms and hands, chest and head are all treated to a massage too, using the appropriate oils and balms to match, like the Fabulous Foot Balm. Heavenly.

All the sensations from hot cloths, to cool pads, firm massage and light spritzes, are delivered with reassuring precision and keep your skin comfortable and calm, letting you really relax into the experience. There's no harsh scrubbing, no serious pummelling where you actually begin to gag. And definitely no irritation or risk of over-sensitised skin here. 

But what is the really unique thing about this facial treatment is the use of crystals. Don't freak...

On lying down on the couch I was given two Reiki crystals to hold. This is a nice, friendly, grounding technique, allowing you to close your eyes, lie back and centre your mind. Various crystals are also used during the massage, which helps, in crystal theory, to send positive vibrations to you. Now this may not excite you or even interest you, but what might is how this actually feels.

Through every stage of the facial, different crystals were used to draw patterns down the face and neck, tracing the channels of lymphatic drainage and adding another, very welcome aspect to this sensory experience. That and the steamer which gently blows steam towards your face whilst another bit of you is being tended to - just lovely. (I love steam. I could live in a steam room, if it wasn't for the fat hairy men that already live there.)

Feeling a little heady and thoroughly floppy, in a good way, I took a peek in the mirror getting changed and I was impressed to say the least, glowing, happy skin. Later that day I was fascinated by the glow. I couldn't stop inspecting my face!

Feeling good and very happy with the results, I went to meet to friends for drinks. The next day, my cold had developed into a curious throat afflication, like a little bird's nest had been built over night and then caught fire; scratchy, sore, lumpy. I felt like crap. Plus I was hungover from some kind of japanese mojito overindulgence. I'm not telling you this to be gauche (!) my point is when I dragged myself from my bed to the shower and looked in the mirror I was actually shocked at how good my skin still looked! It was even better than the day before, even smoother, more even, tighter, plumper! And with my catalogue of complaints to boot! Serious magic was at work. I loved it! 

There's something very special about a facial, that no amount of self-admininstered facial massaging can seem to achieve. And with the combination of pure products and expert technique, this one is a real gem you ought to try. (There is also something very special about a facial that not even a stinking cold and a hangover can ruin! Incredible)

It costs £65 for the 90 minute treatment, which I think it the most amazing value for money. I would generally expect to pay a pound a minute as a rough idea, which makes this great value already. Factor in the results and you've got one exceptional treatment. GO GET ONE!

Suzannah is currently training therapists in the Suti Core Facial. If you live in the vicinity of East Sheen there are a few places you can go for it, see their website for more details.

There is also a program of events taking place with Wholefoods Market across London which is very exciting and I will update you on this as and when I get the details. 

Also of note: The Suti Core Facial received a blog award from Beauty Mouth - Best Facial of 2011 and you can read about that here.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Antipodes Divine Face Oil

I was asked if I could recommend a facial oil on Twitter today. And obviously I was very happy to oblige! But this made me realise how I get asked a lot of questions about facial oils. Probably because I rant about them to anyone who will listen. After discovering how good facial oils were I more or less ditched every other moisturiser I was using and subsequently told almost every person I met who may have merely hinted (probably with regret) at their vague interest at what I might be using on my skin.

So.... Oh yes, I have been happily using facial oils for about 8 or 9 months now. The Antipodes Divine Face Oil has been my current love. It's a beautiful blend of avocado, macadamia, jojoba and rosehip oils in that order and if you've been paying attention even slightly you will already know how good all these plant oils are for your skin. If not, quick recap:

Avocado oil is rich in chlorophyll which, along with lutein, is what gives it that gorgeous green colour. Chlorophyll and lutein are a potent antioxidants and these help support skin cell function, eliminating toxins and free radicals roaming around your body, willy-nilly. Or something like that. And, let me say that again, and avocado oil has been credited with stimulating collagen production by up to 51%. Good grief. That's actual 'charts and graphs' proof for you right there.

In fact all these oils deliver powerful and naturally balanced essential fatty acids into the skin. These act to promote skin healing, reduce inflammation and sun-damage, deliver moisture deep into the dermal layers, keep skin hydrated and retain its elasticity. You couldn't ask for more.

I feel like quoting Jimmy Nail at this point, "Ain't no doubt it's plain to see...." *insert own lyrics now*  "...a facial oil like that is..." *original lyrics* "good for me!" Please note: Geordie accent is optional of course. That's enough of that.

The Divine Face Oil smells just that, divine, it's a light subtle fragrance of ylang ylang, jasmine and sweet orange. It absorbs quickly, giving you time to massage it in but without leaving you time to sit there and notice how you really need to dust your dressing table more often. And it can be used morning and night. And I do. Both.

It's simple, it's very effective. I never feel like I've missed a step of my skincare routine. My skin feels comfortable and moisturised without feeling sticky or greasy in any way. Plus it lasts all day. It seems to be giving my skin exactly what it needs. And I thoroughly recommend that!

It's also very reasonable in price too (at least it is when you are used to paying well over twenty-smackeroons for facial products...) at £18.99 and I can tell you I have been using mine for a good three months now and I'm still going with this bottle so it's fair value for money.

So there you go. Listen to Jimmy!

Antipodes Divine Light Facial Oil is £18.99 for 25ml
I bought mine from Naturisimo I believe...

Thursday 5 January 2012

The Clarisonic Mia: Oh go on then...

The Clarisonic has been paraded all over blogs and the internet for many months now and as much as I was sceptical about it's skin-changing prowess I was intrigued...

Just before Christmas my sister got one and after she raved about it and I started to pay close attention to what it claims to do, I was hooked on the idea. "What a great way to start the New Year," I lied to myself... "But why not give it a go, you know, for the good of the blog... " So I am!

If you live in a hole and haven't heard, the Clarisonic is a facial cleansing brush that uses sonic technology to deliver a more thorough cleanse to the face, removing more dirt and make up than a 'manual' cleanse. This helps decongest pores and keeps skin exfoliated which allows for products to penetrate the skin more readily and therefore, work more efficiently. AND (this is my favourite bit) the sonic waves help to improve overall skin tone, promoting a more even and glowing complexion.

If it does do these things, it will certainly have earned that £120 price tag, which after you've picked yourself up off the floor, will still feel expensive. But my thinking is this: it's your face. YOUR FACE! If it works it's worth every penny right? For all the money and time we all spend fiddling around with things that make no discernible difference, to have a product that not only helps all those products work more effectively but in itself will tighten up those jabbly jowls, well, then I will personally track down its inventor and take him to Afternoon Tea. Yes Sir!

And... if it doesn't it will be consigned to the 'messy drawer' of my dressing table never to fulfil it's face-shaping destiny. Stay tuned for regular thoughts and updates on how it's changing my life (for better or worse...)

Let the trials begin!

I bought the Clarisonic Mia in Lavender from SpaceNK for £120.

Monday 2 January 2012

Like a Dog with a Bone! Thanks Folks.

Hello All.

I didn't want to do a 'Happy New Year' post. Or even a 'Merry Christmas Post'.
Obviously, I hope every one of you has had a very festive Yule (loving this phrase) and will have the best year ahead on record ever, truly I do. But to be frank, I am fed up of reading about The New Year.

If one more person asks me "What's your hopes and dreams for 2012?" I'm going to stuff my ears with the dead Christmas tree branches and close my eyes until February. And it's only the 2nd... doesn't bode well...

However. I don't want to be a party-pooper (and if you were with me on New Year's Eve you will know that I owned that dance floor like the bailiffs were coming to rip it out from beneath me...)
So I have caved. It would be rude not to mark this new year with a post dedicated to this... A big gushy "oh you GUYS!!" kind of thank you.

Louis is Me and the Bone represents the blog. Obviously.

I started this blog in early 2011 to give me a way of avoiding watching This Morning everyday of the week; a bit of focus and direction in what I like to refer to as The Dark Days, where I mope about the house between make up jobs. Don't get me wrong - I do love Holly and Philip, it's just like when you have ice cream everyday, it kind of makes you sick right? Right. Anyway, it was only my second year in the film industry and it was a long time between significant jobs.

As I seemed to spout on about natural skincare to anyone who might be passing by, I thought I better get a handle on it before I got sectioned for talking to too many strangers on the bus. And so, inspired by reading other blogs, I decided I could do it too!

I haven't been the most prolific, I admit that, as finally The Dark Days turned into The Actual Paying Job Days (hoorah!) but I have loved writing this blog and no matter how busy or distracted I have been, it has always remained one of my only passions.

So a massive "thank you" for stopping by to read this, whether it only be the once because of a random tweet you read or whether you follow all the time. Without you it barely seems worth it so... you know, ta very much.

So... gulp,  "Here's to a great year ahead..."

Love and Kisses.

I PROMISE there are a whole host of posts coming right at you in the very immediate future!