TAHIRA'S TOP THREE: SUPER SUMMER SKIN

As the temperature rises, my tolerance for the feeling of makeup on my face decreases. My solution: get good skin, wear less makeup. I always am good about taking care of my skin, but without a thin blanket of makeup to cover me up, here are some solutions for great summer skin.

We all have to stay safe in the sun, so always ensure you have some sunscreen on, either as a stand alone product or part of your moisturiser. Do allow yourself some occasional ‘unprotected’ sun on your face without any SPF, preferably early or late in the day.

I always say that if you have to choose between spending your cash on makeup and spending it on skincare, choose skincare. You can go makeup free with more confidence and get out the door quicker. The key to radiant skin is to exfoliate deeply to encourage cell renewal and moisturise at a deep level. Here are my Top Three Exfoliants and Hydrators for Super Summer Skin.

 1. Flux Botanicals: I have just discovered this small brand that has a very simple system: 2 products have your skin cleansing and treating routine sorted. The HG oil can both cleanse and then moisturise and the GG Granules can act as an exfoliating and purifying mask. The GG grains contain various types of clay and fruit extract serve to deeply exfoliate the skin, while the HG Oil is a blend of 11 oils, that nourish and protect while hydrating and soothing.

2. Evolve Hyaluronic Acid Mist and Serum: Its all about the HA at the moment, and rightly so. This little molecule can hold up to several times its weight in water and helps plump the skin. Doubling up by using the mist and the serum together you are basically giving your skin a massive drink of water.

3. Supermood Peel: I am in love with this peel but working it is STRONG. Really not suitable for sensitive skin, and only leave on for 1 or 2 minutes. but this reboots your skin and leaves it plump and soft. Definitely use at night and wake up with fresh glowing skin.

Bonus. (because it’s not Tahira’s Top 4 is it?) Follow the peel a cooling mask. Try Aveda Hydration mask that is mainly composed of Aloe Vera.

DECLEOR'S HYDRATING SKIN SAVIOURS

Decléor Paris, the cosmetics brand has been around for over 40 years and is an innovator in aromatherapy skincare. They specially blend premium Essential Oils together to target different skin's needs, and believe beauty and wellbeing are intrinsically linked (which is something I believe too!). 

I first discover Decléor via my mother-in-law Penny, she has amazing skin and good knowledge of beauty brands, she gave me some of their products one Christmas and I loved them straight away.

Penny is also a fan of QVC and the amazing deals you can get on there - sometimes she buys the most random things (like a scarf with a neck support inside it for sleeping while standing?!) but more often buys cosmetics and Decléor products on there.

Over the years I have tried quite a few Decléor products and last year I also went for a 'Pilates facial' which was incredible - I've never had a facial like it, my face actually lifted!  I am a long term fan of the Eau micellaire cleanser which I use to remove my eye makeup and lipstick - it is designed for sensitive skin and is fragrance free so is really gentle.

I have also recently been trying the Decléor Hydra Floral White Petal SPF50 Protective CC Cream which I LOVE. It is a tinted colour correction cream, that refines skin texture and evens complexion. It also contains SPF50 - so it is perfect for summer when you don't want to wear foundation but want a light subtle coverage. Plus being multi purpose it saves time - something I am always looking to do.

The CC Cream has been exclusively created for QVC viewers and will be available to buy as part of a deal on the June 21st for 24 hours (I have told Penny). It comes with Supersize Hand cream 100ml, Micellar Water 200ml, Lip Balm and the Hydratenseur eye cream.

Decleor 5 Piece Hydrating Skin Saviours Collection QVC £44.98.

This post was kindly sponsored by Decléor which is a brand I (and Penny) are genuine fans of. 

BRAND: GINGER STONE

I love discovering and trying out new beauty and cosmetics brands and hearing how and why they started especially in their early days. A lot of beauty brands claim to be natural and pure but when they are so massed produced it is sometimes hard to believe those claims.

Ginger Stone was born from a desire to create natural, organic products that are suitable for sensitive skin. It is an micro-artisan skincare business based in Dorset, England and I have never used products that feel so natural.

I have tried a few Ginger Stone products and have loved them - the cleansing oil is amazing and feels so nourishing. My other favourite is the moisturiser which again made my skin feel so soft and smooth, I really loved it and hadn't tried anything like it before.

 

NAME OF BRAND/COMPANY: Ginger Stone

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: November 2016

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: Elly Layfield

WHY WAS IT CREATED: Ginger Stone has been a long held dream of mine. The reasons behind this are very personal to me. I have had the great honour of having two very important people in my life, my very dear friend Bec and my Mum. Both underwent treatment for breast cancer and until I shared some of their journey with them I was not aware of the risk they would face in using everyday skincare products. Also my daughter has eczema and I began by experimenting with a moisturising cream made from natural butters and oils because I found off the shelf products to be ineffective.

The first time I became aware of the risk with the use of essential oils in skincare was when a group of friends, including Bec, went on a spa day to help her escape the treatment and all that went with it, to feel pampered and spoilt. It wasn't until we went together for our super luxurious massage that we learned that the beauty therapist could not use the oils that smelt so heavenly as they were not allowed to use essential oils on Bec due to the treatment she was going through. This moment came as a bit of a shock to us although we didn't allow it to spoil our day

Tragically Bec lost her battle with cancer in her early thirties.  It wasn't until later when my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer that the fragranced skincare issue came up again. I had bought my mum some luxury creams to help her pamper herself whilst going through treatment, in the hope they would help her feel a bit better in difficult times. During a phone call home she explained she was very sorry but she wasn't allowed to use the creams. Her consultant had explained it wasn't safe and sent her home with a prescription of E45, not quite the luxury, pampering skincare experience I had hoped for!

These experiences got me thinking and talking to friends: what can you use if you are someone with sensitive skin or undergoing some kind of treatment?  What if you have allergies but still want to have luxurious products for your skin? The answer, I found, was there didn't seem to be a huge range of choice out there. Having started out with a homemade cream for my daughter’s eczema, coupled with my Mum and Bec’s experience, this led me to want to learn more about natural skincare products and the idea go Ginger Stone was born.  I undertook formal study with Formula Botanica, an award winning school of organic cosmetic science and gained a Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation and I continue to study with them, currently studying for my Advanced Diploma in Organic Cosmetic Science. In November 2016 after a great deal of research, study and trials, Ginger Stone was launched.

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: Many people are seeking a cleaner lifestyle and looking for alternative ways to care for their skin as part of this. As part of this, chemical and toxin free skincare products are becoming increasingly popular. Ginger Stone creates luxurious, fragrance free, skincare products. We want people with the most sensitive of skins to be able to use products that leave them feeling pampered and spoilt every time they use them. All our products are made from natural, botanical ingredients and they are handmade in small batches to ensure that the precious nutrients are preserved and protected.  When applied, skin feels rejuvenated and nourished. We only make 100% natural products so of course no nasties are allowed. We don’t use fillers, we are totally chemical free and no artificial anythings are allowed in. We don’t test on animals, only willing family and friends. 

All our ingredients are hand picked by us to ensure the highest of standards. Not all natural skincare ingredients are the same and it is important to us that we can trace the origin of our ingredients.

Our organic shea butter, found in our #4 Body Balm,  is one of the superstars in natural skincare and has been used for centuries to moisturise and soften skin.  This butter is rumoured to have been used by Ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti.  Shea butter is packed with Vitamin A which is known to improve a number of skin conditions including eczema, dermatitis, stretch marks, skin allergies and acne. A study by Akihisa et al 2010 found that Shea butter had anti-inflammatory properties.  Shea also aids skins natural collagen production and contains Oleic, Stearic, Palmitic and Linolenic acids.  These prevent dehydration and nourish your skin, helping strengthen and reduce wrinkles.

Our red raspberry seed and camellia oils are amongst my favourite oils, not only do the conjure up images of beautiful sunny days red raspberry seed oil is a lipid barrier providing protection and moisture retention for the skin. It has a high content of alpha linolenic acid (the highest in any fruit seed oil) and phytosterols therefore helpful for eczema and psoriasis and camellia oil has been renowned for anti-ageing properties since the dawn of time. It has been used in Japan for centuries to moisturise and condition the skin, hair and nails.

Camellia oil is rich in Oleic acid and a rich source of Omega 3, 6, 9, Polyphenols. Camellia oil contains vitamins A, B and E as well as phosphorus, calcium, iron, manganese and magnesium. The green tea extract, found in our #3 Daily Moisturiser, is naturally rich in antioxidants, it has a cell-protecting function and a strong antioxidant effect that protects the skin from the damaging effect of free radicals.

Green tea extract also contains Methylxanthines that stimulates skin microcirculation and therefore positively influence the tone and health of your skin. I love the idea of using tea in skincare products and will definitely be something you see more of in the future. 

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU:  I started the brand with only a small range of products (although I am currently developing a couple of new ranges to be launched soon!) and I use them all regularly. Personally I would recommend a trio, #1 Cleansing Oil #3 Daily Moisturiser and #2 Night Rejuvenation Face Serum. I use this trio everyday, the cleansing oil helps to lift the dirt and makeup off my face whilst exfoliating with the muslin cloth, moisturising in the morning leaves my skin feeling rejuvenated and ready to face another day, I hate the tight skin feeling you have when you forget to moisturise on a morning!  I apply the face serum just before bed, because it is made from oils that have a slightly slower penetration rate. I know that as I sleep these are working hard to moisturise, plump and regenerate my skin and work to erase the challenges my skin has been put through during the day.

For ease of use, the#4 Moisturising Body Balm for Extra Sensitive Skin.  The stick applicator is so convenient, balms can be difficult to apply from a jar or tub. As they don’t contain water like other body creams they are firmer in texture, the stick allows you to directly apply the balm to you skin - my 7 year old daughter loves using it! 

We are very keen to learn about our customers experiences with our products. Products can be bought via our website at www.gingerstone.co.uk and we love to get feedback from our and to learn more about their skincare journey. There is also a blog which tells more about our story so far and offers hints and tips about skin care using natural ingredients.  We are active on FaceBook and Instagram and you can follow us @gingerstone.skincare

TAHIRA'S TOP THREE: HAIR OILS

I have Dry Hair. In fact, I have dry everything, but I digress….I have been dying my hair for a few years now, so the ends get dry, but the roots are fine. That, combined with my natural wave and london water, my hair can go frizzy and ratty-looking fairly easily. I also very rarely DO my hair, often opting for leaving my wavy hair in my Boucleme Organic Cotton for a bit, putting in some serum and then letting my hair dry naturally.

I like oils that can be used on towel dried hair, that I then leave in as a treatment. I am very wary of most Serums on the market, as they contain a lot of silicone which only coats the hair, making it appear softer for a while, and then drying it out in the long run.  Here are my top three Hair Serum Treatments right now.

  1. Alchemy Oil Grapefruit Hair Remedy : I love the fresh scent of this oil I have tried it only once the intended way, which is to leave it overnight as a mask. I have used it often on wet, damp or dry hair to reduce frizz. A little goes a long way for styling, but I love the Ritual aspect that Alchemy Oils Promote, to take time for some self care. This blend is intended to thicken and strengthen hair, perfect for New Mums experiencing hair loss 3 months Post Partum.

  2. Evolve Nourishing Hair Elixir : This Light Oil-Serum absorbs quickly without leaving hair greasy or heavy. I would not recommend it for very fine hair, but it really softens frizz. I have used it on damp hair that I then air-dry as well as a finishing “Gloss” on my dry hair. Really keep this away from the roots tough, as I think it is too rich and may “weigh down” the Hair.

  3. Tabitha James Kraan 4 in 1 Conditioner : I mean seriously, this product does EVERYTHING but the dishes. It can be used as a Rinse-Out or Leave-in Conditionner,  and it can be used on Damp Hair as a Styling Aid or as a Finishing AND it can be used as a dry scalp treatment! I have tried the Citrus scent which is lovely, but it also comes in Amber Rose and in a travel size perfect for your hand bag on particularly frizz inducing days! I prefer it as a styling product than a rinse out conditionner, but that is because of the texture of my hair.

TAHIRA'S TOP THREE: LOVER'S LIPS

Next week is Valentine’s day. Yes, I know it can be a high pressure, saccharine day/weekend and if you are a mum, it may likely just be another day, with one more thing to think about. But if you do feel like making a special day or night of it, even just for yourself, go on, get yourself a sassy Lippy! Here are my top three Valentine Velvets for some Va Va Voom!

1. Matte Lipstick:  Absolution Cosmetics  I am IN LOVE with the Sweet + Safe Kiss range of Lipsticks from Absolution. My Favourites are No1 Bordeaux a dark sultry Deep Purple Red and No. 19 Rose Franc A Perfect Pink, with a good balance of blue.  This organic brand come in at a higher price point (about £24) but the payoff in colour and longevity are worth it I think.

Urban Decay Comfort Matte in Afterdark + Bittersweet are Creamy Matte formulations, at a reasonable £15.50

2. Lip Crayon: Burts bees have just come out with a range of Lipsticks which you can look at here but for a velvet finish The Matte Crayon is the best, and the colour lasts too. I love Napa Vineyard for a bright, true red and Redwood Forest for a more Brick Tone. Retailing for about £9, this is a great option in convenient packaging.

NARS Velvet Matte Lip is a classic lasting pencil (It’s in the name!) Try Infatuated Red for a classy dark tone, or 413 BLKR for a Bright Fuschia Pink. Or try Nudestix lip + Cheek Matte crayons in Stiletto or Raven from space NK, for about 24£ they serve as Lip and cheek colour in VERY convenient containers.

3. Matte Liquid lipsticks: Cruelty Free Brand Sleek Makeup have the Matte Me range, and are a bargain at about £5 each. I like Shabby Chic for a perfect Neutral Pink, or Vino Tinto for a really beautiful deep sexy burgundy.

Finally, my personal favourite is Hourglass Liquid Lipstick in Icon, but I also love Ballet, again, about £24, but they last long and a little goes a long way.

DLAM PRODUCT OF THE WEEK

This is the best eye makeup remover I've ever used because it removes makeup but is really gentle. It gets recommend a lot in the press and by beauty professionals but it deserves the good press.

Bioderma is a French brand and you used to only be able to buy it in France but now they sell it in Boots too. 

Bioderma Sensibio H2O 250ml £10.50

TAHIRA'S TOP THREE: RECOVERY TREATMENTS FOR JANUARY

Tahira’s Top Three Recovery Treatments for January:

Happy New Year! January is a wonderful time for rest and renewal, hibernation and taking a bit of care of yourself.  If you have enjoyed the excesses and/or the outdoors in December, now is a good time to indulge in some deeper skin care, sor here are my top three Treatments for January.

1. Restorative Masks: I love the Dr Hauschka Rejuvinating Mask, for its lovely scent gentle feel, I always feel refreshed after this mask.  The Anne Semonin Gel Mask is a bit more of an investment, but feels absolutely fabulous on. Its soothing and refreshing and skin really feels plump afterwards, a little goes a long way and the packaging ensures longevity of the product. I also really love the Nügg Beauty Revitalising Mask I got in my last Little Known Box, it really tingles and I was not too sure after the first use, but after the second try my skin felt and looked softer and plumper, and the peppermint oil definitely improves circulation. ( my only thing is I find the packaging a bit wasteful for home use but great on the road or as little gifts)

2. Balm Masks: This is the time for some heavy hitters in the moisturising department. I like using the Emma Hardie Moringa Balm really thinly applied all over my face and leaving it on for 15 minutes as a mask before removing. I also like using Weleda Skinfood as a moisture mask. I warm the cream up in my palms, and then press it on my face after cleansing as a night cream. I also get some dry patches on my face and use the Evolve Lip Balm to soothe and hydrate.

3. Oils + Serums Combo: I Love mixing an Oil and serum for a super charged skin boost, especially at night. Try the Evolve Beauty Miracle Oil, and their Hyaluronic Serum has had amazing reviews. My favourite is the Sukin Chia Seed Oil +  Supergreen Serum which work really well together for a plumping, hydrating effect.

DLAM BEAUTY PRODUCT OF THE WEEK

This week I would like to recommend my Wet Brush Hairbrush. I have had and tried many hairbrushes in my life but this one is by far the best one.

Because I have highlighted hair, which is fine but thick and because I am prone to messy hair I have always found hairbrushes to rip and hurt a bit when I used them, but this one doesn't do that at all. I also use this on my kids hair - my daughter has curly hair that gets very tangled and it works well on that too.

DLAM PRODUCT OF THE WEEK

This week's Beauty Product of the Week is Evolve Organic Beauty's Hyaluronic Serum.

I love Evolve Beauty - I came across them at an organic beauty event last year where they were kind enough to give me a few samples. I used all of these up pretty fast and have gone on to order more (they also make great gifts).

Evolve's products are all natural and organic and really feel pure and like they are actaully doing something. The things i've tried so far have been the face oil and moisturizers both of which I love.

TAHIRA'S TOP THREE: GLITTER

Well, ‘Tis the season to sparkle, and I am sure you Mums are as busy as I am, so I am going to make this quick!

If you want a fast way to brighten up your look right before all those Holiday Parties, just add Glitter! Here are my Top Three picks to get SPARKLING (Without Getting Glitter EVERYWHERE! )

  1. Glitter Lips: I wore this delightful product to TWO Xmas parties this week at it was such a hit! The little kits consist of a base coat applied like a gloss (essentially it's a glue, I’m not gonna lie) and then use the applicator to carefully press the glitter into place. It REALLY stays on! The glitter is best applied thin, and DOES NOT TRANSFER. My glittery Pout did last better when I was just having drinks, but did do well through mealtimes. It is available Online and at Superdrug for £12.50 (You can check out @tahiramakeupuk to see the results)

  2. Little Ondine: Manicures Are a great way to get your glitter going without getting it everywhere. I LOVED my Little Ondine Manicure I got at an event last week. Their Water-based non toxic nail polish dries quickly with no odor, and gently peels off when you are ready to change colour. They have a range of glittery colours and can be found online for 11£ for a single colour, or save by getting their discovery kits which include a few shades starting at £25. Better yet, jazz up a plain shade with a glittery topcoat with their FABULOUS Twin Sets, £13 for 2 minis in one set. Perfect!

  3. Eyeliner: Glitter eyeliner is a great way to get those sparkles around your eyes. Use them either as a liner or spread them using a brush or a cotton bud, either all over the lid or just on the inside corners for a modern glam look. Classic Urban Decay Heavy Metals comes in a range of fun colours, but you can also get great glitter liners like  NYX Liquid Crystal

TAHIRA'S TOP THREE LATTE LIPS

With the Happy return of the Nineties, comes the happy return of the Brown Lip, so from Coffee To Nude.  If you feel a light shade is too pale, but still want a nude lip, opt for a shade 1 step darker than your skintone and with a bit of pink or peach to it to liven things up. For a really modern look, go for Matte Neutrals with a grey undertone.

Here are my Top Three ways to Rock the Brown Lip Trend:  

1. Gloss: I love a Glossy nude lip in the daytime, takes me back! Ilia’s The Butterfly & I  is a rich Neutral Apricot tone, Cosmetics a la Carte City Lips is a perfect Nude Pink and Neals Yard Nude Lip Gloss is actually a deep Tan colour.

2. Bullet Lipstick: If you prefer a Proper Lipstick, I LOVE Dr Hauschka Novum 04 IT is a gentle neutral shimmer that looks good on EVERYONE. For a creamier texture, try Hourglass Femme Nude Lip Stylo Which offers a range of Neutral Nudes for all complexions , and NYX Full Throttle Lipstick in Kiss the Dust is a richer Coffee Tone.

3. Liquid Lipstick: I Personally love a liquid lipstick, it goes on like a gloss ( so you can use the wand for precise application)  but dries to a lasting Matte Finish. I like Sleek Matte Me in Birthday Suit (good Name), and am a big fan of Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lips in Canvas, and Liquid Lip Originators OCC’s Nude Interlace is a lovely Peachy nude.

BRAND: NINNI

NINNI is a personalised skin care brand, where the products are based on natural ingredients and formulated to suit the individual.

I have been using NINNI for a few weeks now and I love it - it is simple, smells good and really feels like it does what it sets out too. I like that the products are natural, that I know exactly what is in them, that they are tailored for me and that they smell so good.

Here is some more info on the brand, how it began and what is coming...

NAME OF BRAND: NINNI

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: October 2014 (first products available in October 2015)

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: Katarina Stetz

WHY WAS IT CREATED: It was the end of my maternity leave and I was quite down because I’ve just failed my interview for “the dream job” (or so I thought). I was watching daytime TV and saw an ad for personalised snack boxes. This sparked an idea. What if you offer personalised skin care? What if I share my passion for skin care science with other women and empower them to choose what they want in their skin care, rather than having a big corporation decide for them. And so NINNI was born.

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: We base all our products on natural ingredients, because these are better for the skin and better for the planet. It’s a win-win. Also we want to decode the science of skin care and enable women understand what goes in beauty products and to select the ingredients/ formulations that suits them. I’m a chemical engineer and I love sharing my knowledge about the ingredients, how formulations are structured and how products are created. We are a start-up and constantly growing. Our first moisturisers are available now and more selections are coming in early 2017.

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: Our moisturisers – you can either go for our formulation “My Day” this is a formulation that is designed for women living in big cities. It has a light texture that works well under make-up and packed with antioxidants. (Antioxidants protects your skin from pollution). My Night is a rich formulation containing hyaluronic acid, peptides and vitamin A, to hydrate and rejuvenate tired skin. Also you can choose your scent; either soothing lavender & chamomile, uplifting /lemon/rosemary or unscented.

FALL FASHION FORWARD: TAHIRA'S TOP THREE AUTUMN TRENDS TO TRY

Fall Fashion Forward: Tahira’s Top Three Autumn Trends to Try:

So while you get your chunky knits out, grab your deep plum lipsticks and head out into the crisp air. Here are my Top TThree Fall Trends for you to try:

Plum Lips: Nights have gotten chillier and so have our lips. This season heralds yet another return of the Goth vamp Lip so give it a go with colours like Absolution Cosmetics in Bordeaux, or i have always been a fan of MAC Nightmoth ( a dark cold purple) liner on its own, with a bit of clear gloss ( see below), or Pair it with Sleek Makeup VIP lipstick in Elite or try Vegan Liquid lipstick by LUSH in Confident.

Glitter: It’s not just for festivals any more my loves! A little hint of glitter, well placed can liven up an evening look or make your day look edgy. In the day, just try a bit on the outside cerner of your eye or as eyeliner, with an otherwise bare face and maybe pair with a Boyish look for your wardrobe. For evening, try using glitter all over your eyelids for a touch of drama when you blink! Try Beauty Boulevard , JT Makeup Studio or check out this Biodegradable Glitter from Glitterlution.

Get Gloss: Moving beyond Our ‘90s throw back to Neutrals, we are now headed straight back into our pots of slick gloss, for lips, eyes and everywhere else really! Bring back the classic 90’s early 2000’s lip with iconic Lip Glass by MAC, or NYX Mega Lip Shine. For an easy but comfortably wearable eyelid sheen try warming some Weleda Skin Food ( a mummy must have for life in general, think of it as the gaffa tape of beauty products) and dabbing into the crease and on the browbone (avoid the lash line unless you want panda eyes)

BRAND: SKIN & TONIC

Skin & Tonic are a London based organic, sustainable, ethical and honest skin care brand.

None of their products contain more than 7 carefully selected ingredients - because they believe less is more. Each product is crafted in small batches by the Skin & Tonic team and the brand supports small, local producers in the UK and France.

I have tried a few of the amazing Skin & Tonic products - my favourites are the Brit Beauty Oil which is like a super oil, hydrating and wrinkle smoothing. I also love the Rose Mist which smells amazing and helps to wake up my face.

I am a big fan of Skin & Tonic, I love what they do and they do it very well. I'm happy I found them! Here is some more information about the brand and how and why it all started:

 

NAME OF BRAND/COMPANY: Skin & Tonic

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: September 2014

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: Sarah Hancock and Joshua Wade

WHY WAS IT CREATED: In 2009, after being diagnosed with a severe case of endometriosis, I was explicitly told that my chances of having children were next to zero. So, I decided to completely overhaul my lifestyle: I walked away from a high-pressure career in TV; I quit smoking and drinking; I transformed my diet and I started practicing yoga.

One day, I read a report by the European Environment Agency about the effect endocrine disrupting chemicals in cosmetics were having on our bodies and the environment: I was shocked at how many synthetic chemicals my body was absorbing on a daily basis from my precious big brand products! I immediately switched to totally (certified) organic skincare and gradually started formulating my own products, whilst training in skincare formulation and aromatherapy. By making these changes, my overall health improved but I was also able to empower myself in the face of illness. Endometriosis, like all chronic diseases, can be super painful and exhausting. Paradoxically, though, we would never have launched Skin & Tonic without it…

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: Skin & Tonic is a minimal organic skincare brand. We make award winning, certified organic products that are handcrafted in small batches in Hackney, East London. We use no more than 7 carefully sourced plant-based ingredients because we strongly believe that less really is more when it comes to your skin. We don’t use wasteful secondary packaging, our products are unisex and multifunctional and our labeling is honest, informative and fun. Skin & Tonic is based on a simple mantra: People, Planet and THEN Profit. Our products are cruelty free and fully certified organic by the Soil Association. We work (wherever possible) with local producers, we donate 10% of profits to Charity Water and we offset our carbon footprint by planting trees in the Suffolk countryside.

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: Our new limited edition Summer Festival Kit! We’ve curated a selection of eco-friendly festival necessities; perfect for any discerning, eco-conscious festival goer. The Kit features deluxe versions of our festival beauty essentials: a Rose Mist to keep you fresh and floral and to tone and hydrate your skin; a Naked Lip Balm to keep your lips silky smooth; and one of our multifunctional Calm Balms (rub onto your wrists and temples when you eventually go to bed - the blend of lavender, chamomile and calendula will help you drift off to sleep - or you can also apply it to dry skin patches). We’ve also included a pair of exclusive, limited edition Skin & Tonic LoveSpecs, an eco- friendly bamboo toothbrush, and some bespoke Skin & Tonic biodegradable glitter, all of which comes in a super cool Fair Trade Skin & Tonic canvas wash bag. (Top Tip: Calm Balms are ideal for applying face glitter!)

TAHIRA'S TOP THREE: BACK TO SCHOOL

Well, You made it. It’s the end of summer and the kids are starting (sniff) or going back (sigh of relief) to school. You probably have loads to think about, so to make your beauty routine a non-issue, here are my top three back to school beauty tips:

  1. Hold Your Tan: Hang on to summer as long as possible! After sun exposure, it is important to gently exfoliate and moisturise. Getting rid of the top layer of dry skin will allow moisturiser to penetrate properly, which will actually make your tan last longer. For both face and body you can just exfoliate using a wash cloth or muslin or use gentle sugar scrubs like Laughing Bird or make your own using Sugar/Salt, lemon juice and oil (olive/almond/coconut). For your face try Skin & Tonic London Gentle Scrub. To hydrate you can see my post here. On your face, rub a cream bronzer onto your cheekbones for a lasting glow. Try Daniel Sandler Watercolour Creme Bronze.    
  2. Try Something New: I Love Zoe’s philosophy of encouraging women to step out of the box they are normally in. I agree, this is a great time to try a new colour or style: Give AW16/17 Modern Gothic look a whirl with blackberry lips or dark eyeshadow. Try Neal’s Yard Blackberry or Sleek’s Matte Me Vino Tinto Lips and Sleek Vintage Romance Palette or Lily Lolo Smoke and Mirrors Palette ( I love this and use it loads). 
  3. Cut Your Hair: Yup, those ends are dead my friend. They need a cut, and you know it! Get a trim, a cut, a new style, a new shape, a new colour even, but end of summer locks are probably a bit dry and need to go. Your hair growth over the summer will most likely have been faster than normal so now is a good time to get a style cut back in, before you switch to your fall wardrobe. You can also do extra conditioning masks and treatments like the ones I describe here. And If you colour your hair: Blondes: try darkening a shade to neutral with lowlights, or brunettes: throw in some cinnamon streaks around your face, or Bleach it and go Mermaid!

Now, back to class kids!

@tahiramakeupuk

OUTSMARTING THE CITY + PREVAGE® City Smart

I was born and live in London - for many reasons I think it is an amazing place to live but there are a few downsides - one major one being pollution. London is one of the most polluted cities in the world and pollution is bad for everything and everyone.

One of the best ways to reduce air pollution and also get the best out of the city is by walking or riding a bicycle. Sounds Simple, but I am a big fan of walking places, not only it is good for you and the environment but you are in control of how long it takes, no waiting for buses, traffic or train delays.

To make my walking commutes even more pleasurable, I always download a few Podcasts, if you get one you enjoy they are brilliant and perfect to listen to while travelling around town. 

My top 5 Podcast recommendations are: 

  1. Startup - Following the journey of starting a business
  2. Scummy Mummies - A very funny, fun show with the Scummy Mummies talking to guests (including me!) 
  3. The PanDolly Podcast - A chat show about fashion and popular culture by Pandora Sykes
  4. Reply All - A podcast about the internet and it's madness
  5. Serial - Gripping investigative journalism series (very addictive)

Spending time and walking around outside (especially in a city) is damaging to your skin (80% of all signs of skin ageing are due to environmental aggressors such as UV rays, pollution and smoke). Sun exposure is well known to be a major cause of visible skin ageing and now recent studies reveal that air pollutants are equally damaging. 

After conducting extensive research into the effect air pollution (often called ambient particulate matter) and UV rays has on our skin, Elizabeth Arden have recently launched the first of its kind product to protect against it - PREVAGE® City Smart Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Hydrating Shield. 

PREVAGE® City Smart is basically a skin shield that not only improves your skin’s condition, but it also screens out skin-dulling pollutants and 98% of UVB rays. 

As I get older, and as I learn more about how external factors affect my skin, I have found myself more and more committed to protecting it and so this is a product that massively appeals to me.  

PREVAGE® City Smart does three main things: 

PROTECTS - against pollution with an Anti-Pollution Shield Technology and a patent-pending highly potent Anti-Pollution Complex. 

PREVENTS against UVA and UVB rays with a 100% Mineral Broad Spectrum SPF50 Sunscreen.

STRENGTHENS the skin’s natural defences with a DNA Enzyme Complex that helps protect against free radical damage and supports the skin’s natural repair process.

If like me you live in a busy city this is definitely a product you need to start using.  You apply the product daily as the last step in your skincare routine, it is slightly tinted (one shade for all) and you really feel like it is smoothing, nourishing and making a difference. 

This post is kindly sponsored by Elizabeth Arden. All thoughts, and views are my own.

#OutSmartTheCity

MIXED BERRY MAKEUP

I'm embracing the purple lipstick trend for my Mixed Berry themed makeup look, that I have created as part of yoomoo's #yoobeauty competition. 

yoomoo (the brand who make the super tasty yogurt and (low fat) yogurt ice lollies) currently have a competition to win a trip (worth £2500) to San Francisco. All you have to do to enter is create a makeup look based on one of the three flavours of their ice lollies - Mixed Berry, Tropical and Strawberry and either upload a photo of it to yoomoo's Facebook page or #yoobeauty on Instagram.  (FYI - the competition closes on 8th August - you have to be in it to win it!).

I am loving my Mixed Berry makeup look. I have never really worn purple lipstick before - I thought that it might look a bit fancy dress or that it wouldn't suit me, but a mixed berry coloured and themed makeup look seemed the perfect time to try it.

Purple lipstick is actually pretty flattering and wearable - there are loads of different shades and always one that will suit you. It is also a versatile lip colour and can be vampy, bright or subtle.

I wanted my lips to be the main focus of this look but because they are quite edgy and make a bold statement I didn't want the rest of my face to look to natural. For my eyes I went for a simple black felt tip eyeliner with a kitten flick and lots of black mascara.

Smashbox Vibrant Purple lipstick £17.50 / TOPSHOP eyeliner £6.50

I wanted my face to be slightly matte and not too shiny but at the same time natural and neutral so I used Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation - which is a really great all round foundation, not to thick but gives a good natural/medium coverage.

I have recently discovered an amazing under eye product, it is so easy to apply and literally makes eye bags disappear - Maybelline Eraser Eye Concealer (£7.99) it is the best one I have tried (including the more expensive brands) - I can highly recommend it for tired mum eyes.

Maybelline Eraser Eye Concealer £7.99 / Leighton Denny Nail Polish, Queen Of Congo £12

I continued the Mixed Berry theme on my nails and painted them a raspberry colour which I love - it is a good colour because it sits in the middle of subtle and statement so works equally well for work and weekend. 

I love this look and will definitely wear it again. It's great to mix up makeup looks to suit occasions and outfits and this one make a cool, confident statement while actually being really wearable.

More information on how to enter yoomoo's yoobeauty competition and the rules can be found here.

This post is in collaboration with, and kindly sponsored by yoomoo. All thoughts and views are my own.

TROPICAL MAKE-UP

I have started to think more about my overall makeup looks recently and have been trying to mix them up a bit. In the past I have tended just to stick to the same tried and tested look and products regardless of what I was wearing or where I was going. But there are so many amazing, bright, interesting colours and formulas around at the moment, and so many great places to get makeup inspiration from that I am thinking more and more about doing my makeup to compliment my outfits.

yoomoo (the brand who make the super tasty (low fat) frozen yogurt) is currently running a #yoobeauty competition, giving you the chance to win a trip to San Francisco by creating a makeup look inspired by one of the three flavours of their frozen yogurt - Mixed Berry, Strawberry or Tropical. (More information on the competition at the end of this post).

This week I have created a Tropical inspired makeup look and i'm wearing an amazing fruit print tropical dress that used to be my mums in the 60s! 

I wanted the overall look to be bright and happy and to give the appearance that I live on a tropical island.

On my face, after applying a light foundation I added highlighter to my cheekbones and a bronzer to my cheeks. On my eyes I put a light gold sparkly eye shadow then used a blue eye pencil and black mascara. On my lips i went for this amazing bright, glossy coral colour - it's almost fluorescent. And then I painted my nails a bright orange colour - to match the yoomoo Tropical ice lolly!

 

Barry M Kingfisher Blue Kohl Pencil £2.99 / Barry M Coral Blush £4.99 / Leighton Denny Helter Skelter £11 / Charlotte Tilbury Stick Bronzer £30

Tropical makeup was a fun one to create and one that I will definitely wear again - especially in the summer time when i'm dressing for a colourful party or next wearing this dress.

If you would like to enter yoomoo's beauty competition to WIN a holiday to San Francisco (worth £2500) all you have to do is create either a Strawberry, Tropical or Mixed Berry themed makeup look and either upload it to yoomoo's Facebook page or to your Instagram and tag #yoobeauty and then keep an eye on yoomoo’s Instagram and Facebook pages.

I have one more look (Mixed Berry) to do so please come back next week to check it out!

This post is in collaboration with, and kindly sponsored by yoomoo. All thoughts and views are my own.

FESTIVAL GLITTER MAKEUP

I recently teamed up with the very talented and lovely makeup artist Tahira on a festival themed shoot and she created the most amazing glitter face and hair makeup. I love glitter and was very reluctant to take it off at the end of the day.

Here is how Tahira created the look (I am hoping I can recreate it for Camp Bestival in a couple of weeks!):

To Get the Glitter Waterfall under Zoe's eyes:

I first used Kryolan Fine Glitter Gel in Pearl White under her eyes, patting it in a large semicircle to the tops of the cheekbones.

Then I applied with my finger, Kryolan Medium Glitter in Pearl Blue mostly all over the gel, leaving a little "Edge" of just gel under the lashline and at the top of the cheeks.

Finally, with my little finger, I applied Kryolan Coarse Glitter in Pastel Blue, right along the lower lash line.

Glitter Lips and Glitter Roots:  

I used Glitter Lips in Sparkling Rose on Zoe's Lips because she often uses a bright. and lets face it , More is More and More is FABULOUS! For the purposes of the photoshoot , I just used the fine glitter and applicator with some Dr Lipp Balm to Zoe's Lips, because we didn't need it to last all day. However, I have tried the glitter lips myself (see my Insatgram) and it really does dry and make a long last glitter lip.

For Her Hair, We just received some of the new Stardust Festival Glitter which is a kit similar to the Lip kit, but has a sparkling gel as an adhesive, and a larger brush for application. After applying the gel to the Center Parting and the Hairline, I used the brush and my fingers to sprinkle the glitter.  It is quite chunky so I would probably use the end of a spoon or a makeup spatula next time.

Here are some other Glitter options I love: JT Makeup Studio make a really beautiful selection in different sizes that include foils and leaf. LIT cosmetics have a totally vegan and cruelty free base that is a liquid that can be used for ANY type of glitter application. ( and I cant help but love a Canadian Brand)

Glitter Removal Tip: Glitter Gels/adhesives tend to make glitter removal much easier. It seems to bond and allow the glitter to be removed more easily with wipes. For lingering strays, get some Scotch Tape (Sello Tape in this country) and just pat pieces over your fave to get the last bits off.  I found the Glitter lips easier to remove by rubbing a bit of oil onto the lips first.

TAHIRA'S TOP THREE: SPEEDY SUMMER BEAUTY HACKS

The days may be getting longer, but honestly, I think that time is getting shorter! I seem to keep running out of it! Mums (Moms, mamas, makeup wearing papas) I know that with the holidays around the corner and everything else going on you need this to be snappy, so here they are: Tahira’s Top Three Summer Beauty Hacks

Protect + Perfect: I bang on and on about sun protection, so to save time, make sure your skincare or makeup primer has some SPF, that’s fairly easy since most BB Creams and tinted moisturisers do. For suggestions check out my posts on the topic here and here.

If you are getting a bit more tanned, use a Tinted Moisturiser/Bronze Glow, 1 or 2 shades darker than your normal colour.  If it is too dark at first, just use a drop of it, and blend out using normal moisturiser/primer/bb cream. Try: Liz Earle Bronzing Fluid , Perricone MD No Foundation SPF 30. If you use a loose powder mineral foundation, it generally has an SPF already like this one by Lily Lolo , but you can also  mix Sunscreen or a Primer like  Balance Me Beauty BB Cream or A La Carte Sunstop with it for sheer coverage. Or, if you prefer a matte look, try ILIA Setting powder with SPF 20, packaged conveniently with its own brush.

Wet Look: Who has time for Hair? Zoe sports a really good ½ top knot which looks amazing and is a fantastic. If you want your hair down, you can rock the natural beach wave by using salt spray ( I like Sachajuan) if your hair only has a light wave.  Alternatively try Boucleme Creme (For thicker curlier Hair) or Giovanni Eco-Chic Elixir (For wavy, Med-Thin Hair) into your wet or towel dried hair. Try this next Generation of high tech towels to minimize frizz: Boucleme Curl Towel, or Aquis Lisse.

Alternatively, take this time to sport the Wet Look AND condition those locks:

Straight out of the shower, comb your favourite mask or oil into your hair and tie up into a bun/knot/ some sort of braid formation, pop on a hat and voilà! ( if using oil, please wear a hat or you will burn your scalp). Try Sukin Hair Protein treatment or  Rich Argan or Almond Oil (my fave source for these is aromantic.com) and check out The Beauty Department for some wet hair style ideas.

3. Bronzed + Brights: I am obsessed with the look of glossy tanned skin and a bright lipstick. It looks great always and at any age (just saw a septagenarian sporting it). For it to work best, the lip needs to LAST (who has time to reapply mid-swim?). Try Hourglass Liquid Lips , Becca beach tint. Or, do this: Use a lip pencil to draw and fill in your lips and then take the smallest amount of balm (I mean literally, an iota) and dab gently into your lips to moisturise, try Pure Potions Ointment, Dr. Lipp Balm, or Weleda skin food. Pat with a tissue or cotton bud to remove any excess balm, reapply the pencil and you should be good for few hours. Try lip pencils by Ilia, BellaPierre, Inika or Burts Bees. Sunscreens generally make skin glow but if that is not enough for you, checkout my highlighting post here

Hot Fun in the summertime!

@tahiramakeupuk