Tag: Daily Telegraph
The following article was published in the Daily Telegraph 1st September 2007:
This is an unregulated industry, so you do need to be careful about who you approach before booking a semi-permanent make-up treatment:
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions and check the practitioner’s credentials. A Robson-Lawrence training is a good starting point.
- Look at photographs of previous clients and check that it’s the practitioner’s own work.
- Make sure that the needles used are “encapsulated”, which means they have a seal that prevents potential cross-contamination.
- Take a good look at the clinic.
Are the standards of hygiene high enough?
- Make sure the consent form is thorough and includes detailed health questions.
- Ask around and talk to friends who have had it done. Word of mouth is always the best recommendation.
- Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to walk away if the place looks dodgy or unclean. Remember: it’s your money and your treatment. • Debra Robson-Lawrence is said to be the best practitioner in the industry. She has developed her own technique and trains people on an individual basis. Her approach is natural and precise. Cost: from £375 for a soft lash definer or subtle eyeshader. Contact: 0845 230 2021, or see www.permanent-makeup.com.
- Karen Betts has had 10 years of experience and treats people nationwide. Before-and-after photographs can be seen online at her website, www.portfolio.karenbetts.co.uk. Cost: from £395 for lash enhancer or liner. Contact: 08456 443994 (x 24).
We may not care to admit it, but most women feel better with a little make-up on. Even so, that doesn’t mean we always have the time, inclination or talent to put it on properly and take it off thoroughly enough to avoid waking up with smudged Panda eyes.
No wonder semi-permanent make-up – micropigmentation – is increasingly popular with actresses and others whose face is their fortune. With this technique, colour pigments are applied to the skin’s dermis, or middle layer, with a fine needle. The treatment costs around £400, but the effects can last as long as 18 months. In the right hands, the results look more natural than make-up and can even give the face a slight lift when used to define eyebrows. ”People say that it takes years off them,” confirms top practitioner Debra Robson-Lawrence.
The secret is to use a light hand. For natural-looking lips, society girls’ favourite Karen Betts uses a technique called “lip blush”, whereby the lips are outlined and the colour is faded into the centre “to give an almost full lip colour”. This is ideal for lips that have lost their colour and definition with age. When the line is taken slightly over the lip line, a thin lip is made to look naturally fuller. With eyebrows, colour is applied to look like individual hairs.
The thought of using micropigmentation to define the eye is a little unnerving, to say the least. But applied with care by an experienced practitioner, it is safe and effective. Results look most natural when the very finest line of taupe or brown is applied between the roots of the lashes. This technique, which Robson-Lawrence calls a “soft lash definer”, makes the lashes look more dense and the eyes brighter and more defined.
Of course, no treatment involving needles and eyelids could ever be entirely pain-free, but enthusiasts are satisfied that the results are well worth a little short-term suffering. During treatment, the area is numbed with anaesthetic cream and “downtime” is short, though some people experience very fine flaking for a day or so afterwards. Then it’s just a matter of common sense and a careful hand for a few days.
In the immediate aftermath of the treatment, the result can appear darker, but this soon fades to a more natural look when the colour has had the chance to settle. How long the colour ultimately lasts depends, according to Betts, on many factors, including exposure to UV light, water, lifestyle and skin type. Darker pigments last longer than lighter.
Betts suggests returning for a booster treatment every 12 to 18 months – just long enough for you to have forgotten how much it hurts and to have remembered how much you hate having to scrub your eyeliner off every night. Semi-Permanent Make-Up
We may not care to admit it, but most women feel better with a little make-up on. Even so, that doesn’t mean we’ve always got the time, inclination, or talent to put it on properly (and take it off thoroughly enough to avoid waking up with smudged Panda eyes).
No wonder semi-permanent make-up, or micropigmentation, is becoming increasingly popular with actresses and others whose face is their fortune. This is a technique in which colour pigments are applied to the skin’s dermis, or middle layer, with a fine needle. The treatment costs around £400, but the effects can last as long as 18 months. Not only that but, in the right hands, the results look more natural than make-up and can even give the face a slight lift when used to define eyebrows. ”People say that it takes years off them,” confirms top practitioner Debra Robson-Lawrence.
The secret is to use a light hand. For natural looking lips, society girls’ favourite Karen Betts uses a technique called ‘lip blush’, where the lips are outlined and the colour is faded into the centre “to give an almost full lip colour,” she explains. This is ideal for lips that have lost their colour and definition with age. When the line is taken slightly over the lip line a thin lip is made to look naturally fuller. With eyebrows, colour is applied to look like individual hairs.
The thought of using micropigmentation to define the eye is a little unnerving, to say the least. Yet, applied with care by an experienced practitioner, it is safe and effective. Results look most natural when the very finest line of taupe or brown is applied between the roots of the lashes. This technique, which Robson-Lawrence calls a ‘soft lash definer’, makes the lashes look more dense and the eyes brighter and more defined.
Of course, no treatment involving needles and eyelids could ever be entirely pain free, but enthusiasts are satisfied the results are well worth a little short-term suffering. During treatment, the area is numbed with anaesthetic cream and downtime is short, although some people experience very fine flaking for a day or so afterwards. Then it’s just a matter of common sense and a careful hand for a few days.
In the immediate aftermath of the treatment, the result can appear darker, but this soon fades to a more natural look when the colour has had the chance to ‘settle’. How long the colour ultimately lasts depends, according to Betts, on many factors, including exposure to UV light, water, lifestyle and skin type. Darker pigments last longer than lighter.
Betts suggests returning for a booster treatment every twelve to eighteen months – which is just long enough for you to have forgotten how much it hurts, and to have remembered how much you hate having to scrub your eyeliner off every night.
The following article was published in the Daily Telegraph on 18th August 2007:
As the name suggests, aromatherapy is all about smell. When a fragrance travels up the nose, it triggers a response in the limbic system, the part of the brain linked with memory and emotion.
Hence the marvellous feeling we get when we smell something wonderful.
Smells affect different individuals in different ways, as they are closely linked to personal memories.
Yet studies by several French doctors, including aromatherapy pioneer Jean Valnet, illustrate the specific benefits of smelling certain essential oils. Each oil has its own properties.
“Frankincense causes us to breathe more deeply,” says Geraldine Howard, co-founder of Aromatherapy Associates. Other stress-relievers include lavender and camomile.
The oils are also absorbed through the skin. “They are very small molecules, the same size as a virus and smaller than a bacterium,” she says.
Essential oils are potent, so caution is needed when applying them. Too much of one can lead to irritation and even toxicity, which is why proper aromatherapy is a carefully-taught practice.
Aromatherapy massage has a specific technique that works with the oils to enhance their benefits. It has its roots in a method first developed in the 1950s by Marguerite Maury, a biochemist and aromatherapy pioneer. It works on the autonomic nervous system, which controls automatic responses such as breathing and circulation. The massage involves working along both sides of the spine, stimulating specific points linked to the system, to encourage the body to rebalance itself.
Aromatherapy is a complementary therapy. Whether or not it works for an individual is essentially down to the recipient. Evidence of the therapeutic benefits of essential oils is increasing, yet experienced aromatherapists extol the treatment’s virtues because of the results they’ve seen with clients, rather than scientists’ findings.
- Find a local aromatherapist: 0870 774 3477; www.aromatherapycouncil.co.uk.
WHAT TO EXPECT
A consultation will tell the aromatherapist what you need to get from the treatment and which oils to use. You may be invited to smell two or three. Treatments usually last about an hour and start with the back, moving to legs, face, chest and stomach. Towels are strategically placed for modesty. The best time for a treatment is later in the day.
Micheline Arcier Signature Aromatherapy Massage, £90 (020 7235 3545). Ask for Kiyoko – her massage is exceptional. The treatment was designed by the late Madame Arcier, a pioneer of aromatherapy in Britain.
Aromatherapy Associates’ Real Aromatherapy Experience, £65. At Calcot Manor, Glos (01666 890391). Massage is based on classic French techniques. (Salons nationwide: 020 8569 7030).
Decleor Aromassage Relax, from £80 at Spa Illuminata, London W1 (020 7499 7777). Tension relieving and rebalancing with frankincense and myrrh. (Decleor salons nationwide: 020 7313 8780).
Michelle Roques-O’Neil Aroma-Balance, £120. At Unit 14, 2A Wrentham Avenue, London NW10 (020 8177 8256). The Micheline Arcier-trained aromatherapist has the kind of experience and maternal approach that leaves you feeling cosseted and soothed.
Prolong the effects of an aromatherapy massage by adding the same oils to a bath, three times a week – always use a pre-blended oil to avoid the risk of irritation. Add a capful to a full bath and relax for ten minutes, inhaling deeply.
Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Muscle Bath & Shower Oil (£30, www.aromatherapyassociates.com) with lavender, rosemary and ginger warms tight or aching muscles.
This Works Deep Calm Bath And Shower Oil (£32, 0845 652 9594) is a potent vetivert, lavender and camomile blend that has a grounding, soothing effect.
E’Spa Soothing Bath And Body Oil (£23, www.espaonline.com) with frankincense, myrrh, ylang ylang and sandalwood is a fabulously indulgent, relaxing soak.
Neal’s Yard Remedies Soothing Bath Oil (£10, www.nealsyardremedies.com) contains balancing geranium and bergamot, relaxing lavender and warming cypress essential oils.
The following article was published in the Daily Telegraph on 26th January 2007:
There’s nothing quite like stumbling across a long, dark facial hair to make a woman feel her age. The one consolation is that it happens to all of us and something can be done about it.
Tackle the problem in January and, with any luck, you’ll be hair-free in time for summer.
Occasionally, excessive facial hair is caused by an underlying health issue, especially for women in their twenties and thirties. PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is one of the most likely.
If in doubt, consult your GP or a dermatologist before embarking on a costly hair-removal campaign. “The reason this is important is that we can use some medications to help,” says Dr Nick Lowe, consultant dermatologist at the Cranley Clinic.
These medicines are often prescribed in conjunction with topical treatments and can prove very effective.
In spite of the occasional celebrity underarm left as nature intended (Julia Roberts and Drew Barrymore have both been snapped thus), body hair remains resolutely unfashionable.
From teenage years, most women remove it at all costs. Fashion aside, unwanted hair, especially around the face, is upsetting and unsettling. It undermines confidence, makes women feel unfeminine and old, and in some cases causes deep psychological problems.
So it should come as no surprise that it’s one of the most common problems dermatologists are asked about. The question is how best to get rid of it. Waxing, threading, shaving and depilatory creams are all very well, but the hairs inevitably grow back.
More permanent methods for face and body are a real possibility. These include laser, pulsed light systems and the more traditional electrolysis.
Hair removal can never be completely permanent though. ”A lot of hair is in the resting phase of the hair cycle at any one time,” says Lowe, ”so hair will probably start to regrow.” Repeat treatments are a must and with laser or pulsed light (IPL) the skin must have no tan, not even a fake one.
Here is the lowdown on the most effective treatments and where to go for them:
Best for: ”Small numbers of coarse, light, white coloured hair,” says Nick Lowe.
What happens: A whisker-thin needle feeds an electrical current down the hair, killing the hair follicle. Anaesthetic cream may be applied first.
After-effects: A little redness and possibly slight scabbing if the follicle treated becomes infected.
Cons: Painful and slow, so unsuitable for larger areas. If an area is treated too often, small, “ice-pick” scars may form.
Where to go nationwide: A qualified practitioner at a reputable beauty salon or clinic. Contact the British Institute and Association of Electrolysis (BIAE) (0870 128 0477; www.electrolysis.co.uk).
Where to go in London: Margaret Medhurst at Urban Retreat Medispa, Harrods (£20 for 15 minutes), 020 7893 8333; Gina Charalambous at Richard Ward Metrospa, 82 Duke of York Square, Sloane Square, SW3 (£30 for 15 minutes) 020 7730 1222.
LASER HAIR REMOVAL
Best for: Face, upper lip, legs, bikini line and underarm.
What happens: A hand-held trigger releases the laser, which kills the hair at the root. A cooling mechanism minimises discomfort and anaesthetic cream may be applied first.
Generally, facial hair needs treating every four to six weeks and the body every six to eight weeks, with a minimum of five sessions.
After-effects: Skin is pink after treatment and sometimes develops a bumpy rash, but this should resolve itself in a few hours.
Cons: Not effective on white or light hair. Potentially painful (ask for anaesthetic cream to be applied an hour before treatment starts). If the wrong laser is used, a loss of pigmentation can occur.
Where to go nationwide: A registered consultant dermatologist, or a skin clinic specialising in laser hair removal carried out by a medically supervised nurse. Sk:n, which has clinics around the country, charges from £29 (0800 028 7222; www.lasercare-clinics.co.uk).
Where to go in London: Dr Nick Lowe at the Cranley Clinic, 3 Harcourt House, 19a Cavendish Square, W1 (020 7499 3223 for prices); Dr Mario Russo at the Rejuvenation Clinic, 43 Devonshire Street, W1 (0870 243 2230), from £75 for smaller areas; the Private Skin Laser Clinic at the Royal Free Hospital, NW3 (020 7435 7521), from £80.
INTENSE PULSED LIGHT (IPL)
Best for: Face and body, especially effective on underarms, less so on the upper lip unless the hairs are dark.
What happens: Pulsed light waves target hairs through a hand-held device. They burn the hair at the root, causing it to fall out.
A cooling gel is applied before the light “shot”, which feels like an elastic band flick. A cool pack takes out the heat and a soothing gel is then applied.
After-effects: Slight tingling, a bit like mild sunburn, that lasts for a short time. Possibly a little redness, but this will go down after an hour or so.
Cons: Can cause burning or blistering if used at the wrong wavelength for the skin type. Best on darker, thicker hairs, although the Aculight system (0870 900 5959) can treat lighter hairs. Generally weaker and less precise than laser, so requires more treatments.
Where to go nationwide: A dermatologist or a qualified practitioner. Crystal Clear offers the treatment in salons across the country (0151 709 7227; www.crystalclear.co.uk).
Where to go in London: Dr Rita Rakus, 34a Hans Road, Knightsbridge, SW3, from £80 (020 7460 7324); Victoria Walker at Michaeljohn, 25 Albermarle Street, W1 (020 7629 6969), upper lip, £480 for course of 10 treatments.
The following article was published in the Daily Telegraph on 11th December 2006:
The Japanese wash before one, Americans wash after one and the British tend to wash in one (much to the disgust of the other two nations).
Bathing is a universally loved ritual and one many of us wish we did more often. But in the run up to Christmas, a few blissful moments in the tub may well be all the peace we get.
The history of bathing comfortably pre-dates the birth of Jesus. The bath’s first incarnation is thought to have been in 2000BC at the palace of Mari in Mesopotamia.
Later, the ancient Greeks offered guests a steaming bath in the same way we might proffer a gin and tonic. The hygiene-obsessed Egyptians instilled them with a religious grace while the Romans had communal bathing rituals involving a confusing choreography of hot and cold dips, all in pursuit of good health.
Bathing then went out of fashion in this country until the Middle Ages, when communal baths acquired a louche reputation among the nobility. This was followed by a resurgent aversion to baths, both for their immoral connotations and plague-spreading threat.
By the mid-20th century, bathing had become a rather menial, practical pastime (my grandmother’s luxurious bathroom was a rare thing, well ahead of its time). But today, the bath ritual is back, and with it comes the renaissance of the bathroom as a cosseting personal space. ”My bathroom is my temple,” says writer Santa Montefiore, whose children are allowed in strictly as a special treat.
Carolina Herrera Jr, who runs the beauty side of her namesake mother’s fashion label, is also passionate about bathing. ”My husband has put in a special bath for me by the window overlooking the countryside. I’m a bath freak.”
So what makes a perfect bath? Should it be in private? A deux? Should there be an audience? For Herrera it has to be very hot ”and with an unlimited supply of water”.
And because she loves to chat while bathing, she has a sofa in her bathroom. For Montefiore, a jolly good body brush and a slathering of oils is the answer. ”Bliss (020 7584 3888) does a wonderful pre-bath lotion which I put on before scrubbing away and then lying back.”
The bath’s relaxing benefits are well known. ”If you take a bath just above body temperature, it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and increases the production of noradrenalin, which leaves you feeling calm and relaxed,” says Claire Croft, founder of bathcare line Abahna. ”Hot baths (42°C to 44°C) loosen tight muscles and relieve stressed joints.”
In addition, studies have shown that a hot bath helps induce a deep, restful sleep. Add lavender bath oil and you’ll nod off even faster.
For hardy types, a cool bath boosts the metabolism and circulation. ”Although it should be thought of as more of a dip than a soak,” says Croft. ”Don’t stay submerged for longer than a couple of minutes.”
Just make sure you can dive into a warm towel afterwards. Whatever your bathing style, a welcoming towel is the universal finishing touch. And the warmer, thicker and fluffier, the better.
Suds lore: Five steps to heaven
1 For a deeply relaxing, skin-softening bath, add lavender or pine bath oil. Dr Hauschka’s Lavender and Spruce (£14 each, 01386 792 622; www.drhauschka.co.uk) are both exceptionally good.
For a reviving, detoxifying bath, add bath salts. The high mineral content of Abahna’s Himalayan Bath Salts makes them one of the most potent (£25, 020 8675 5073; www.abahna.co.uk).
2 Add bath foams and oils towards the end of running a bath, so the aromas don’t evaporate before you’ve had a chance to enjoy them. And keep the door shut.
3 Get the temperature right. If you’re off to bed, the hotter the better. If it’s early evening, keep it cooler, or you’ll end up hot and queasy.
4 Dim the lights or light a candle for a soothing glow to give your eyes a rest.
5 Lie back, close your eyes and spend a few minutes breathing deeply. Drink water afterwards, especially if you’ve had a hot bath, which is slightly dehydrating.
A fabulous soap makes a wonderful Christmas present. The best contain a high proportion of good quality perfume and are triple milled. Skin softeners such as glycerine and shea butter also set luxurious soap apart from its cheaper counterparts. Liberty (020 7734 1234; www.liberty.co.uk) sells nearly 250 kinds of soap.
Top treats include:
Les Parfums de Rosine Soap (£8, 01926 332 573; www.cologneandcotton.co.uk). Soapmaker Savon de Marseille produces these rose-scented soaps for the Parisian perfume house Les Parfums de Rosine. The highly concentrated fragrance “paste” is mixed at low temperatures to preserve its scent and the soap is packed in a pretty tulle bag.
Dyptique L’Ombre Dans L’Eau Savon Parfumé (£22 for three, 020 7727 8673). This luscious soap contains the same perfume oils as the scent and is based on blackcurrant leaf and Bulgarian rose. Triple-milled, individually wrapped and presented in a box decorated with an evocative illustration.
Jo Wood Usiku Organic Body Soap (£12, 0845 607 6614; www.jowoodorganics.com). A softening oatmeal-based soap with a scent (of pineneedle, rosemary, cardamom, ginger, coriander, cedarwood, patchouli and vetiver) that is designed to transport you to an exotic, spice-filled pine forest.
The following article was published in the Daily Telegraph on 18th April 2006:
On a high street saturated with high-fashion, with copies at rock-bottom prices, shopping for clothes when you’re over 30 is all too often a disheartening experience. The secret is to look Down Under.
Australians are known for their easy-going nature and this is reflected in their fashion. “People don’t really buy winter clothes, as summer out there lasts for seven to eight months,” says Yasmin Sewell, the Australian senior buyer at Browns Focus in London. “We want to look healthy and beautiful, and we want to be comfortable.”
Comfort for many British women is often at the cost of looking stylish, which is why the Australian invasion is such a godsend, especially for summer. Australian designers know how to combine fluid, flattering shapes with fabrics that are both comfortable and feminine.
Erin Mullaney, a fashion buyer at Selfridges, believes it’s down to their active, outdoorsy lifestyle. ”This is reflected in the fabrics they use (jersey, cotton and chiffon), which move with your body and are easy to go from day to night, or casual to smart,” she says.
One label that has already been snapped up by Whistles (08707 704301) is Metalicus. Vests, cardigans and T-shirts are made from stretch fabrics mixed with wool, silk or cotton. They look fabulous layered together and worn with jeans or cotton trousers. And yes, they’re affordable, with prices starting at £35 for a top.
Body (020 7287 3841) is designed by a dancer, and the label’s dresses, blouses, wraps and trousers are flattering for both slim and fuller figures. The colour palette of this Australian brand is sophisticated (eau-de-Nil, pale lime, browns and beige) and cotton jersey, sheer cottons and stretchy knits are used. Cotton-jersey wrap dresses cost from £80 and a very pretty, cotton ”Boulevard” print dress is £215.
Some of the best dresses around are Australian designed. They’re not cheap (expect to pay upwards of £150), but for this you have an outfit that will look good for more than one season. “They fill a niche for dresses in bright prints that are often difficult to find in Britain,” says Mullaney. Labels to look out for are Cool Change, a favourite of Catherine Zeta-Jones. Designed by Rhonda Scholes, a New York-based Australian, the clothes are sold at the London shop Coco Ribbon (0845 456 8880).
Alternatively, Ginger & Smart has a floral print collection – with rope fabric ties – made from floppy silk. “When I was buying last season I was looking for the perfect dress and these have been a winner,” says Sewell. They are fabulous with heels for a party, or with flip-flops on holiday. Find them at Browns Focus (020 7514 0063).
Zimmermann is also worth looking out for, although it is more expensive – think upwards of £195. This is the price of a pretty, tablecloth blue, cross-back dress (Selfridges 0870 8377377 and Austique 020 7376 4555).
Figures show that clothing exports from Australia to the UK have more than doubled over the past five years, with shops such as Austique, Antipodium and Selfridges actively promoting Australian fashion. Even if our climate lets us down, what we wear this summer may well be what’s hot Down Under.
Comfort zone: covetable labels such as Willow (main picture), Josh Goot (left) and Metalicus (far left) are becoming more widely available in this country Getty images; AFP; christine boyd
- Emma Hill writes for ‘In Style’ magazine.
Seven of the best: chic Antipodean labels
Goot uses cotton jersey to create a softer, more relaxed version of the classic trench coat and blazer. “You can even throw them in the washing machine,” says Sewell, who recommends them for travelling. From £195, they look good on larger frames (Browns Focus, South Molton Street, London W1; 020 7514 0063).
Already a hit with Naomi Watts and Elle MacPherson, the label produces vintage-inspired prints,1970s-style dresses and kaftans. From £150 to £300. Mullaney of Selfridges says Lisa Ho looks good on “all ages and shapes” (Selfridges: 0870 8377377; www.selfridges.com).
One of Australia’s hottest labels, Willow is known for its delicate colours and intricate embroidery. The brand is aimed at women who want to make an impact. Prices are high – think £300-plus (Selfridges, as before; Feathers, 176 Westbourne Grove, London W11; 020 7243 8800).
The range includes sundresses and tops with drop waists in a mix of chiffon and satin, in creams, whites and browns. Necklines are often plunging. These designs suit slimmer figures (Austique, 330 King’s Road, London SW3; 020 7376 4555 and www.laurence-pasquier.com).
Affordable swimwear in wearable, sporty shapes, plenty of sizes and bright colours. Styles come in bold prints, often with metallic buckles, and combine contemporary design with practicality. Expect to pay about £70 for a bikini (www.figleaves.com).
Fabulous swimwear and summer dresses. Bikinis can be bought separately (tops from £40, bottoms from £25). Shapes to suit most women (Austique, as before; Coco Ribbon, 133 Sloane Street, London SW1, 020 7730 8555; www.figleaves.com).
Youthful bikinis with stunning, summery patterns. Some designs have frills and layers, others have simple, 1980s-style bandeau tops, which tie round the neck. Bikinis cost from £95 and are more suited to smaller figures (sizes 8 to12 only; Coco Ribbon, as before; www.figleaves.com).