Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Your Party Look in 10 Minutes

I love Christmas so much! I’d probably go, as far as to say it’s my favourite time of the year. It’s the only time of the year I allow myself to buy tins of chocolates and eat them all by December 1st, cry at a lorry covered in lights and allow Santa to put muddy footprints on my cream carpet, however, the best part without a doubt is the glitter, glitz and glamour. I’m not sure about you, but for me, getting ready to party is more exciting than the event itself. When I have time I like to spend a good 2 hours preening and pruning (believe me these legs take some pruning), but reality is I usually have about 10 minutes and that’s in-between shoving fish fingers in Donuts mouth and being quizzed by Princess on Harry, Niall (aka One Direction), like most mums 2 hours isn’t happening. By the time the kids are deposited at their fathers’ house, I’m ready for that Rose! If, like me you’re pushed for time, here are some quick tips to get you party ready! Before I share, just quick word of advice, leave the alcohol until after the makeup. Wine and makeup not a great combination – product overload!


·         If your skin is looking dull and needs a pep me up apply a hydrating serum. Alcohol, cold weather and heating dehydrates and a hydrating serum will give it a dewy finish.  Wild about Beauty’s Rose Water Illuminating Serum RRP, not only has light reflecting particles which give the appearance of more youthful skin, but also has anti-ageing ingredients to treat the skin - what makes this difference is the hint of violet that makes skin glow.

·         For  a ‘smokey eye’ use a dark colour on the lid that has a slight shimmer - this is more flattering and not as heavy as a matte colour.  A multipurpose gel product is great as  these can be used lightly as a shadow or built up to define the eyes and used wet or dry to define. Estee Lauder Pure Gel Colour in Cyber Green Metallic RRP is on trend for winter 2013. It’s not as heavy as black but is alluring, enchanting and edgy. The dark khaki, shot through with shimmering gold is suitable for all ages and adds glamour without being over the top.

·         To accentuate your eyes, apply very soft kohl to your upper lids and smudge upwards and outwards.  As you get older heavy rimmed eyes can look very aging. If you are 30 and under then line away by all means and go for that rock chic look. My favourite is Wild About Beauty Kohl as its incredibly soft, long lasting and comes in a duo form with a thick end to create such a rock chic look and a thinner end for more controlled defining.

·         For the rest of the eye, stick to light, neutral and shimmering shades. A small dab of silver on the inner corners of the eyes will give the illusion of brighter dazzling irises.

·         A multi-purpose mascara is a must, one that thickens, lengthens and curls, try Max Factor Calorie 2000 which has been on the market for years, but still one of the best.

·         I tend to use crème blushers as they’re easier to apply and colour can be built up.  Pat on to apples of the cheeks then follow with a light dusting of powder over the top. This gives the illusion of a healthy flush under the skin.

·         Lipstick – if you’re going heavy on the eyes, stick to a light shimmering nude. Estee Lauder Spiked Toffee is a soft, shimmering caramel shade. As you get older a pop of colour can bring back vitality to the skin. Pink Riot is a sheer pretty shade that is not too heavy but gives the complexion some radiance.

·         Finally a quick spritz of perfume behind the ears, just a small spray as there is nothing worse than choking other party goers. I love Very Estee by Estee Lauder which has top floral notes of freesia, lotus and base notes of Cashmere Wood and Sandalwood and it’s these lingering woody notes that give an air of sensuality, seductiveness but without being overpowering.

·         Now if I haven’t had time to do my nails, I’ll literally swipe a single block colour over my nails before I leave. Just one coat and a few minutes is all it takes to make them look presentable, and with the cold air hitting them, they dry super quick. This year I’m using Estee Lauder’s Beautiful Liar a gorgeous punchy pink and Love Bite a seductive rich red.

All that’s left is to go out and enjoy yourself, be merry and stay safe x

Estee Lauder/Wild about Beauty available from House of Fraser.

If you have any queries please contact me via Twitter @askmollybeauty or if you would like me to feature your business e-mail me

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Best Xmas Gifts

T’was night before Christmas, not a sound could be heard from the Beauty residence. A mother (let’s call her Molly) bent down to kiss her children’s foreheads and as they lay deep in slumber she inhaled their warm breath and let out her own small sigh of contentment. All the excitement and energy leading up to Christmas Eve had been replaced with a serenity of such calm it was as though the air was still.  The chores all done, the house lay prepared for a busy day ahead. Twinkling lights adorned the Mantle, mince pies lay by the hearth as did a half glass of Malibu and there hanging up were the lifeless souls of the stockings waiting to be filled. For her son the anticipation of a Chocolate waterfall, an Oompa Loompa and for her daughter the promise of appearing on SurpriseSurprise, and being rescued by Justin Bieber from her neglectful mum was the contract (wise girl) from Santa’s grotto.  Yet as Molly drunk in the scene and the Malibu, she proved to herself she needed Botox, as a deep crease appeared on her forehead and like coming out of the Shrek Swamp the fog became clear. For there would be no presents, no cotton wool, no satsuma, not even a blooming brussel sprout , because the truth of it was….she went to Lakeside and after trying to park for half an hour, cursing and flashing the guy who refused to indicate,  she gave up and came home empty handed. As a mother she had failed!

That’s not me though…ooh no - I have a plan! Being a self-confessed shopaholic, I know the best local shops where I can get everything and I will not get stressed, I will be that calm, gentle prepared mother who bakes gingerbread and wears an apron and if I can’t get it locally there’s always that thing called the Internet….

My first stop is one of my favourite shops The New Pharmacy, Brentwood and the proof of its popularity is standing the test of time for over 25 years. Its winning formula is not due to the huge brand names that you get in department stores, such as Lauder, Clarins, Dior and Darphin. Nor is it down to the rows of sumptuously displayed perfumes. It’s quite simply down to the best service of any shop I know in Brentwood. As soon as you walk in the staff are ready to help you find that perfect gift and as they are independent stockists there is no bias to any one brand. As a result you know their advice is genuine. Shopping is a doddle and with their expertise when the wife/girlfriend/mother opens her present(s), huge brownie points will be scored and the Sky remote will be yours all night.  Shopping here is fun, it’s not stressful, your gifts are professionally wrapped with their compliments with shiny paper and ribbon and there’s even a home delivery service! I’ve been a regular since I had my own visa.  The owners Umesh and Raakhee Amin and their team, Margaret, Linda, Pat and Chris are so welcoming it’s easy to see why customers are so loyal. Upstairs is an accessory and shoe boutique, with luxury names such as Jimmy Crystal, New York.  Take time to browse though, as you may miss that rare brand only found in Paris, or that elegant gift for a special lady. The men are not left out, with a huge array of aftershaves and leather goods.

One gift that caught my eye was the Estee Lauder Gift Set. It’s on offer for £50 with any Lauder perfume, yet its value is worth over £250!  Presented in a red crocodile bag and filled to the brim with luxury products suitable for all skin tones and ages. Detailed instructions are included in the matching red wallet, showing how to make the most of the delicious colours of smokey plums and muted neutrals.  Play around as there are so many options to create, daytime, evening, work – everything is included for your make up wardrobe - lipsticks, blushers, eye-shadows, liners and even makeup remover.  This is a present that will draw that inaudible gasp from whoever is lucky enough to receive it.

I also fell in love with the most amazing Christian Dior Grand Bal Palette - this gets my ‘Glamour’ award of the year. Encased in a sleek, gold compact is a duo of gold and silver highlighter, intricately braided, the molten, silky powders glide onto your eyes, lips, cheeks and even a flash on the collarbone gives an alluring glow to the skin. Within this compact lies a secret compartment of glosses, when lightly applied gives an illusion of fullness to the lips. Dainty brushes are also included, but for me the piece de resistance is the black eyeliner which closes the compact. All of this is wrapped in the most luxurious gold compact that will make you look and feel a million dollars.

Next stop The Skin Clinic, Brentwood.  Wave goodbye to eyelash extensions with Revitalish Eye Defining Gift Set – this unique formula literally lengthens lashes in less than a few weeks. The set contains a patented eyelash conditioner, which is so potent it must only be applied once in the evening, just one lash stroke per application. The formula has been proven to grow eyelashes within 21 days, there is no denying if used correctly it works. The reviews from other testers include ‘I stopped using it when my eyelashes hit my glasses’ and ‘I’ve been asked if they’re false’.  The set also provides an amazing volumising mascara, eyelash curler and eyebrow/eyelash comb.

For the men, The Skin Clinic came up trumps with a skincare set that’s easy to use, but will get results quickly so your man will be impressed - an easy to follow system, to get him looking his best. It contains two professional products by Australian brand Skinn which includes Total Shave and Daily Moisture presented in a minimalistic black travel bag. The sizes are easily transportable for gym/travel bag, but will last ages - a good no nonsense kit to kick start some good habits into your man, rather than him slathering on whatever moisturiser comes to hand first.

Also for the men from Menace in Shenfield, is the promise of some male indulgence. Why not send him for a manly pamper to the UK’s Best Male Grooming Salon (its beaten top London salons for this prestigious award).  Menace offer an abundance of treatments from facials to cut-throat shaves and gift vouchers which make an ideal stocking gift. Also pop in some Babassu and Bergamot Gentlemen’s Tonic (Shower Gel), ideal for him to grab and go or display in his shower.  The quality ingredients mean you only need to use a tiny amount, so it will last ages. Finally consider some Dermalogica Daily Scrub, an ideal pre shave to give him baby soft skin and make shaving so much easier.  

If however you really can’t face leaving the Omnibus Eastenders and want to order from home, then I have a couple of great websites for gifts, and my first is Here you will find a wide range of luxury essential oil body/face products  and gifts.  I absolutely love the Chocolate Xmas Gift Box. As soon as you open the box, the Restorative candle scents the whole room with essences of Palmarosa, Sweet Orange and Lavender. Also included is a huge jar of indulgent, award winning William Curley drinking chocolate. This is the creamiest, richest chocolate and my only tip is not to share it, savour every mouthful and curl up.

Finally, my last suggestion I admit is not to do with beauty. However, most of you may know I have an obsession with bling and it doesn’t come better than Tanya’s jewellery adorns the bodies of celebs and it’s not hard to see why. Fabulously girly, with designs that rival Swarovski but at affordable prices and with a spectrum ranging from delicate hearts, chunky bangles to the blingiest of headbands there is something for everyone. A selection is also stocked at French Quarter, Brentwood.

Before I go and wrap up all these wonderful treats, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Kayleigh of Tres Chic, for letting me hijack their Christmas tree!

1.        Estee Lauder Gift Set £50 (RRP £250) with any purchase of fragrance.

2.        Christian Dior Luxury Gold Palette £60

3.        Revitilash Eye Kit  £99

4.        SKINN Mens   kit  £50

5.        Dermalogica Daily Clean Scrub £24.50

6.        Babassu and Bergamot Gentlemens Tonic £13

7.        Espa Hot Chocolate Gift Set  £40

8.        Tanya Jewellery prices start from £12.95

Prices correct at going to press.

Follow me on twitter @askmollybeauty or further any feature enquiries email


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Its the Glitterati......

Once again its that time of year where glitter is literally everywhere (including my floor/bathroom/bedroom)! My inner child comes out to play though as I love anything sparkly, glittery and shiny. For some fab festivity fun try the following…and remember Christmas is the one time of the year where no matter how old you are, we can all have that Dorothy moment!

  • Glitter nails are sooo easy. For a subtle approach, just one coat of finely applied gold shimmer is enough. However, if you want to go all out then its time to experiment. Buy glitter pots from arts and crafts shop, or cheapy shops like Claires do great pots finely milled glitter. Then simply get a cotton bud, dip in some clear nail varnish, paint any pattern on to your fingertips and sprinkle glitter on top. Shake excess into sink or on newspaper and you're left with your chosen design. Simply apply any top coat to seal.
  • Glitter eyes. Again, a simple wash of fine shimmering eye shadow is sometimes enough, but I like to apply my usual smoky eyes, then apply a fine pigment of MAC or Chanel and press lightly into the socket.
  • Eyeliner, just one sweep of any bright glitter colour is enough to dazzle when you simply blink. I love Collection 2000. They simply are the thickest glitters out there, better than any other brand I've tried and the cheapest.
  • Eye pigments. For top end scale can't ever go wrong with MAC but for cheaper and a huge choice try Barry M. When applying if the glitter drops onto your cheek simply pick up with sellotape. If you are using a lightly fine pigment and it drops onto your cheek, then cover with your foundation!
  • Lips. I love a statement lip. If you're young (under 30) then there's no reason why you shouldn't choose this dramatic lip. Line and fill mouth with a dark red lip liner. In the centre of your mouth use a lipstick – Lady Red by MAC is a classic, apply to centre and spread out but not to the far corners (you'll look like Joker). Then with finely gold/silver pigment press onto middle of your lips to make them Pop! Or choose a glitter lip gloss to add fullness.
  • For your body, I like to get my favourite body lotion, apply some rose gold pigment (rose gold is very flattering), mix together and apply to the centre of my shins to elongate the legs. Alternatively applying to the decolletage is also very alluring.
  • Hair, again gold/silver pigments can be applied by spraying hairspray either directly on to your brush or in your hand then mixing with pigment and brushing through.

Any leftover glitter can be used to make cards, decorate the back of Uggs (I won't take credit for that as a friend recently did hers, by applying glue to the back of the Ugg and shaking thick glitter over –  looks incredible).

Have a happy glitter Christmas x

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Stay Safe this Christmas

Last night whilst walking through my high street having been for a meal with my friend we both commented on the scores of girls falling around on the pavement consumed by alcohol. Then there were those that weren't drinking but still out to have a good time with their friends, dressed up and ready for a fun evening of dancing and chatting and it was nice to see them all enjoying themselves. The conversation turned to how my daughter would be of that age in 7 years time, a long way off, but still –   and my first thought, as maybe most parents would be, was for her safety and how important it was to be street wise. You see God forbid and through experience I can write this, to be in a situation where you feel threatened is not one you'd ever want to put yourself through. So taking a break from writing about my usual beauty, I thought I'd write up a few tips on staying safe, pass on to your friends, mums give to your daughters, just stay safe x

  • Always carry a mobile phone with you or make sure someone in your crowd has a phone. Give an emergency number to family and let someone know where you are going. Try to conceal your phone, so its not used as a target to steal and never walk along at night chatting on it, you need to be vigilant. Same with an Ipod, never use in the dark.
  • Carry spare cash and be strict not to spend it - however, if you don't trust yourself then leave some at home so you can pay a cab driver.
  • NEVER leave your drinks unattended. Its easy to spike drinks with drugs that are clear and odourless. Do not accept a drink from a stranger, but if you do, go with him to the bar and let the attendant hand to you directly.
  • Share your transport home with friends. Be sensible, don't sit next to a cab driver, sit in the back –  if you're getting a bus, stay at the front next to the driver.
  • Always use licensed taxis and carry the number of a well known taxi firm. If there is a long wait, stay with friends in a well lit area. No matter how tired or tempted never accept a lift from a stranger. When booking a taxi, ask for the drivers name and make/model of the car.
  • If you are walking home, never do the journey alone. Stay with friends and don't be tempted to take short cuts through alleyways. Keep in well lit areas.
  • Carry a personal alarm –  there are lots on the market which are small but powerful but used will give you the chance to shock your attacker so you can get away.

Finally the most important tip is to LISTEN and LOOK! Be alert. Your senses and instinct are what will protect you. You'll notice that I haven't put anything about alcohol. Unfortunately if you go with the mindset, you are going to get drunk, then this will of course put all your defences down. So be prepared before you hit the town. Try to limit your drinks or alternate one alcohol with one water/soda.

If you are attacked, contact the police IMMEDIATELY. Do not wait. They will need evidence so do not shower or wash your clothes. DNA samples can be taken from inside the mouth so don't eat, smoke or drink. Tell a friend or family member as you will need lots of support, especially as you will have to remember as much detail to give to the police whilst its in your mind.

Hopefully you won't ever be in a threatened situation, please pass these tips on, stay safe this Christmas and God Bless.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Hair Extensions

As a Beauty Editor I live in a somewhat superficial world, it doesn’t help that I buy every glossy mag, pour over celebs and their weight gain (cheers me up), dissect their faces to see what they really look like without three pairs of eyelashes (different but better) and swoon over latest products, but if I’m honest it can make me feel a bit critical of myself. I’m constantly faced with images of self-obsessed celebs and I can see the downward spiral it can lead to. Being pictured weekly in the Gazette for the first couple of weeks did wonders for my diet, then the Percy Pigs got the better of me and my attitude went back to reality, I’m a busy mum of two kids and my job is to relate to readers not look glam 24/7. I refuse to use the word ‘totes’ and I don’t own a pug.  I also live without makeup artists, personal trainers every day (maybe once a week), nutrionists come in the form of Sainsbury’s, teeth whitening courtesy of Crest Strips and hair is my own.

I was intrigued though when a few weeks ago I was contacted by Charlotte Borley, Hair Extension Connesiour. I hadn’t heard of her, but after asking a few people in the industry and looking up on Twitter, I realised that she is one of the top hair extension specialists in the country and she very kindly offered to put some extensions in for me, so I could tell you, the readers first hand on what it’s like.  Now whatever I think of my hair – it’s fine, long, straggly and over dyed, I am also extremely protective of anyone ‘playing’ for fear of needing it chopped off.  

So I was extremely happy when I read up on Charlottes credentials. She trained at Europe’s largest hair loss and extension studio on an intensive course that covered every aspect of hair extensions from the best placement of bonding, method of bonding and significantly choosing the correct size of bonds for clients to get the best results. From seeing her portfolio there was no over-the-top tacky extensions, in fact the majority of her clients aren’t the young celeb followers, but ladies of all ages who simply want a bit of fullness to their natural hair, be it a short or mid-length bob.  A fully qualified hairdresser, her resume includes Toni and Guy and hairdressers to the stars Lucinda Ellery, London.  Her clients travel from as far as Switzerland as they know they won’t find anyone to rival her.  She also helps many women who have suffered hair loss due to medical reasons.

Now whilst there are several specialists out there, Charlotte has something that most of these hairdressers don’t - a trade secret and this secret is her supplier. She uses only top quality 100% European hair and her hair Merchant – who for client confidentiality shall remain nameless, graces the likes of Posh, Cheryl Cole, Kylie, Kate Moss, Leona Lewis, the list just goes on. This merchant supplies the majority of theatrical stylists and wigmakers across Europe, to give you a picture his wigs have been worn by Madonna, Tom Cruise, Cher and all top Hollywood stars. The hair is cuticle correct and double drawn with every hair being the same length.  This basically means the hair is of highest quality and has a lovely natural movement.  However, this jargon didn’t mean much to me, I was too excited thinking I would soon be having the same mane as Catherina Zeta Jones!

 The process uses a method of placing tiny bonds the size of a grain of rice to the hair, using a keratin medium to set it.  I had just under half a head, it was extremely quick and the results were absolutely incredible.  Firstly, the bonds are weightless – they simply feel like my own hair. Secondly, and importantly with my busy lifestyle, they simply need looking after with a clarifying shampoo and conditioner. Lastly, they look utterly amazing, for the first time in my life I have a swishy, glossy mane and I can’t stop looking at my reflection (sadly the meat counter at Sainsbury’s). The following day was my real test of how I would fare with them, as being a wash and go person, now I needed to make sure the bonds were dried, however, a simple 5 minute blast with the hairdryer and my glam locks were ready to swoosh once more.

For the perfect Christmas gift, the treat of A list bond hair extensions is hard to beat and they last months. Alternatively, for a stocking gift, why not treat someone to clip on weaves; hair can be bought from The One Stop Hair Shop and start from £59.95. Charlotte also offers a bespoke clip in hair extension service £150 and weaved hair extensions from £15 per row.

Bond extensions are priced on quotation via an initial free consultation. Charlotte is offering anyone quoting askmollybeauty a 10% discount off application of bond extensions (excl. hair); offer to be taken by end of January. Follow her on Twitter at @CharlotteEmhair or call 07511 193251 or One Stop Hair Shop 01277 225086.

If you have any beauty queries please contact me via Twitter @askmollybeauty or if you have a business you would like featured, contact me via Email


Could Semen be the miracle face serum....

I don't know how I suddenly came to thinking that Semen could be a miracle product for the skin. Maybe it was reading up on the top Hollywood salon that uses bull sperm in their facials. However, after asking lots of people not to judge me on my theory, I decided to investigate. I also threw it past various people from school mums to the hierarchy of a tennis club and of course it got lots of giggles on girls nights out. The reactions of everyone, made my mind up to test the public and see their reaction – although had to be said most friends had actually heard of it before, whilst several had been wondering whether to introduce it alongside their Clarins moisturiser.

So whilst I wasn't surprised that quite a bit of research has already been done on this –  just google and you will see that most doctors and health professionals agree its good for the skin. What I was surprised is why someone hasn't bottled it (obviously finding a preservative), and made a fortune. Again, I had many jokes mostly from men ranging from sperm banks to donor via thanks you've made me a happy man, ill tell my wife.

However, before you all laugh it off as a gag (pardon pun), lets look at the facts and ingredients involved, after all they read as like a top skincare product that would probably be in the higher end bracket..

  • Protein –  essential for repairing skin cells and improving elasticity
  • Amino Acids/natural sugars –  used as light exfoliation
  • Vitamins/hormones – contains growth hormone prostaglandins
  • Zinc –  great for antibacterial use

So whilst I haven't tried and tested it, I have asked a couple of 'she whom shall not be named' friends,to do so. The first effect is tightening, gross but its like applying egg white, however, her skin felt amazing for days. She had spots, which she dabbed regularly with semen and they disappeared after couple of days, having dried up quicker than 'any zit cream' she had used. The other friend said the same thing,with the added benefit of softer looking skin.  

Of course, there is a lot of research needed to prove its worth… For example, a mans diet could affect the quality of the semen. Someone eating a clean diet of veg is going to have healthier sperm. Also you would have to implicitly trust your donor i.e your boyfriend/husband as any STD is a huge worry.

Yet with one salon in New York apparently charging in excess of $250 for 'sperm facial' surely its worth considering. Its free (for some of us) and they'll be alto more men out there happier to go shopping for the day!

Before I sign off, pls note I'm not a Doctor, I'm a Beauty Editor and open to all avenues of searching for that eternal youth, and sharing it with you. Whilst my view is most beauty comes from inside, there's nothing wrong with a helping hand!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Ten easy steps to remember when buying perfumes!

Bath is running, so I have 5 minutes to bash out a quick guide to buying perfumes either for yourself or as a gift. Perfumes and after-shaves sell more at this time of the year nearing Christmas than any other and its no wonder as there are some fantastic offers! However, before you buy just remember a few tips.

  1. Every perfume has a top, middle and base note. Whilst the top is most powerful, its the base note that makes the lasting impression, so always wait a while after testing to see how it lies on your skin, as this will be the scent you are left with.
  2. Never test more than 2–3 fragrances a day. You will get a headache, as your sense of smell becomes over-stimulated.
  3. Do not use those cardboard strips to test perfume, they do not give a true indication of what a fragrance will smell like. Only ever test on your skin as the warmth will affect the notes.
  4. As above, only apply fragrance to wear your body naturally heats up. I.e behind back of knees, elbows, wrists or a dab behind your ears. This will give a slower release and your scent will last longer.
  5. Layering different scents is not sexy. Stick to one scent only –  the only exception is single note fragrances which can be layered.
  6. For a cheap DIY fragrance set, buy unscented body lotion, oil and bubble bath and simply add a few drops of your favourite fragrance.
  7. Never buy a fragrance because it smells great on your friend. Chances are it will smell completely different on yourself.
  8. Always accept graciously any perfume samples given, they're fab for travel.
  9. I do sometimes take those cardboard strips and spray testers, but only to put in my underwear drawer, this is a great tip to keep your undies smelling gorgeous.
  10. Finally store perfume away from direct sunlight and try to keep in a cool dark cupboard. This will ensure your fragrance stays in its best condition.

So hope you liked. My bath is run now! I'm off for some pampering time….

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

To save or to splurge....

Just been asked on Twitter about foundations and to recommend one. One question I didn't ask (due to character space –  good thing amount I chat), was the lady in questions budget. So thought I would type up this quick note on my personal experience of what's best to save on and best to splurge on. I've covered just the very basic products, and as its Saturday afternoon and I'm just waiting for the washing to finish forgive any typos etc….


Always worth spending on what you can afford. Get the best match you can find. Cheap foundations often have cheap ingredients and whilst the majority of cheaper brands don't leave you with the old orange look like they used to, I find its always better to go for the best. Foundations are that, your foundation, you can't build on one that's not right!


Go as cheap as you like. I've used literally hundreds over years and some of the most expensive brands do absolutely zilch. I recently bought an American brand for couple dollars and its the best.


Personally I think the more expensive ones are better. They're softer, don't crumble and don't drag the delicate eye area. Cheaper ones can be hard and brittle. However, the exception is liquid eyeliner and glitter eyeliner's. Collection 2000 are one of the cheapest and I love their glitter eyeliners.


Jury is out on this one. Usually the expensive ones have more pigment, so in turn last longer and I'm a typical MAC/Chanel/Christian Dior devotee.  However, I also love some of the cheaper brands, such as Barry M and those fabulous sleek palettes from Superdrug.


Spend, spend and spend. How you apply makes all the difference. I sometimes visit art shops for fantastic brushes, otherwise I stick to MAC.


You don't need to spend out on blusher or bronzer. I have two favourites, Barry M and Guerlain Terracotta Bronzer, both on opposite end of scales as far as budget concerned.


Again you don't need to spend, once upon a time I spent, like many make up artist the lengthy process of blot, apply layer of powder over lipstick, blot again etc, but now with so many good long lasting formulas and a whole variety of glosses/shimmers/mattes etc you can go as cheap as you like. The same with lipliner, so long as it doesn't drag when you test it and glides then buy it.

So let me know what you think. The great thing about being Beauty Editor is whilst I work for a paper, I'm not held to any one cosmetic or skin care company, so I can give an honest opinion.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012


When I come back from holidays I should carry a warning sign with ‘beware hazardous state, enter conversation at your own risk’. Holiday, packing and unpacking gives me an irritation that crawls up my skin, not unlike when I gave up smoking 20 years ago. Luckily for the children they stayed at their dad’s house when we got back home, in honesty the lot of them ran to their safety, leaving Molly vs wardrobe/wire hanger war to myself. Even our cat stayed a healthy distance away, looking at me with amusement but without mistake his claws out.  I run this task with absolute military precision and once finished and everything shoved in its place, I then get a wash of calm over me and finally a satisfaction I usually only get after a 5k run - euphoria. 

Now usually to get me back into the land of living, for whatever reason holidays, operations, stress – I like to treat myself to a massage or facial, and whilst pennies prevailed me from booking one (outlets – Florida), I conveniently managed to book in for a feature to write up about The Beauty Lounge for the ultimate in relaxation and massage. 

I’m extremely lucky that I get given some wonderful treatments, but people often ask me where I do go when I treat myself.  Well I go to The Beauty Lounge in Brentwood, like the after effects of waxing, it’s stuck on me and it’s all down to the owner Tory Kasparian.  Now I’m quite possessive over Tory after all I don’t want her to get too booked up (selfish), but as soon as I met here many years ago we instantly connected and had an amazing beauty bromance since.  Maybe it’s her wide smile, chatty persona and enthusiasm for her work that is totally contagious, or maybe because you can tell her your most innermost secrets (she won’t tell a soul), she is the epitome a of beauty therapist. Her salon is entered via Raymond Beauttone hairdresser, and at first glance it’s hard to imagine finding the luxury to escape amongst the lively chat and noise of the hairdryers.  Delve a little further, and you will find towards the back of the hairdressers, the aroma of scented candles leading you towards some stairs, which take you down into a secret haven cut off from the rest of the world. The clever use of colour, sultry purples, plush silvers and flickering candles create an atmosphere that entices your curiosity further until you reach the compact reception and nail bar.  At the end you’re welcomed into her boudoir, where enchanting music is playing and warm towels and fluffy blankets are waiting to cocoon you. 

The treatment she gave me was the Rolls Royce of relaxation.  It started off with me lying on my stomach whilst warm thermal stones were expertly glided into my skin melting away any anxieties and muscle tension.  Extracts of Lavender and Chamomile from the Decleor products alongside the strategically placed Eucalyptus tissues soon stopped any stressy thoughts rushing through my brain, allowing me to only concentrate on the experience.  The massage finished off with an application of cold refreshing gel and it was then that I was turned on to my back to start the second half of the treatment of a half hour anti-ageing facial.  This still included all the benefits from a full facial - cleanse, tone, exfoliate, massage, mask and moisturise.  It was the perfect treatment to get the best of both worlds.  It was difficult to gain any form of perspective as Tory’s hands firmly massaged and drained my sinuses.  Every pressurised stroke only confirmed her absolute passion for her work and it wasn’t long before I drifted into my usual dribbling slumber.  Afterwards it was all I could do but go home and put on my Primarni fluffy PJs and watch Peppa Pig with the kids.

To book an appointment with Tory at The Beauty Lounge contact.  A 10% discount is being offered on ‘The Face and Body Experience’ when you quote askmollybeauty.  If you have a beauty business you would like me to review, please contact me at or any beauty queries via Twitter @askmollybeauty.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

5 Minutes Spare

Dear All, I’m having a wonderful time in sunny Florida – a few mild panics along the way involving lemons – my morning ritual of lemons and hot water meant carrying a few in my suitcase, try explaining that to customs bringing citrus fruit into Sunshine State the land of growing fruit. Also had to deal with the usual queue induced tantrums, mainly from myself not the kids which led me thinking how I was going to cope with waiting an hour for 5 minutes being whizzed around on Harry Potter (actually that is worth the wait).  Anyway stresses aside, pleased to report we arrived safely and soundly and kids are having a fantastic time.  Shopping has been accomplished Molly style with the usual bubbling overboard at the sight of all the makeup in Walgreens – I think the shop assistant felt slightly amused and probably now wonders if the UK actually stock mascaras. Ralph Lauren ran out of stock after I left, and as I always say the epitome of a successful days shopping is the purchase of an extra suitcase - the rucksack the kids father bought to fill my purchases was met with an incredulous glare and “are you kidding me, that will fit maybe a tenth of what I’ve bought”, however, in all due to respect he was very patient and I didn’t push it, in fact I didn’t dare - he has to open the visa bill, although nearly everything was of course Christmas presents for long lost nieces, nephews and cousins…

Now having been to Florida before, I know that everything is full on, magnified, to the extremities and beyond as Buzz Lightyear would say.  Cars are simply 4x4 trucks, food portions – words fail me (not good for a writer) and washing machines are quite simply the best in the world. However, I have to say that after a few days of repeatedly going on Pirates of a Caribbean (Johnny Depp the waxwork hhmmm); I needed some time out – some space – 5 minutes peace. Now usually I would shut myself away on the toilet with my IPhone for company, but my bathroom door doesn’t have a lock on it and the kids keep running in and out.  So with strict instructions for Daddy to take Donut out (my 4yr son) and buy him his namesake in treats, I spent half an hour play time in the bathroom with my new lotions and potions from Walgreens.  My daughter kept quiet on the IPad with bribes of nail art designs if she left me alone.

Many of us rarely have time for ourselves, what with work and family life we’re often last priority. If you find yourself with a few minutes to spare, try these little feel beauty tricks to pep you up.

·         Quick DIY facial. Apply a warm flannel to a cleansed face for a few seconds and then apply your mask. I use all different masks depending on how my skin is behaving. As a rule, a cream mask is best for dry skin and clay based best for oilier skins. Or whip up your own by simply applying mashed banana and honey, moisturising and antibacterial, just leave for 10 minutes then remove with tepid water. Skin will feel nourished and look brighter.

·         DIY eyebrow dye. So easy to do, dye is available from any large chemist i.e. Boots/Superdrug. Simply follow instructions, leave for a few minutes and remove, and then tweeze any strays. You can also buy DIY eyelash dyes and their easy to apply formula are great for even the most novice beauticians!

·         Gently exfoliate lips by running a wash cloth under warm tap and massaging into lips or use a soft bristle toothbrush, slather on the lip salve after to keep lips flaky free.

·         DIY hand and foot scrub. Make for soft hands by massaging in any base oil with large sugar or salt granules. If using for feet apply few drops peppermint oil to revive tired feet.

·         Apply a hair mask or treatment oil. There are so many available but I like Kerastase Elixir and Moroccan Oil.  I always massage in and leave for 5 minutes before I shampoo as an extra hydrating treatment, I then apply a few drops after I’ve shampooed.  Coconut oil is a good alternative to keep locks glossy and shiny.

·         Moisturise. Be it your hands, feet or whole body. I always keep a moisturiser handy in my bag, kitchen and car, slather on whilst waiting for kettle to boil or kids to come out of school.

·         Drink some water. When we’re rushed off our feet, it’s easy to grab a coffee to keep us going and whilst caffeine does have some benefits, to drink more water is by far the best beauty tip there is.

Of course, I’m only human and whilst I know my rights from wrongs I’m also a very honest Beauty Editor. I will admit that if I do have 5 minutes I have been known to squeeze a few ingrown hairs on my legs, write constant updates on Facebook/Twitter (friends will vouch for that), read a magazine on the toilet, lunge up and down the stairs (it’s a fitness bug) and my favourite, play at full blast Edge of Glory and dance Gaga style with my kids around the living room.

If you have any beauty queries or would like me to feature your business in the Gazette please contact me on Twitter @askmollybeauty or email me at

Desert Island Products

No problems I told Big Ed, I’ve got a 9 hour flight and I can just use my new netbook. What I didn’t count on was 101 hyperactive kids, guess as we were heading to Florida I should have expected it. Also should have expected my 4 yr old son  to have a full on fit as he wanted my netbook, hence why I am sitting next to my 9yr old daughter, I just wonder if it’s too early to administer the Phenergan (for myself of course …).
Well whilst Mickey may not float my boat like the average child (albeit Shrek does – we’re toe related), the one thing guaranteed to make me hyper is the welcoming lights of Duty Free.  As soon as we were through security they started calling my name and my pin number. Chanel, MAC, Bobbi Brown all welcomed me like long lost friends and I spent the next hour playing catch up. Children were deposited with their father on a nice comfy chair with a Starbucks, whilst I walked around gleefully oohing and aahing at all the limited editions one can only buy at the airport.  As usual I  headed to Crème de La Mer first and happily slap dashed their £200 serum on my face for the flight – (NB little tip, only ever use a pump, never use a cream from a pot unless you want everyone else’s germs on your face).  By the time I finished my face was proudly sporting the greasy shine only hundreds of pounds worth of products could do – gluttony at its worst. After all, just because I’m a Beauty Ed doesn’t mean I get sent these things for free!
Of course like all people I have my absolute essentials, my ‘Desert Island’ products and here are a few...
·         My top product is Vaseline – I carry this with me everywhere. For a more expensive version Elizabeth Arden 8 hour Cream is very good, but Vaseline is hard to beat. Try it for chapped lips, cuticle and nail conditioner, slather on feet at night whilst wearing cotton socks – softest tootsies next day, use on ends of hair to give definition or seal split ends, add a tiny amount to moisturiser for a dewy skin tone, polish your shoes, as an eyelash conditioner, moisturise rough elbows and knees, the list is endless.
·         Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 for face and body.  SPF is one ingredient that should be in all moisturisers. Always use a separate one for your face, as most of those that are contained in moisturiser are not suffice to give enough protection. This is why high end brands, often don't contain SPF in their moisturisers, they want you to get skin savvy and apply a separate SPF. 

·         My next favourite product is mascara. No other reason than I have short, sparse lashes that are just bleugh. I’ve tried and tested hundreds but always go back to Lancôme Defincils, although Max Factor 2000 is also a classic, good at lengthening and thickening.
·         Yves Saint Laurent Touché Éclat – this cult product earned its way on to most Beauty 
Editors lists as being the one must have. Why? It can simply knock years off, pat under the eyes, above eyebrows, on top of cupids bow and wait for the compliments to come rolling in.
·         Benefits Brow Zing. My eyelashes are very similar to my eyebrows – say no more, my fault a result of over-plucking when I was a teenager. Benefits Brow Zing is a waxy brow filler and looks so natural.
·         Boots Microdermabrasion Body Scrub and Superdrug’s Vitamin E Body Scrub. Both are equally good, grainy, no nonsense scrubs that do the job.  Apply to damp elbows, legs, knees, feet – a must have once a week for baby smooth skin and always use before applying fake tan. Again I have tried expensive versions but these both top my favourites.
Of course, if I was at any point stranded on a desert island then Pierce would be added to my list, as well as a Wilson Volleyball (Castaway), probably a penknife and of course my I Phone. Actually the I Phone is more essential than all of the above.  Right, the kids (and half the plane) are now happily watching Brave, I’m going to sit back, have a snooze and dream of Mickey, Premium Outlets, Magic Kingdom, Prime Outlets, Pluto, Ugg Outlet, Tinkerbell, Walgreens – hhhmm Walgreens the best bargain beauty store in the world……


As well as being addicted to beauty products, those who know me – and those who don’t, will know I’m also addicted to bling.  From birth my dad called me Magpie as I gravitated towards foil and my love of all things shiny, sparkly and glittery is still with me at the ripe old age of.  I took my love of rhinestones into Essex, years before TOWIE tried to steal my crown and added diamantes to everything I could think of. Flip-flops, bikinis, cards, tops, even my trainers were adorned with Swarovski crystals (must remember to patent). In fact, one would often know my gym routine as I would leave trails of crystals, from bike to gym mats (must patent strong glue) – even members of Legs, Bums andTums were distracted by their sheer brightness, blinding them from doing that extra sit up (excuses).  So it was only a matter of time before I took my love of bling to French Quarter, an Aladdin’s cave of gifts and accessories and introduced Tanya Lee’s stock.  Thriving, my legacy lived on as girls adorned the streets of Brentwood with their shining headbands and glittering phone cases. It doesn’t stop there, expect to be held at ransom should I spot you wearing something sparkly, only yesterday in Starbucks I stood gawping at a toddlers sequin boots.  The mother was glaring at me, whilst I stood in oblivion and wanderlust at these shiny boots and I shamelessly went into a strop when Google couldn’t find them. Next time I will just ask!

So it was a typical morning last week whilst ordering my de-caff skinny cappuccino at my gym, Virgin Active Clearview, when I saw Meghan one of the girls who worked in the salon. Actually I didn’t see Meghan, I saw her nails – and they had me transfixed. Dancing before me, were the twinkliest, glitteriest jewels I’ve ever seen.   A mirror of pink, Swarovski, micro particles adorned her nails catching the bar lights.  Mesmerised and mouth open I drooled, and once again I stood there gawping unable to move. Now I’ve seen glitter nails - I invented them, but these were of a different league, the ruby slipper of all nails and I didn’t care what it took I had to have them and this time I was asking.  So it was to my absolute ecstasy (yes, really),  when she told me the beauty salon had just got this colour in and best of all they were the new Jessica GELeration  polishes, so last at least 2 weeks. 

I immediately booked an appointment with the Virgin Active Tranquillity Spa to give my nails the Cinderella of all mani/pedis. On the day of my appointment I was led into the nail bar area of the salon. The soft aubergine tones, dimly set lights and wonderful aroma of essential oils from their Espa range, immediately transported me away from the bustling activity of the rest of the club.  My nails were first prepped by removal of nail varnish, file and an in-depth cuticle tidy up, which is essential for making the colour last. Then with precise application the colour was painted onto my nails, whilst between layers I had to insert my hand under a LED lamp to set the colour.  The colour dries instantly and once the final application of top coat is applied, it’s wiped with a solution to rid of any residue and nails are then good to go. The same procedure was then applied to my toes, whilst I was topped up with Costa drinks (thanks Lauren).  I was assured by Laura Cole, the Health and Beauty Manager, that GELeration does not damage the nails, in fact they prevent environmental damage to the nails to enable them to stay strong.  Removal takes minutes and can be done at the salon. The beauty of this procedure is the high shine quality and long wearing formula. I chose Aphrodisiac, but there are over 50 colours to choose from.

I’ve since worn flip flops in the rain, been stopped in Lakeside twice asking where I got them done and best of all I’ve got my title back as the Queen of Bling of Brentwood!

Clearview Virgin Active is offering a 20% discount on their GELeration nails valid until end of November. To book call 01277 815640 (choose option 4), quoting askmollybeauty. For an extra £10 they also offer full use of gym, pool and spa facilities.

If you would like a review of your beauty business or have a beauty query contact me via twitter @askmollybeauty or email

Creme de la Creme

Okay so for this article I’m setting myself up for a few laughs at my expense, and have nonetheless decided to tell you a few secrets about myself. There is a reason for this that will conclude the article, but for now bear with me.  So, here goes. I have Shrek toes, ugly hammertoes that flip flops run away from; I sing a mean version of Evita and Rule the World, so mean I get tears in my eyes (as does the cat); I have OCD with black sock fluff on cream carpets; I do an amazing Worzel Gummidge impression (especially after one glass rose); I play snog marry avoid, if I’m bored on the treadmill at the gym; my geography is so bad I thought I needed a passport for Scotland and just for fun I have stupid crushes that last about a day embarrassingly last one was the dad from TOWIE……..

Anyway back to the article, so whilst having a coronary on the treadmill last week, Big Ed called. He’d been to meet the owner of a renowned skin clinic that had just opened up in Brentwood.  Without him even having to mention the name, I knew he was talking about The Skin Clinic – an advanced medical skin clinic which offers all the latest high-tech facials and procedures on the market.  He wanted me to go and have a look around and write up my findings.  Straight away I thought oh dear.  I told him he obviously hadn’t read my previous article in which I mentioned something along lines of botox, mannequins and not me.  Great he said, write it from a controversial point of view.  Not great I thought, he doesn’t have a mother like mine, who would totally berate me for testing out botox - however, I really had no choice. So after explaining to my mum that its part of work and that I was a big girl and could make my own decisions, I ignored her facebook comment of ‘if it goes wrong, don’t come running to me’ and trotted off, Shrek style to the Skin Clinic.

My first impressions when I walked in, was this wasn’t a salon. Its most definitely a medical clinic yet managed to cleverly combine an aura of warmth with the seriousness. Lining the waiting room, only those in the trade would notice the range of skincare products usually found in Harley Street clinics.  Indeed it’s here that most of the staff have had their experience, but comforting to know that they have also worked in hospitals across the country and are all registered with the General Medical Council (GMC).  The clinic is run by Dr Johanna Ward who has enough credentials and letters after her name to give anyone reassurance that they are in the safest possible hands.

I was introduced to my nurse Haley Cooper who initially took me through an in-depth skin consultation explaining all the treatments and soothing any concerns I had about my skin.  They treat a huge variety of skin conditions, and not all treatments are invasive. In fact I chose to have the new top Hollywood A list Hydrafacial, which is used by the likes of Paris Hilton and Kate Winslet.  This process involves 20 minutes of deep thorough cleansing, chemical exfoliation and a final saturation of top antioxidants and vitamins, whilst finishing with a thick layer of Sun Protection Factor (SPF).  The art of this facial process lies in the use of a suction tool, which ensures every bit of trapped grime, dead skin cells and blackheads are removed painlessly. Afterwards I was shown a container full of grime, grit and floating blackheads (nice!!!)  My skin had never felt so smooth and looked so luminous it positively glowed.

Which brings me back the start of my article – you see my skin looks so incredible that I’ve had quite a few people (especially school mums) ask me if I had some sneaky Botox, and guess what I’m not telling. This is one secret I am taking with me. The Skin Clinic philosophy is less is more. There is no frozen look, just radiant skin that moves.  People have asked me if I’ve lost weight, changed hair colour but I still won’t let on, in fact my secret is safe with me!

If you would like a skin consultation, The Skin Clinic offer a wide variety of non-surgical treatments for both men and women.  Their website is definitely worth viewing before booking as it gives detailed explanations of all treatments, products, prices and will reassure the most nervous of patients. Services are offered by the best possible qualified medical staff available - why else would they have people fly from all over the world to visit them?  As a local Beauty Editor I’m just pleased they’ve chosen my home town to open their second branch, and I will certainly be booking another visit!

As I had several queries from readers, I put these forward to Dr Ward to answer, in a non-r2d2 way, thus making it easier to understand the science and benefits behind the treatments.

If someone came in and asked for Botox, but in your opinion they didn’t need it, how would you steer them otherwise?

If their primary concern was anti-ageing I’d recommend mesotherapy treatments. This involves micro-injections of a scientific customised blend of collagen, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and hyalornic acid. This will rejuvenate and hydrate the skin whilst mesotherapy produces collagen and packs the skin with vital nutrients. The result is a healthy, radiant glow.

Do you need medical training or just a certificate to administer injections?

You must be General Medical Council (GMC) registered Doctor or Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC) registered Nurse fully trained in aesthetic procedures.  Unfortunately due to poor regulation there are many loopholes in the system, which means you do get unqualified practitioners administering invasive treatments.  Botox is a prescription medicine and must be injected careful by medical professionals who have a good understanding of facial anatomy. At The Skin Clinic we are all advanced facial injectors with years of experience and medical training.

What are the long term effects of Botox in the skin

There have been numerous studies on long term effects and Botox is FDA approved and licensed in the UK for medical use. It is not known to have any long term adverse effects. 

How long does semi-permanent make up last and does it hurt?

Semi-permanent makeup lasts around 12-18 months after which an occasional top up maintenance routine may be required.  Numbing creams are used prior to the treatment thus ensuring minimum discomfort.

What are the requirements for Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and are there any long term side effects?

IPL is a safe way of reducing hair permanently.  The treatment works best when the hair is darker in colour as it’s the pigment in the hair that absorbs the energy.  There are no long term effects to the skin however, light treatments should only ever be practiced by very highly trained medical professionals.


You have clients fly from all over the world to visit your clinics. Why choose Brentwood?

We have a highly successful clinic in Sevenoaks, Kent and saw a gap in the market as Brentwood was lacking a boutique style Dermatology clinic that was run by medical professionals.  Brentwood is similar to Sevenoaks in many ways and is easily accessible, so we felt it was an ideal place to locate our clinic.  I also have family in Brentwood so I know the area well.

What can you offer that’s different to other clinics?

Our philosophy starts with trust – trust in safety, trust that we want our clients to feel and look their best, but that we will also say no and steer you in alternative directions if we feel you would not benefit from our treatments.  We also believe that less is more.  We want you to feel more confident and secure about yourself. We are not here to change an appearance, but to enhance your features, in a way where you look healthy but your skin radiates a glow and more importantly moves! We take time to get to know our clients, listen to them and offer not only practical solutions but also take on the role of counsellors. We understand our clients fears, and reassure them that when they leave, they will want to return, and that is why we have such a high profile following.

If you had to choose one product and one treatment which would it be?

My favourite product is Image Vital C – a hydrating and anti-ageing serum. It’s a great all-rounder and offers high levels of anti-oxidants that protect the skins elasticity in the long term.

As for treatment, it’s the Dermal Fillers. They are safe, well tolerated and can take years off a persons appearance. We can enhance, add volume and redefine the face. Lines are diminished and the face takes on a soft youthful appearance.  Done well and once again with our philosophy of less is more, fillers can look fantastic.

It remains for me to say a thank you to Dr Johanna Ward and Haley Cooper for their time.  I have been asked several times in the school playground “did you have Botox?”, which only confirms to me how amazing their treatments are (although I still won’t tell!)  If you would like to see a list of their full treatments, please visit their website on or call 01277 214827 quoting askmollybeauty.  The Skin Clinic are also offering 15% off all treatments until the end of November with this article.

If you would like me to review your salon or if you have any beauty queries, please follow me on Twitter @askmollybeauty or e-mail me