Monday, 25 March 2013

Rana Argan Oil

Argan Oil, Moroccon Oil –  you can't have failed to notice the latest beauty buzz words as these wonder oils have filled up store counters the last year or so. Open a magazine and you'll see a model with gloriously glossy hair attributing it to the latest nut oil. Yet do you know that most of these products are not 100% pure oils. At best many of them contain maybe 80% with the rest of ingredients made up of preservatives etc.

Then last week I was sent by the founders Neil and Eylem a bottle of their 100% pure organic Argan Oil – Rana Oil. Sourced directly from a small family business in Morocco this pure oil has so many benefits that I wanted to share with you. I always keep some in my handbag due to its many uses and also keep some in my car. All it takes is a couple of minutes a day to see a huge difference….

1) Used on hair as a pre-conditioner, simply apply a small amount, massage in and leave for half an hour follow with a shampoo –  or leave on overnight for a deep conditioner –  both methods will tame the frizziest of hair, leave it super hydrated and glossy. I used a few drops as serum every day in place of my usual serum and my hair looks thicker, healthier and shinier –  this in itself is a miracle as its over processed, dyed regularly and has heated appliances used for shoots regularly.

2) Dehydrated, dry, mature, eczema, sensitive or poor skin tone can be improved dramatically within a couple of months by massaging in a few drops morning and night. Within a couple of weeks skin feels supple and best of all it can be used all over the body or face.

3) If like me you regularly have Gel nails, wash up without gloves which results in dry cuticles and weak nails, then a small amount of Rana Argan Oil rubbed in makes them stronger and corrects any brittle or hangnails. Hands are one of the biggest signs of ageing with many people neglecting them, this Oil makes them appear youthful.

4) Men this is an amazing product for pre-shave and after shave. Apply to clean skin and using a clean blade simply shave the required area, after rinsing massage a couple of drops into the shaved area for baby soft skin.

This fantastic multi-purpose product is available or check out their facebook page at


Radio Feature - Skincare - Phoenix 98FM

Hi last week I was chatting to Michelle Ward –  Eat my Brunch about upping your skincare regime, especially as we are coming into bridal months. I featured many top brands –  heres a list for your reference.

Heaven Products available prices from £14.50
Environ products 0208 450 2020 for nearest stockist. Focus Hydrating Serum £65 Sebuspot £17
Skin Omegas Capsules £23.45
SpaFind Dermabalance Mud Mask £28 Dead Sea Mud Mask £3.50 call 01580 2110554 nearest stockist.
Espa £18
Vitage Starter Pack £19.95 stockist 0845 555 2121


Anyway have a listen –  and if you have any products you'd like me to feature in press or talk about, please contact me I talk about anything and everything!!

Thursday, 21 March 2013


My job evaluating products and treatments means that I have to be honest, after all I write and live locally – people can find me if I lie and reputation is everything!  So I’m always very wary of promoting products that claim they can make you look younger when they just smell nice or the packaging looks pretty.  I can never argue with scientific proof (although sometimes the jargon throws me) and positive reviews, and with years of research there are some creams that can stave off wrinkles, treat acne, sensitivity, rosacea and hydrate.  This is where Tracy Parkin comes in, founder of Vitage Skincare and colour minerals, Essex born and bred in Colchester and I went to meet her to find out what her brand has to offer and why we should part with our hard-earned cash to use it!

Tracy Parkin has been in the skincare industry for over 28 years.  Whilst she started her career training to a high standard beauty therapist, she eventually realised her skills lay in marketing and she became instrumental in launching the wonders of mineral makeup in the UK, BareMinerals. However, whilst seemingly confident, she tells of her battles with her own skincare problems of eczema and large cysts and the frustration of not finding anything on the market to help her - she tried every remedy and tablet available and finally took matters into her own hands, and by mixing her entrepreneur skills, high knowledge of skincare and along with her team of specialists she produced Vitage – Vitamins against Ageing.

Her philosophy was simple, she didn’t want to produce a brand to make you look younger, her vision was products to make clients skin age well; it was about skin health not vanity. She explained a very simple analogy, one that will stay with me forever - from the age of 25 our skin goes off, imagine cutting an apple in half, if you leave it out oxidising causes the flesh to brown, however, put lemon juice on it (Vitamin C) and it’s restored, this is why her products have the highest concentration of antioxidants, Vitamins ACE.  I was surprised when I asked if she put sunscreen in her products and she replied no, however, her reasons made total sense – skin cancer is greatly on the increase and when applying Sun Protection Factor (SPF) it should be at least a teaspoon amount to cover the entire face, when you apply a moisturiser with SPF added, it contains such a small dose it’s not nearly enough and can give a false sense of security - hence she sells this separately. She’s an advocate of less is more – skin doesn’t need lots of different products as over-load will make it more sensitive in the long-run. Her range is simple, precise and has just a few key ingredients that are proven to work. Another ethos is to manage people’s expectations – quite often we expect miracles. A huge difference between a skin specialist such as Tracy and a therapist in a department store, is that Tracy treats you as a whole, she gets to know your lifestyle and how you work so she can get inside your mind and know what she recommends you will fit into your life – why give someone a lengthy regime if they can only spend a few minutes? Why recommend a product for anti-aging if they smoke or sunbathe?  As she takes the words out of my mouth, we are all searching for that Holy Grail of a product, but if you don’t treat yourself internally with antioxidants – super foods such as blueberries, broccoli etc., then it will show and no cream can compete.

Her skincare products and colour line (it’s not makeup) is achieved in 4 quick steps. A simple cleanse with a muslin cloth, application of Vitamin C and sunscreen, then finally colour. I tested a completely unique product Natural Daily Perfector, a mineral that’s milled so finely and added with beeswax to give incredible sheer coverage and feels extremely hydrating. Unheard of in makeup technology, this wonder product only contains 9 ingredients including Brazilian Green Tea and Golden Seaweed (super-antioxidants) – there is nothing like it available on the market. The range of colours contains intense pigments yet when applied blend effortlessly and are incredibly sheer.  The easy go-to shades target every eye colour and skin tone, and whilst a small capsule collection of universal colours it takes away any confusion of whether it will suit.

I left Tracy’s office incredibly inspired, as a beauty editor I often hear a lot of mumbo-jumbo (to put in a nice term), but once in a blue moon I meet someone who I know is the real deal and I have to say I’m so impressed that I’m going to her seminar. Of course I should also add that she looked absolutely incredible and is an advocate of her own range – finally someone who doesn’t hide behind Botox and makeup, but someone who wants people to age as best as they can with what God has given them. Tracy Parkin is now my mentor and a breath of fresh air.

Prices from £14. For list stockists and RRP visit If you have a business in Essex or would like your products featured email or Twitter @askmollybeauty.           

Breakfast with A list Celebrity Makeup Artist - Susan Posnick

Yesterday I was given the opportunity to meet up with Susan Posnick at a PR launch by Flipside PR in association with SkinBrands. I have to be honest and say that anyone else and I would have turned down the invitation, I felt unwell, the kids had been up all night and I was shattered, however, those in the beauty sector will know Susan is not an opportunity to be missed, no matter how tired!

Susan Posnick's CV is pretty impressive - as she gave her talk and mentioned the people she'd worked with incl Tom Hanks, Cindy Crawford and the A list celebs that wear her make up such as Angelina Jolie, Megan Fox, Sandra Bullock, I was mentally clocking up  names ready to show off to my friends!

However, what really impressed me about Susan was not her warm nature, her amazing making up skills but her attitude towards skin health and specifically skin cancer. Having fought this disease herself, this is what inspired her to bring out her own mineral make up brand which protects against the sun and the amount of work that's gone into her products.

Lets take her Colorflo Mineral Foundation, it's not just any mineral foundation. As with all her packaging, there has been months of precision testing on how the brushes feel against the skin (fyi she uses a mixture of goats hair and synthetic for the best application). The Colorflo is easy to apply and best of all easy for refills, simply unwind the bottom cartridge. This amazing pure mineral foundation protects against the sun with Zinc and Titanium Dioxide and also has Vitamin A and E, so is a good all round skin product to help with ageing and inflammation/redness.  

Her lipstick packaging has a lovely click sound so you know the lid won't fall off in your bag, I shouldn't say lipstick, its a conditioner, balm, plumper in one that gives brilliant coverage –  it also contains Paracress a hydrating South African plant –  she used Miami on her model who had pale skin totally opposite to my olive skin, but luckily for me i'd gratefully received the same lip colour in my goody bag and it awakens my skin colour.

You see Susan's has several philosophies that her minimal colour line should suit every skin tone, eye colour and hair colour, it should be easy and quick, hence most products are dual purpose. Her eyeliner pencil is a shadow and liner in one, depending on how you hold the eyeliner it can be used slanted to cover whole lid, direct as an eyeliner and the opposite end has shadow pressed into the lid –  takes multi-tasking to a new level. Susans honesty came across when she admitted that her loose minerals are all 100% minerals but her pressed pigments do contain a few synthetics, but nothing that is harmful to the skin i.e no talcs etc. Even her make up bags are see through so you can take them through the airport security, or have easy access if in the car, on train.

However, it was her Brush on Sun Screen that has impressed me the most. In a similar packaging to the ColorFlo this is simply loose pure minerals that give sun protection. It can be used on children from 6 months, eliminates stinging cream in eyes, no grease and gives full protection. Kids will love the design as will both men and women, totally unique I think she has hit on something here that many brands will try to copy.

Lastly I should mention that a percentage of proceeds sold on her makeup brand will go to a charity Linking the World, who's President is Mina Change –  this is why Mina is the face of Susan Posnick due to her work with the charity –  she represents what we should all strive to have, humanity.

Thank you Susan and Flipside PR for a great morning –  and please don't leave it too long before bringing out a skincare brand, keep those ideas going in your head! We need them!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Mineral Makeup

Mineral makeup has been around for centuries – it’s only the last 20 years or so that top makeup brands produced their own versions and offered some form of mineral line. However, many people still remain unaware of the benefits of using this type of makeup. Non-comodegenic (it doesn’t block pores – you can even sleep in it), free from preservatives such as synthetic chemicals and talc make it suitable for the most sensitive of skins, it contains Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide natural sun protectors and as it doesn’t contain oil is often recommended to those who suffer from acne, eczema, rosacea or those who have sun sensitive skin. The colour is achieved by using pure iron oxides which absorb heat and when buffed onto the skin reacts with the natural oils which create an airbrushed and flawless finish - as we get older the rule of less is more applies to everyone and just because a colour is natural doesn’t mean it’s not heavy and mineral makeup texture is so sheer and light it’s incredibly flattering.  I looked at 5 top brands on the market all offering something slightly different.

My first was Susan Posnick the US makeup artist whose clients included supermodels Cindy Crawford and Amber Valletta. After developing facial skin cancer she channelled her work towards producing a range that was personal to her own beliefs in that everyone should be protected from the sun, also that products should be multi-purpose for busy lifestyles. Her range succeeded with items such as the double ended ColorCorrect a brightening/correcting pencil which hides imperfections and sunspots. ColorDuo lip pencil which has patent plumping ingredients and designed with two colours for day/ night and Mineral Colour for Cheeks and Eyes which won the prestigious Green Beauty Bible Awards – try Lily a natural soft rose which mimics a natural flush, this product is also anti-bacterial, water resistant and enriched with Vitamin A and E. For your nearest stockist contact

Sold exclusively in Selfridges is Young Blood Cosmetics which offer a High Definition formula and is loved by celebs such as Jessica Alba and Kimberley Walsh - this fantastic range makes your skin look camera ready and is perfect for photographic/TV work. Their Hydrating Mineral Powder gives an airbrush quality and the formula hydrates dry skin by locking in moisture yet absorbs oil from greasy skin, it also calms down redness and inflammation whilst diffusing large pores. Ingredients read like top end skincare products such as Liquorice Root (anti-inflammatory) and Rhodolite (which protects and rejuvenates) - they also do a Liquid Foundation which gives skin a natural radiance.  I love their conditioning lipstick Barely Nude and Lip Pencil Au Natural a suit all shade, whilst the Pressed Mineral Eye shadow Quad Moulin Rouge is universally flattering. Available

BareMinerals was one of the first major mineral brands to become nationwide available in department stores and was originally bought to the UK by QVC.  Their Mineral Veil became a cult product and the foundation formulas are so pure they can be slept in. Tuition can be given by booking in for a ‘make-under’ where you’ll be taught the skill of applying mineral make up powder as it’s not applied like most powders, mineral makeup works with the oils in your skin and must be pressed into the skin to blend with your oils and most should be used with a specialist brush.  Their latest collection for Spring include the sheerest of lip tints in juicy colours such as  Berry Remix and Tangerine Trance, whilst I love their compact blush in The Natural High, a flattering apricot shot through with gold shimmer which looks gorgeous on sun-kissed skin.  Available from House of Fraser, Lakeside.

Another brand from the US is Sheer Cover again the ethos is on skin looking its best using the minimum amount of makeup. Their introductory kit contains everything you need for your day to night makeup and the shades will suit every skin tone. I love the Base Perfector Primer which smoothes imperfections, minimises pores and gives a wonderful base for their Mineral Foundation which also has SPF15. Sophisticate is the name of their face palette and sophisticated is the look you’ll achieve – a compact of neutral colours for eyes, lips and cheeks and whether you need a light or heavy coverage then their concealer can hide birthmarks, age spots and redness. Stockists available at

Finally I looked at the brand sold in most salons Jane Iredale. I love their mascara which is incredibly lengthening (I only need one layer to notice a huge difference), as well as their gorgeous Pure Gloss lip gloss in Soft Peach which gives the illusion of full glossy lips due to the shimmering particles.  24 Karat Champagne Dust is an eye shadow but its pink/gold texture makes it suitable for eyes, cheeksa and lips, I even mixed it with body lotion and put on my d├ęcolletage for a subtle gold hue.  If you prefer a liquid foundation try their unique formula of gel mixed with 2 different coloured micro-spheres, when the pump is activated the colours mix resulting in natural looking coverage which blend into your skin tone. For the full range contact Ace 01277 201200.

If you have a business you would like featured contact or via Twitter @askmollybeauty.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

An Ace Elemis Treatment

Being a mum and probably to most mums is the best job in the world but it’s also the most demanding - my only respite is a 5 minute toilet break every morning whilst they eat their breakfast. I’ve learnt to multi-task - it’s amazing how I can smell toast burning, change a wet nappy and clear spilt drinks at the same as well as developing that important sixth sense of learning when it’s quiet there’s trouble brewing. Despite all this I wouldn’t change it for the world, but nevertheless and usually after 3 sleepless nights due to scary curtains and pretend aeroplanes at 3am I find myself in need of a serious MOT. So for Mother’s Day this year I’m checking myself in to Ace Beauty Clinic, Shenfield to restore my sanity.

Ace is owned by Sarah Norris – you may remember I did a feature on the men’s salon Menace a few weeks back, well keeping it in the family Sarah owns the sister branch a deluxe day spa in the heart of Shenfield.  As soon as you walk in welcoming scents of far Eastern shores of Thailand, Bali and Polynesian Islands trick your brain and transfer you from the wet, grey weather to a place of pure warmth and relaxation.  Sarah has over 16 years of experience in nearly every field of beauty and her fantastic managerial skills mean she’s employed 5 of the best beauty therapists in Essex. The salon is continuously updated with new innovative treatments such as Light Heat Energy hair removal and the display cabinets are bursting full of the latest products from exclusive salon brands such as Dermalogica and my personal favourite Elemis.

My biggest challenge was choosing a spa treatment as the choice was simply over-whelming, however after much consideration I decided on a full 2 hour pampering session designed for stress levels as mine are somewhat through the roof. My decision was definitely the right one as it was on offer (see details below) and I was going to be treated to a heavenly taster facial, body wrap and massage by the wonderful therapist Becky Homewood.

I was led into a darkened, candlelit room and asked to lie down on the soft heated towels which had a layer of foil on and what happened next can only be described as pure bliss. After the traditional Elemis ritual of a foot cleanse and detoxing body brush, my body was massaged with a warm Frangipani Monoi oil, this was followed by a gentle scrub of crushed coconut particles ridding my skin of any flakiness and dry patches, lastly my body was drenched with a layer of nurturing, warm milk and oat bath. I was wrapped up in the foil and whilst the combination of oils and milk soaked into my skin I was given an amazing facial. Every product used sent me into a sensory heaven with essential oils of awakening lime, relaxing lavender and rose. The thick creams felt hydrating, nourishing and soothing and as my jaw slackened, I drifted off into a comatose state of utter relaxation.  To my disappointment I was woken by Becky to shower off the particles, but as she handed me soft heated towels and showed me the display of shower gels to use, I instantly cheered up (and regretted not bringing some discreet travel bottles)!  The treatment finished off with a deep tissue body massage which rid my body of any anxiety and knots that hadn’t disappeared.

The best Mother’s Day presents which I keep are the handmade cards, tissue paper roses and notes, but this came a close second. Sometimes treatments can tap into your emotional and spiritual side and I admit I shed a private tear as all the stresses of the past year washed over me - I left on a floating cloud which stayed with me for the whole weekend - I owe Sarah and Becky a huge thank you as do my kids who have their de-stressed mum back.

Ace is offering this incredible treatment for only £50 until the end of April (usual price over £100)! If you’re short on time it can be taken as 3 separate appointments or as a 2hr treatment - call 01277 201200.

If you have a business in Essex you would like featured contact me via email at or via Twitter @askmollybeauty