Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Teenage Glam - Featuring Benefit, Nars, Barry M, GOSH, Urban Decay MesmerEyez, CarolynK


Twilight Teaser, Heather Shimmer, Iron Lady and Electric Blue – no not the latest music bands, but the make-up products behind the reasons of many hours spent in detention after school!  Obsessed back then lessons were made less boring by painting Tippex on to my nails, morning breaks were held in the toilets as makeup tutorials took place and pencil cases were filled with products.  When I look back at photos I smile at the Kylie flicks, frown at the intense Gothic liner and cringe at the orange tide marks. Make-up has since come a long way and with so many products on the market it’s a great time to experiment, however there are some rules every teen should abide too so they can look back on their photos with pride.

·         Foundation must match your skin tone - test along your jawline then look in natural light and see which one disappears into your skin – this is the one for you.

·         Have fun with all the glitters but keep it to one part of your face only – eyes or lips. This will stop you looking like a Disney cast-off.

·         Apply eye shadow first then foundation so you can wipe away any spillages.

·         Pinch your cheeks - the natural colour you flush is the one you should use.  Apply blush to the apples of your cheeks and start lightly you can always build up colour.  

·         Pore minimisers are a staple if you suffer from large pores, as are matte foundations which are great for greasy skin.  

·         Smokey eyes give a rock chick vibe.  Apply a mid-grey/taupe all over the eye followed by a darker colour in the socket and a highlighter under the brow, blend then apply black eyeliner tracing the outline of your eyes. Smudgy looks good, add a couple of layers of mascaras to give you an attitude your parents won’t thank me for!

·         Bright lips are fun and teenagers can rival Jessie J with punchy brights and pop neons, however, if you’re wearing colour on your lips go easy on the eyes and vice versa.   

·         The world is your oyster with nails - glitters, nail art, blacks, neutrals anything goes just experiment!

Carolyn K Beauty Books £28 ( give step by step instructions on how to apply blusher, contour cheekbones and highlight. The Blush Book contains 5 blushers, a highlighter, translucent powder and a bronzer and is all you need to create a multitude of looks to suit every skin tone.

For false lashes to put TOWIE to shame, Benefit They’re Real Mascara £19.50 is No 1 on the market and ticks every box from lengthening to thickening.  Benefits Creaseless Cream and Powder Shadows £15.50 last all night and contain tips of how to make the most of the products.  Smell delicious of softly scented soap with Benefit Bathina £22.50 a tinned compact which contains a solid balm and body puff – glide on legs, décolletage to leave skin with a pearly sheen. maybe pricey, however for investment pieces they’re a must and great for birthday presents! The Satin Lip Pencils £17.50 come in gorgeous neutral shades which are a doddle to apply, as are the Soft Touch Shadow Pencils £18.00 - Hollywoodland is a stunning oyster shade that can be used to highlight eyes, lips or cheeks! The dinky Mono Eyeshadows whilst £18.00 contain mirrors, blend like a dream and best of all are small enough to carry in a purse.  

Urban Decay Ammo Palette £23 contains everything to transform you from day to night. Included are 10 shimmering eyeshadows, brush and an eyeshadow primer. The universal colours which suit all eye colours make this a fantastic first time kit.

Makeup novice? Try something more affordable such as Barry M which have some funky products to experiment with – the Trio Eyeshadow £5.99 in Smokey Greys contains the perfect combination for all eye colours to create a dramatic eye, whilst their Waterproof Gel Liner No 3 £5.49 give eyes a statement look with a metallic, light gold.  Gosh’s Tempting Purple Eyeshadow Quad £7 is fun and fresh for summer and the lilac shades make brown eyes dazzle, whilst their Velvet Touch Liner £4.99 glides on so softly it rivals any expensive brand. Gosh nailvarnish £4.99 Girls on Film is multi-coloured dense glitter, apply to tips of nails or swipe Greed a chunky gold over black for an edgy look. Both these brands are great as the price doesn’t reflect on the quality, which are so good they’re often used on shoots by top make-up artists.

If you’re over 16 then have fun with MesmerEyez ( coloured lenses. Easy to insert and with prices starting from just £4.99, these lenses are great fun to freak your friends out and look like a different person. I’ve tried all the colours and they’re easy to wear, don’t irritate and  look so natural!

Finally I’d like to say a HUGE congratulations to Tia MacRae from Chelmsford, her poem (which will be printed on the feature day), was the winning entry to the Essex Prom Comp. Tia and her friend will be spoilt by Lucy’s Boutique and Lauren Goodgers Essex Angels on her Prom night, July 3rd with dresses, makeovers, hairdo’s and nails! I can’t wait to see their princess makeover!

Follow me on Twitter @askmollybeauty or for any queries/features email

Lee Stafford Hair and Beauty Acadamy

Whenever I go into a large chemist store and idle down the hair aisles it’s always the same brand that catches my eye, the one with the bright pink packaging and if, like me, you also have a habit of browsing hair aisles then you’ll know exactly which brand I’m talking about – Lee Stafford. His famous hair line is the second most successful brand in Britain and sold in Australia, Russia and the USA. Whilst he surpassed his dreams of becoming one of the most sought after hairdressers in the world (his celebrity clientele reads a who’s who of A list celebs), his vision and passion has extended way beyond his own personal dreams of being a successful hairdresser.  He wanted to raise the profile of standard amongst hairdressing and it was last year on June 10th 2012 that he finally achieved this by opening his first, but by no means last, Lee Stafford Training Academy in Chelmsford. Alongside this he has also opened his first commercial Hair and Beauty Spa, so the public can experience for themselves just how high his standard of training is. 

I’ve reviewed many salons and for each one I’ve tried to bring the reader something different - after all, there are only so many facials one can write about (although it’s a pleasure reviewing them). The Lee Stafford Hair and Beauty Spa made this easy for me with unique treatments such as The English Rose Facial – for sensitive skin, The Diamond Noir an anti-ageing facial rich in zinc and iron, Kobido Elite a Japanese massage technique, right down to Sperience Wraps which uses silk to hydrate and leaves your skin shimmering. Also to spoil you is a five star spa area where you can escape for a few hours in their steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi, flotation bath and amazing relaxation room with heated ergonomic beds to simply chill out. 

I was invited to sample their Bride and Groom package, an intimate spa treatment where you and your man can forget all about invite numbers and whether £500 is justifiable on a bunch of roses (tip for you men, just agree!) The treatment promised to bring some restoration back if you’ve both suffered stress or simply to connect again.  Now my only slight problem was getting a groom – I’d like to say I was inundated with offers but sadly wasn’t. However, I didn’t take this personally (it was a working day after-all), and just as the Senior Ed was about to send me a list of reporters (photos attached), I remembered my friend Andy from the gym and luckily found out he was off shift that day. So with that we both headed of for some serious unwinding (note to Ed would still like that list please).

The Spa was easy to find as was painted in the trademark bright pink and also had customer parking.  My first impression when I walked in was wow - modern space age décor, with a huge, pink ‘donut -shaped’ reception desk leading to an overtly plush purple waiting area. Beyond this I was wowed again with an outstanding hair salon, designed like a warehouse with exposed pipework and rows of gleaming workstations – ultra modern without being intimidating.  There was a funky, fun coloured garden area by the washbasins where a rather looming cows head watched over - nothing made sense, yet it all came together!

We were lead upstairs to the intimate spa area, which whilst compact was far from claustrophobic. The spa was spotless and with Japanese walking pads set into the floor, iced lemon water and a bottle of wine it’s easy to see why it’s been awarded 5 stars.  We were kitted out in sarongs, robes and slippers and led to our joint treatment room whereby we were treated to the most amazing full body massage and facial. No words were exchanged as our therapists Kimberley and Becca soothed away all our tension amazing massage techniques. The strategically placed bowls of rose petals and tea lights under the beds provided a tranquil ambience which zonked me into a cloud of cotton wool. Every now and then a nourishing mask, a nurturing flannel and the freshness from the Germaine de Capuccini products teased me awake but inevitably the light snoring took hold. Afterwards I managed to get from a very relaxed Andy that he’d found himself dribbling, whilst his foot, arm and hand massage was the best he’d experienced. Men don’t really notice their skin but I could immediately see the difference in radiance. As for me, well I can’t wait to round up some friends and head back for my birthday in June. It’s central yet discreet and with clothes shops galore makes for a perfect afternoon. Best of all only a limited number of guests are allowed ensuring total privacy.  Thank you to all the girls for such a lovely afternoon.

Lee Stafford Beauty Academy is offering 10% off any treatment if you quote Askmollybeauty. This is not to be used in conjunction with any other promotion or on any products. Valid one month from date of publication.

If you have a beauty/hair/health business please contact me on email at or follow me on Twitter @askmollybeauty.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Beetox is this a natural alternative to Botox?

As I'm sitting here typing this feature, my face is currently swathed in the latest of beauty buzz products –  Beetox. Now I'm dubious with claims from companies that state they have a “rapid-anti-aging” effect on human skin. I mean how rapid is rapid –  one where we have to spend hundreds of pounds before we notice a result, one where if we stop using it the effects will disappear, so as with everything I do I'm testing before recommending.

Before I talk about how the products feel what is Beetox? Well its a unique skincare brand which is 100% organic and contains Manuka Honey and more alarmingly Bee Venom.  Now if you have an obsession with products you'll know that Bee Venom isn't that new, in fact a few years ago it was reported that various A list celebs were having Bee Venom injected into their skin. The claims of reduction in lines and wrinkles, soothing redness, healing skin, improving texture even as far as treating arthritis, cancer and rheumatism is all very well but how exactly? I don't want the blurb like you I want to know why I should give over my hard earned cash for a product unless it works.

Firstly Beetox contains Purified Bee Venom which is basically so potent a patch test is advised in case of allergy due to bee stings. If you want to know the real in depth science behind it visit where it explains in detail how Beetox works.  For a rough guide, Beetox uses a process to extract pure bee venom so that its cleaned and any bacteria/impurities are removed. Bee Venom contains at least 18 active substances including Melittin which is antibacterial and antifungal. It can work within the deepest layers of the skin to stimulate cell growth, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and renew cells. It contains proteins, amino acids and a whole load of enzymes to help with anti-ageing. The Honey used is uniquely from the bees that feed on nectar from New Zealand and is scientifically proven to aid healing. It also has a Unique Manuka Factor which is a rating given to identify the quality of the honey. 

The mask –  well it feels good, in fact within 10 minutes of me applying  its completely sunk into my dehydrated skin leaving hardly any residue. This is a great sign of the product working, it also has left my skin feeling so soft that I don't need moisturiser (albeit I know must use SPF). The serum is a strange lumpy consistency like jelly, probably as it has no pore clogging oil so suitable for all skin types and again as I applied over my face and throat it sunk right in leaving my skin soft, smooth as if I've just had a facial.

So would I buy this –  well if I had the money then yes. After all its not cheap at around £30 plus for the products. I'd buy it because it feels nice, its organic and because I believe in the power of nature.  Also with a smaller company like Beetox, everything stands on their reputation so consumer/client care is important to their success.  However, if you google as I did there are lots of reviews from happy customers and really you can't get better than that!


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Radio Beauty Chat 14th May - Nars/Lee Stafford/Golden Rose/CarolynK and more!

Essex Fashion Week

Essex Fashion Week (EFW) was I really about to admit to my excitement on face book that I was attending this event? I mean it’s not exactly London Fashion Week (LFW) where by the likes of the uber cool Top Shop brigade hang out. No this was without a doubt Essex in all its full glory, mile long hair extensions, 3 inch fake lashes, tan that you could paint on your garden shed and conversation that will undoubtedly proceed ‘alright hun’ and ‘nah really babes’.  So why have I spent the last week dragging every item of clothing out from my wardrobe, throwing childish tantrums over what to wear? Maybe it’s because of the fact that over 2000 guests are expected to attend – the majority being women; maybe because I’ll be mingling with celebrities; or maybe it’s because Essex has long been on the map, way before TOWIE as a fun loving, glam county where girls and boys take a huge pride in their appearance.  Well whilst now I may live in a uniform of black leggings and a t shirt (it’s an easy choice for a busy mum), I’m a fully bred Essex girl who introduced bling to Brentwood (I really did) and an original member of the white stiletto 80’s ‘Bimbo’ club. Whatever the reason I’m off today to witness the best of Essex fashion and beauty all under one roof – and I can’t wait!

EFW has been running successfully since its first show in 2010 and was originally founded by twins Adam and Simon Ryan, after being approached by current business partners Nicole and Joe Sealey.  Such is the success of the show that it attracts one of the biggest audiences nationwide and is now the second largest fashion event after LFW!  Sponsors in the past have included big brand names such as Tresor Paris, CIROC, New Look and and with press such as The Daily Mail, The Sun, OK Magazine and Grazia clearing their diaries in the past for this extravaganza event, it’s easy to see why fashion and beauty houses are eager to showcase their ware!

On the day I headed off to The City Pavilion, Romford – I was rather dubious as the name didn’t seem to match the reputation or grandeur of EFW, however, I couldn’t have been more wrong as I was greeted with enough crystal to outshine a Swarovski shop.  As I entered into what can only be described as a strobe light show from the Paparazzi, it was precisely at this point I also felt relief at packing an emergency sparkling necklace! I was greeted with a display to rival a Las Vegas nightclub, as a carnival of stunningly, gorgeous girls dripping in jewels, high heels, huge hair and thick makeup strutted around parading like peacocks and for once my olive skin made me look anaemic. 

Any image I’d tried to exude of ‘cool and professional’ flew out the window when I saw all the sparkle and glitz and my inner-magpie came out in full force. Even more embarrassingly, when I spotted a certain celeb and my daughter’s current crush, I took the moment to prove why I’m a beauty editor and not a celebrity reporter - my opening line of ‘do you wear make-up’ left him rather perplexed although in my defence he was rather tanned and had remarkably long lashes.  However, there was only one person I wanted to meet and that was Michelle MacGregor, Head of Makeup for EFW who’s CV consists of London and Paris Fashion Week. I managed to grab 5 minutes with her and she told me her aim was to bring some high class fashion to Essex, so this year’s focus was on natural, gleaming skin (sans tan!). Makeup was shimmering, whilst ethereal eyes sparkled in white and silver.  Lips were taking the focus in bright shades, Hot Pink by Golden Rose the sponsors for EFW being the favourite.  Oakley Academy alongside Chic Management were responsible for the girls flowing, natural locks and intricate braided buns.

Dizzy with excitement I welcomed sitting down and being entertained by the opening act from Holler Watches, who’d bought in an amazing dance troupe (backflips shouldn’t look that easy); this was proceeded by a catwalk of  gorgeous models showcasing clothing from Glamkinis a handmade, beach wear brand which made Pacha look understated; delicate, crystal, lace dresses from Lady Muck Couture came alive under the lights; trendy, street wear with an urban vibe from hip new brand NoAgg; classy, high end, dazzling, interchangeable jewellery from Nikki Lissoni and the finale Bondana which quite frankly left me mesmerized (think 50 Shades of sparkling Grey.)  Live performances from Amy Mottram captivated the audience, whilst the show finished on a high with an energetic, show clapping performance from Voice star singer Leanne Jarvis.  The after-show party was sponsored by Love Juice, but without the obligatory skyscraper heels and being old enough to be most of the guests mum, I wisely called it a night. 

So what was my verdict for a first-timer at EFW? Well they’re few things that only my family knew about me (until I wrote this), such as I listen to my daughters Justin Bieber album – when she’s not in the car, I’m not familiar with TV personalities but am on first term names with Peppa and George; and that I’m proud to be from Essex. Today, I met some lovely personalities such as Alice Barlow (ex-Hollyoaks/The Voice), Brentwood’s own 2 Shoes, but the ones who received my biggest round of applause were those who made it happen, the sponsors, Danielle Bigaignon and Holly Marsh both PRs who worked tirelessly to give us an amazing day.  EFW has shown the country what we Essexodians do best which is being the epitome of sparkle, vitality and fun, we put the P into Pizazz, the G into Glam and the fizz into that whopping glass of Champagne!

If you have a beauty/hair business and you would like to be featured follow me Twitter @askmollybeauty or email

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Bridal Makeup Tips

For most girls it’s the biggest day of our lives, the one we’ve dreamt of since watching Disney’s Cinderella and after years of singing ‘one day my prince will come’ he’s arrived.  Now you’ve decided to show your commitment to each other by declaring your undying love in front of family and friends. Months of tears, sweat and anxiety have nearly had you institutionalised, but you’ve got through it and nothing can ruin the moment of tears, this time from happiness as you say your vows, that is until he whispers ‘you’re mascara is running down your face on to your £2,000 dress’! However, deep breaths this scenario will not happen to you, not if your Fairy Godmother aka Molly has anything to do with it!  I won’t let you look like Corpse of the Bride not with my simple bridal makeup tips!

·         If you can afford a Make-up Artist (MUA) then I’d recommend doing so – nerves and mascara don’t mix. I personally recommend Vivienne Shepherd 07796 172021 and Karleigh Marsh 07878 399904.

·         On a tight budget then head straight to a department store. Most cosmetic brands have trained staff and their expert advice is invaluable, also if you pre-book many will offer a free trial. Try Estee Lauder, Clinique, Clarins, Benefit and Urban Decay – they’re all under one roof and you don’t have to stick to one brand.

·         Makeup should be an enhancement of your natural beauty however, it needs to be stronger for the photographs but not so scary so that your partner doesn’t recognise you. This is not the time to try out a bright red lipstick if you’ve only ever worn nude shades.  

·         Avoid high shine products as they reflect in photographs and mimic grease. Shimmer, sheen and satin based products are fine if placed on top of cheekbones, under brow bone and décolletage. I adore Clinique Fresh Bloom All Over Colour in Almond Blossom £26, lightly dusted over the face this gives a luminous glow. Urban Decays Naked Flushed Palette £20 contains a bronzer, highlighter and blusher to create cheekbones, slim the face and provides an inner flush that looks naturally pretty.

·         Invest in a pore primer such as Benefits The Porefessional £24.50, this great product minimises the appearance of pores and fine lines, is oil free and gives your foundation something to adhere to so your makeup won’t slide off. Sleep deprivation can be concealed with Benefit Fake Up £18.50, apply under the eyes to banish dark circles and it’s hydrating too so won’t go cakey.  Estee Lauders Ideal Light Brush-on Illuminator £23 brightens shadows and highlights features. Try applying a small amount above the cupids bow to mimic full lips or above the eyebrows for an instant face lift.

·         Choose your foundation colour wisely, always check at least 3 shades on the side of your face and look in natural light, you may find you need to mix 2 colours to get your perfect match. Oily skins should choose oil-free formulas whilst dry skin will benefit from a hydrating one.  Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream SPF 30 Hydrating Colour Concealer £28 can be worn under foundation or alone. This amazing product gives dull skin radiance, sallow skin an instant glow and diminishes red, blotchy skin and with added SPF30 your face will be protected from the sun too.

·         Add warmth with a bronzer - Clarins Limited Edition Summer Bronzing Compact £30 dusted lightly over the face and neck lifts, smoothes and gives a natural sun kissed glow.

·         Fake tan should be tested before the big day to make sure the colour is right and always apply a couple of days beforehand to let the colour ‘settle’.

·         If you’re not using semi-permanent lashes then waterproof mascara is a must. For one that lengthens, thickens and stays put during those tears Urban Decays Cannonball £15 ticks all the boxes.

·         Eyeshadow should be strong but neutral and silky in texture, this is not a time for glitter - a good eye base will also ensure the colour is long-lasting. Estee Lauder Eyeshadow Pure Colour Duos £23 give an amazing multi-dimensional look with the colour being strong enough to enhance the eyes but not over-powering.  The stunningly pretty range has some beautiful natural shades to suit all eye colours and the packaging is gorgeous too.

·         Eyebrows frame the face and make a huge difference to how you look. The best eyebrow shape can be achieved by an HD Brow Treatment with Michele Hennan Tel: 07595 220502, and the HD Palette £20 is brilliant.     

·         Gone are the days where MUAs blotted, applied powder and blotted again for long-lasting lip colour. Estee Lauder Stay Double Wear Lipsticks £19.50 last 12 hours and unlike many long-wear formulas keep lips hydrated.  Clarins Limited Edition Instant Smooth Crystal Lip Gel £16, gives amazing coverage without being gloopy and leave lips looking simply luscious!

·         Lastly smile and take a minute to relax, your day will fly by and believe me no-one looks as stunning as a bride.

If you have a beauty/hair/health business you would like featured then contact me via email or follow me on Twitter @askmollybeauty.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Why we should all cleanse and tone


I’m relatively blessed with a trouble free complexion and whilst I usually appease my mum by saying it’s down to genetics, truth be told I invest time and money in the right skincare products for my skin and look after it well. I always cleanse, tone and moisturise regularly, I don’t smoke and the times I consume alcohol my skin repays me in kind with spots.  Of course using a decent moisturiser is fundamental with a good complexion, but cleansing and toning should not be over-looked as plays a very important part too!

The skin is the largest organ of the body; it’s about 2mm thick and made up of 2 layers the epidermis – outer layer and dermis the inner layer. The epidermis seals in bodily fluids and guards against bacteria and foreign objects, whilst the dermis supports and feeds this layer with moisture.  The skin also acts as a thermometer, breathes, grows and repairs itself – in hindsight the skin is pretty amazing and should be treated with the respect it deserves.   

To keep the skin clear of any blockages and toxins there are two vital steps – cleansing and toning.   The role of a cleanser is to rid the skin of any unwanted bacteria however, it’s important to use the correct one for your skin type.  Dry, dehydrated skins will be benefit from a rich cream cleanser or balm to add nourishment, whilst oilier skins are usually more suited to a liquid or gel cleanser.  It’s imperative not to over-cleanse, twice a day is plenty as any more will affect the skin’s natural PH balance. 

Toners, astringents, fresheners are often ignored yet they greatly assist a skincare regime which include removing all traces of makeup, restoring the skins natural acid balance as well as stimulating and brightening the complexion. As with cleansers you should choose one specifically for your skin type. Dry skin should avoid astringents as these usually contain alcohol, whilst oilier skins can benefit from this type of toner as alcohol can help dry out excess sebum. For a quick pick-me-up a simple trick is to rub a raw potato or cucumber over the face! Not keen on smelling like a vegetable, here are some of my favourites.

Vitage Daily Cleanse 200ml £24 (0845 5552121) is suitable for all skin types. Containing Organic Mate (Green Tea) this powerful antioxidant helps protect skin from environmental damage and is gentle enough to use on the most sensitive skin.  Suitable for men and women this lathers up well and is great to use in the shower, simply wash and go.

Heaven Hydro Cleansing Milk 150ml £14.50 (  is perfect for those suffering from dry complexions.  Like its namesake Heaven it has extracts of stimulating Rosemary, soothing Lavender and moisturising Jojoba oil. The perfect partner is their Peppermint Clarifying Lotion 150ml £21.70 which instantly refreshes and awakens the skin ridding of any pallor and leaving the complexion radiant.

Elemis is one of my favourite brands as everything smells divine and their range of cleansers and toners don’t disappoint. Combination skins will thank you for daily use of their Balancing Lime Blossom Cleanser 200ml/Balancing Lavender Toner 200ml £21 Duo (available, when applied to the skin the cleanser deeply withdraws any impurities accumulated through the day, and is excellent for congested skin types thanks to the combination of Lime Blossom and Vitamin E which also maintains the skins natural oil balance.  The toner contains extracts of Lavender and Sweet Betty Flower a soothing concoction which deeply softens and hydrates the skin. The handy spray bottle is excellent for a quick pick-me-up spritz which can also be used to set makeup!

Thalgo Cocooning Cleansing Milk £19.90 250ml (0207 512 0872) is formulated for dry, sensitive and dehydrated skin, simply warm into the palms of your hands and press gently into your face and remove with cotton wool to sweep away impurities. The soft vanilla fragrance makes it a pleasure to use turning a daily regime into a delightful sensory experience. The key ingredient is Date Extract which helps soften and alleviate irritated skin.

Finally those who want a serious regime without all the frills will love the simplicity but extremely effective brand Environ. Exclusive to top salons their anti-ageing Moisturising Toner 200ml £29.95 and Cleansing Lotion £200ml £28 (0208 450 2020) contain a potent cocktail of eleven plant extracts and Vitamin B3. Packed with antioxidants these ingredients help achieve firm and even-toned complexions and with continued use help reduce the depth of fine lines.

Follow me on Twitter @askmollybeauty for advice or if you have a beauty/hair/health business you would like featured please email me