Thursday, 28 November 2013

Christmas Gifts for Everyone

This year I’ve trawled the shops, the internet and hassled PR’s to bring you the best in Christmas gifts. I’ve taken the hard work out of guessing what to buy for Dad, Mum, Daughter, Son and even your pet – so put your feet up, have a glass of wine and chill – because Santa Claus is Coming to Town Woohoo!



1.       Lush Christmas Gifts available take all the hassle out of wrapping with their professionally wrapped goodies and gifts start from just £6.50! With a huge range of festive pamper products from Dream Cream to Shimmering Gold Fun Bars there’s a bath bomb, lotion and soap for kids to grandparents! Also by Lush is the Limited Edition Vivienne Westwood Knot Scarf £15 which raises awareness of the waste made from wrapping paper - this scarf is an alternative to gift wrap, the receiver then has the choice to wear it or pass it on!


2.       Benefit Perfume Gift Set £29.50 – watch her huge smile when she opens this Christmas Day, featuring the best of Benefit fragrances all in one set.  Alien by Thierry Mugler £50 limited edition is a must have for Christmas – a coffret containing radiant body lotion and shower gel all encased in a reusable glamorous box. Boss Jour Pour Femme £49 is for the woman who embraces the day, light, flirty and sparkling she celebrates being alive. Available department stores nationwide.


3.       LaurensWay Gift Set £30 Let it Glow Darker than Dark - this amazing set contains everything you need for true Essex glamour - teenagers will love it! Stockists


4.       For the girl who has everything gift her with bareMinerals Brush on Splendor £29, this luxurious brush collection is a must have for perfect make-up application – stockists House of Fraser.  Jane Iredale Glamour Lip & Eye Palette£49.95 is contains 15 stunning eye shades, 10 PureMoist Lipsticks and 4 PureGloss Lip Glosses all condensed into one classy compact. Stockists


5.       Men can be hard to buy for but you won’t go wrong with these fragrances.  For something unique A*Men Pure Malt Thierry Mugler £45 is a masculine fragrance inspired by techniques used to produce whiskies, whilst it has Angel undertones the smokey notes make it incredibly sexy. Boss Bottled by Hugo Boss £52 encapsulates the strong, ambitious man but also one not afraid to show his emotions. Stockists department stores nationwide. For the sporty type Ferrari Red is fast paced, exciting and ideal for the younger man - gift sets £28 from The Perfume Shop.    



6.       Babyliss New Big Hair £45 available Boots is the latest version of this best seller. Featuring ‘super ionic’ conditioning technology which ensures hair is left super shiny with tons of bounce!  Have endless fun with the Limited Edition Paul Mitchell Express ion Crimp – perfect for parties add a little wow to your hair. At £89.95 they’re not cheap but are gentle on hair and create volume like you’ve never had!


7.       For a necklace which oozes sophistication treat your lady to something unique. This necklace is made up of Hematite, re fire-polished Czech glass and cream glass pearls £33 A stunning and timeless piece of jewellery from the makers of celeb favourite Wish is the Silver Cross Necklace £28, pieces can be made to order to check out


8.       Menace Male Grooming, Shenfield 01277 220408 offer a wide range of Mens Dermalogica gift sets or check out I love the Shave Set £42.50 which contains everything a man needs for the perfect shave. The Body Therapy Favourites contain my favourite Stress Relief Treatment Oil £18 – a great gift for a couple to share!    Elemis Skin Brilliance Hydrating Skincare £39.90 is a brand used all over the world in first class salons. This gift set is incredible value and contains all you need for a starter kit and to see for yourself the benefits of using the products. For the candle lover Elemis Scent of Spa Candle £25 is the ultimate in relaxation and will fill the whole house with its wintery scent of cinnamon, orange and vanilla.  Available from



9.       My daughter use to scream when I tried to brush her hair, that’s until I found Tangle Angel the professional detangling brush £14.99, it’s my must have for stress free mornings!  Is your friend a blonde bombshell? It’s Always A Blonde Moment £35 for 3 products guarantees to make her hair shine and give highlighted hair the condition it needs, visit


10.   Make sure Bagpuss or Fido’s smelling delicious with Paul Mitchell Awapoochi Shampoo & Conditioner £10.95 each from, fur coats are left shiny and smelling puuurfect!



11.   For an amazing keepsake and a great family gift, Treasure Forever make moulds of hands and footprints into stunning, contemporary art. I had my children’s done years ago in silver and bronze and it’s become the focal point of my hallway - fingerprints can be imprinted onto silver jewellery as can paw prints! Contact Fiona Barbour


12.   I love this dinky Lip Smacker Tree Ornament just £3 from Sainsbury’s, guaranteed to keep lips soft and lightly scented – now I just need mistletoe (and someone to kiss)!  Yardley Mixed Hand & Nail Cream £9.99 contains 3 beautifully scented creams and is a must for those hands which need TLC from hairdressers, nurses to gardeners. Stockists Independent Chemists.


13.   Finally for a truly amazing, show stopping Christmas cake made by the incredibly talented Gill of Crazy Granny Cakes is this chocolate sack filled with edible goodies. It’s everything a centrepiece should be eye catching, fun and filled to the brim with sweeties! For more details visit or email








Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Dehydrated Skin

If you look in the mirror and a road map stares back you'd be forgiven for reaching for the nearest anti-ageing skin cream however, often these fine lines - let's call them A roads are a result not of a skin type i.e. dry but are in fact caused by dehydration and the good news is you can do something about it. To put simply our skin is made up with layers of water based cells - the top layer being protected by sebum (oil) and sweat and the amount of sebum we have determines our skin type i.e. dry/oily etc. Dehydrated skin is not a type but a condition caused by lack of water content, external elements such as hot weather, use of harsh products, diet and illness.

Symptoms can be tight, itchy and taut skin but there are a couple of simple tests you can do to determine whether you are dehydrated a) with your ring finger gently push up from your cheekbone towards the eye, if the effect resembles crepe paper this indicates water loss; b) take a pinch from the back of your wrist, if it doesn't ping back immediately then this also shows a lack of water (note the older you are the more likely you will suffer from elasticity loss); and c) have a peek down after you've used the toilet - if your urine is the colour of pale straw then great, anything darker then it's time to filling up your water bottle! Below are a few tips to help with hydration.

· Drink more water - this sounds obvious but many of us are guilty of forgetting to drink enough, even if you have to set an alarm every few hours to remind you to drink a glass it's worth it and especially if you exercise.

· Up your intake of water based fruit and vegetables such as melon and cucumber.

· If the heating is on place a bowl of water by your radiator to humidify the air.

· Working in an environment with air conditioning such as an office or aeroplane zaps moisture from the air - try using a home-made facial spritz with water and a few drops of lavender essential oil.

· Check your salt intake including labels on food as salt is often hidden in many items.

· Cut back on caffeine and alcohol - if you're drinking alcohol match each drink with a glass of water - hangover headaches are caused by dehydration.

· Use products for dehydrated skin complaints - most will contain hyaluronic acid which holds 1000 times its own weight in water, products should be water rather than oil based.

· Apply oils to your skin whilst your body is still damp from the shower to lock in moisture.

· Whilst tempting to have a hot shower in this weather, try and keep the temperature warm.

· Replace lost salts and sugars from sickness/diarrohea with Diarolyte or something similar.

· Lips may be flaky so avoid licking as this will make them worse just regularly apply Vaseline.

· Finally and a word of warning whilst the effects of dehydration can be treated, left to late and those fine A roads will start to resemble the M25 and then dear readers you're stuck!

I road-tested (pardon the pun) lots of products and these were my favourites.

Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi Phase £41 - this instantly sunk into my skin and made it feel supple and smooth. Non-greasy, the key ingredients of 2 different types of Hyaluronic Acid reach right into the inner layers of the skin and give continuous hydration, whilst Omega 3 Peanut Oil, Katafray Bark and Alfalfa hydrate, protect , replenish and give radiance.

Clarins HydraQuench Mask £33 is an intensive 10 minute treatment. I tested this after a recent flight and my thirsty skin drank in the product so quickly it sunk in within minutes and my skin was left feeling incredibly soft. I'm not alone in my love for this product Ann Daniels Polar Explorer regularly uses this when she braves the icy weather of the North Pole! Stockists available nationwide counters

Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Cream Cleanser/Moisture Mask £22 -a cleanser for skin to help bring back elasticity to taut and tight skin - this cleanser can be used to gently and efficiently remove impurities. For an additional benefit it can be also used as a mask to increase moisture levels, simply leave on for a few minutes then tissue off - a time saving product so great to take on holiday. Stockists available nationwide counters.

Dermalogica Stress Relief Treatment Oil £16.90 is bliss in a bottle, whilst I try to bring new products to every feature I apologise now if this crops up more than a few times as quite simply its divine! My skin has been peeling so I've been slathering this over my body whilst it's still damp from the shower however, not only is it great on dry skin but due to a cocktail of relaxing essential oils it also aids a decent night sleep! The Skin Hydrating Mask £31.50 works by delivering time released hydration to give skin a constant moisture boost, the skin-saving formulation includes lycopene-rich Tomato Seed lipids which restores the skins barrier. Compliment this with an intensive serum - the Skin Hydrating Booster £51 instantly hydrates and gives parched skin a quenching drink of hyaluronic acid, fine lines are diminished and it leaves skin feeling smooth and supple - I've been using this for years and love it! Stockists call 0800 591818.

If you have any queries or wish to enquire about features please email askmollybeauty@gmail.comor follow me on Twitter @askmollybeauty/

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Flawless Complexion

Does choosing a foundation confuse or overwhelm you? Do you know your BB’s (Beauty Balms) from your CC’s (Colour Correcting Creams) – or is it just a bra size? The reason I ask, is recently I attended a campaign Go Bare by bareMinerals whose aim was to educate people on choosing the correct foundation match. Their pop-up beauty theatre took on the malls of Essex to explain exactly how foundations worked and I have to say judging by the amount of cement plastered on some of the shoppers, couldn’t have come soon enough.  Foundation is probably the one product which is over-used and whilst the TOWIE look may have its place on TV in broad daylight too much looks just odd.  When choosing a foundation many beauty assistants will first determine whether you have a cool or warm skin tone. However, due to the vast selection I prefer to test 3 colours closest to my skin colour and apply them in 3 stripes where the skin has most exposure i.e, top of jawline, then go outside in the daylight – the one which disappears into the skin is the best match.

Sarah Drummond, Make-up Artist also has these tips when choosing foundation:-

“A liquid foundation with silicon is preferable to matte which can look flat on your skin, look for the words lightweight, sheer and invisible.  Some lightweight foundations won't cover every blemish so for extra coverage you need more pigment not a heavier product.

Primer is every make-up artist key tool! After moisturising spread on a light primer with silica for a filling and smoothing effect.

To hide a pimple try a colour correcting concealer, if you have a red area use a green concealer as this counteracts red. To downplay a raised, red blemish fewer layers of makeup is the key.  Dip a cotton swab in green concealer and dab onto the pimple blending into the skin with your finger, finish with translucent pressed powder. Avoid touching the area as heat from your fingers can make makeup melt.

If fine lines and wrinkles are your concern use a silicone based product which sinks into the lines and helps smooth them out.  Finish with a liquid concealer to hide any remaining evidence of a line and avoid using powder which accentuates lines.

Contouring and highlighting is one of the oldest make-up techniques which every woman should master! Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez use contouring and highlighting to add shape and definition to their faces transforming their bone structure and accentuating their best features.

Begin with primer and foundation to face and neck setting lightly with powder through the T-zone (centre of the forehead, nose and chin) of the face. With your highlighter apply to the high planes of the face i.e. tops of cheekbones, brow bones, bridge of nose and the bow of the lip. Then with your contour colour apply to the shadows of the face, i.e. under cheekbones, into the sockets of your eyes and out to the temples, finally make sure you blend well for seamless skin. “

Sarah can be contacted for all bridal and make up bookings on

Clinique have a wide range of Super-Primers £20 to aid every skin complaint from dullness, lacklustre skin and also to suit all skin types from dry, combination to oily - for a perfect blank canvas apply over the entire face or where needed before makeup application. For a natural matte finish their Pore Refining Solutions £24 glides over skin without feeling heavy and airbrushes pores leaving a look of perfection with a smooth finish. Stockists Debenhams counters nationwide.

bareMinerals Prime Time £21 is a foundation and primer in one which magically eradicates the look of fine lines leaving a healthy and radiant glow. Their original bareMinerals Foundation £24 is a cult product which deserves much more space than I can give. This mineral powder contains sunscreen and its unique application of swirl, tap and buff melts into the skin giving a perfect finish every time. Stockists House of Fraser.

More than a foundation is No Foundation from Perricone MD £47 as not only does this contain sunscreen but its unique multi-purpose formula contains anti-aging benefits to actually treat the skin rather than just as a cosmetic use. Skin is left hydrated and protected from damaging environmental elements. Stockists


Hello Flawless by Benefit £25.50 is ideal for all skin types. Oil-free this wonder product brightens skin leaving it looking luminous, the Oxygen Wow complex boosts skin cells leaving skin looking youthful and with added vitamins C & E also prevents skin damage caused by pollutants. Stockists Debenhams counters nationwide.

 For the ultimate in glamour indulgence with its classy glass packaging is Clarins Extra-Comfort SPF 15 £35. The moisturising foundation is rich in Organic Argan Oil whose properties are known to hydrate and nourish the skin – ideal for dry and mature skin which is left feeling soft and supple all day long. Stockists Debenhams counters nationwide.

 DHC Face Q10 Face Powder £15 contains a powerful antioxidant coenzyme Q10 to protect the skin. Perfect for blending, highlighting and stopping shine without leaving it cakey - this must have product should be in everyone’s kit.  Stockist

Barry M Flawless Matte Finish Foundation £5.99 is ideal for teenage and oilier complexions. Non-drying the matte finish leaves skin looking smooth and clear.  For blemishes try their Imperfection Correction Concealer Pen £5.99 which not only conceals but can also be used to illuminate areas of the face to bring skin alive. Stockists Superdrug.

 If you have any queries please contact via email, Twitter @askmollybeauty or




Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Movember Raising Awareness for Prostate Cancer

Whilst half of the time I walk around with my head in the clouds it was apparent this time last year that something was definitely "out of place" on my gym floor. Not that I spend half the time looking at the opposite sex (although it's great for boredom busting on the treadmill), I noticed that most men were suddenly sporting a growth of facial hair by way of moustaches. Thinking maybe this was a new boy-band trend I asked one of the trainers who also had more hair growth than normal and this is when I learnt about the 'Movember' Charity which raises awareness for Prostate cancer by way of sporting a moustache for the month of November.

The campaign is close to my heart as my father was diagnosed with Prostate cancer 11 years ago and whilst after months of radiotherapy he beat this disease, the fact is it's the second most common cause of cancer death in men after lung cancer and in 2010 approximately 10,700 men died in the UK which is around 29 deaths per day (statistics taken from Symptoms vary but if you have any of the following please see your GP as the earlier its detected the easier it is to treat and the more likely treatment will be successful, some of these symptoms are:-

· Having to rush to the toilet to pass urine

· Difficulty passing urine

· Passing urine more often than usual, especially at night

· Pain when passing urine

· Blood in the urine or semen

To raise awareness Mike Linger of Winger Sports Academy agreed to grow a rather dashing moustache for this feature and I sent him along to the 'Expert of Shaving', Matt Norris of Menace Grooming in Shenfield who gave Mike the following tips:-

· Growing a moustache can be like growing your hair out in to a longer style - bear with it as there will be a scruffy awkward in-between stage. After a couple of weeks it should start to look intended and also stop itching by this stage too.

· Choose what style you're going for and speak to your barber about how exactly to achieve this.

· For shaving in general and therefore before shaving in a moustache, you should take a shower first to allow the hot water to soften the hair to be shaved on the face and open the pores to allow for an easier shave. Use a face scrub in the shower and be sure to rinse your face after shaving with cool water, finish with a good shave balm to close the pores.

· When shaving in the shape, shave just outside the intended area at first and then use a specific tool to cut the shape meticulously. A magnifying mirror can be handy for intricate styles and by leaving room for error you can try some bigger sized styles to see if you prefer them first.

· A beard trimmer and/or facial hair scissors neaten and tidy the length of the moustache especially along the lip line. The hair along the lip is important in making the moustache look groomed as being able to eat the hair is not attractive!

· To avoid itchy flaky skin underneath it's imperative to regularly moisturise into the actual hair at least once a day.

· Not only should every guy own a moisturiser but also a cleanser and exfoliating scrub. These are ideal for cleaning your moustache - and always check in the mirror after eating to ensure food hasn't nestled in!

· Lengthy moustaches will benefit from a hair conditioner in the shower to really treat the hair.

· Tame longer styles with a moustache comb, a specialised comb which is more subtle to use in public.

· To keep its shape finish off with moustache wax (available online), you only need a small amount just warm it up in your fingers before applying.

Dermalogica (stockists 0800 591818 and Menace) have an extensive range of shaving products to ensure you look as dapper as possible, their Invigorating Shave Gel £18.20 gives a "barber-close" shave with maximum comfort whilst soothing and cooling the skin, whilst Hyaluronic Acid keeps skin feeling soft and moisturised. For extra clean skin and to help any irritation and peeling use of their Daily Clean Scrub £24.80 is a must whilst finishing off with Post Shave Balm £26.50 will prevent ingrown hairs and also shorten post-shave recovery time.

Clarins (stockists Debenhams nationwide) also stock a wide variety of male skincare products and their 2 in 1 Exfoliating Cleanser £21 is a quick one step product ideal for those short on time - not only does it cleanse and purify skin it also removes dead skin cells leaving skin smooth and refreshed.

Clinique Cream Shave £14 (available Clinique counters nationwide) is ideal for very sensitive skin, the rich cream lifts hair so the razor glides rather than drag across the skin which in turn decreases the risk of razor nicks and cuts.

I Coloniali Shaving Cream £15 (available M&S) has added Mango Oil to soothe and protect the skin. Mango is renowned for its emollient properties and widely used in Hindu mythology and culture - beautifully presented in a terracotta pot this is one to leave on your bathroom shelf!

For a huge bargain you can buy an entire shaving regime from Erasmic, their pure bristle Shave Brush, Shaving Soap with natural glycerine and enriching Shave Stick costs just under £5 for stockists call 01273 814 536.

Menace Grooming are donating £5 from every 'Movember' shave (priced £24) to the charity call 01277 202448 or book online

Winger Sports Academy Ltd offers one of the best sporting academies across Essex and London for further details visit

For features email me or follow Twitter @askmollybeauty.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Easy Steps for Big Glam Hair!

You can take the girl out of Essex but you can't take Essex out of the girl and if there is one thing which is synonymous with us Essex girls then its big hair! Unfortunately I wasn't blessed with thick locks and my preparations on a Saturday night usually begin with over-loading on volumising products, getting into a tangled mess with Velcro rollers then chucking it into a pony tail. I can't begin to tell you how much money I've wasted on products which have promised me big, bouncing locks only to end up with straw like Worzel locks - not a good look. So I contacted Shelby at Raymond Bottone Hairdressers in Brentwood and she gave me some tips for readers who may need extra oomph in the styling department.

"1. Often overlooked in this day and age mousse is great choice for volume not only does it adds a coat to your hair giving it a thicker appearance, once blow dried it also offers a brilliant hold.

2. Hair spray is your best friend for finishing however, don't use too much as a little goes a long way and overusing hairspray will weigh your hair down resulting in less volume.

3. Make sure your hair is completely dry once you've finished blow drying your locks, damp hair will weigh it down and the finished result may differ from the hair completely dried.

4. Heated rollers are an option, wind them into dry hair (making sure you wind it 90

degrees from the angle of the head) whilst your putting your make up on. Unwind them once they've cooled down and dress out running your fingers through them, don't play around with them too much otherwise the curl could drop.

5. For long hair micro crimpers are session stylists' secret weapon on photo shoots. Take out the top layers of hair and crimp from the root (avoid getting too close to your scalp) to about 3-4inches on the hair - the tight texture instantly lifts the hair at the root.

6. Consider having layers cut in these will encourage movement and make your hair look thicker and healthier.

7. Back combing is also a classic option however, don't go too wild excessive back combing can cause split ends.

8. A round brush is your best friend - roller your brush up to the length of your hair and back again then leave the brush to cool slightly, unravel after a minute or two.

9. When drying with a hair dryer keep the dryer on the brush as the brush needs to stay hot in order to style the hair successfully."

Raymond Bottone are offering a consultation, haircut and blow dry for just £29 with Shelby valid until 30.11.13 - Tuesday to Saturdays only . For salon bookings call 01277 263060 or visit their website

I looked at some of the products and tools on the market which promised to transform limp and lifeless locks into catwalk worthy and here are some of my favourites:-

Paul Mitchells Express Ion Curl XL £69.95 is by far my favourite curling tong for large barrel curls and here's the jargon why. The tongs have a trademark which is the Express Ion Complex - this is a blend of volcanic minerals which condition the hair with negative ions and infrared heat which penetrates into the hair shaft meaning hair is styled quickly from the inside out, thus minimising damage and incredibly this complex is imbedded into the tongs - in turn hair is left incredibly glossy with curls which stay put all day. When I tested them I was so impressed with how quickly they heated up - literally seconds, my hair was left looking in tip top condition and with a shine usually reserved for shampoo ads! A similar process is used for the Express Ion Smooth tongs £89.95 with the same added complex, my daughter's thick wavy hair and my fine, frizzy hair was straightened with minimal effort. The different heat settings which take seconds to reach maximum temperature means even the curliest and coarsest hair can be left poker straight and full of shine.

I also tested Paul Mitchell Shampoo Extra Body Daily Boost £14.25 which is used on the roots of damp hair to give it vra vra vroom and thickness, the applicator is designed so you can apply the product directly where you need to add more volume, not only does it protect from heat styling but also contains Panthenol to protect fragile hair. Paul Mitchell Extra Body Thicken Up £14.75 an award winning product, also gives fantastic volume but without any of the stiffness other products can leave. Hair is left looking naturally full of body with a mirror glass shine and also has strengthening conditioners which protect against UV rays from the sun - so an excellent holiday product. Stockists

John Frieda Luxurious Volume Shampoo & Luxurious Volume Conditioner £5.99 and Blowdry Lotion £5.99 is all you need to inject some natural volume into your hair. The products leave your hair feeling soft to the touch and don't weigh fine locks down. Visit

If you have a hair/health/lifestyle business and would like to feature please contact Molly on or follow on Twitter @askmollybeauty. Features can also be found on