Friday, 29 July 2011

Skin care myths

When it comes to skin care separating fact from fiction can be hard. Here are some answers that I have learnt from dermatologists to the most asked beauty questions.

Drinking two litres of water a day will improve your skin?

Water is essential for your general well-being. It won’t make a difference to the appearance of your skin. 

Is a flawless complexion the result of what you eat?

The skin reflects your general health. On rare occasions eating too much fatty food or over-indulging in chocolate can aggravate acne. 

Does soap dries the skin?

All skin needs to be kept clean. Skin is slightly acidic. Soaps are alkaline and can be drying.  
Cleansers made from synthetic detergents such as beauty bars and liquid facial cleansers are less harsh on the skin.  What you use is down to personal preference and skin type. 

How do moisturisers work?

“They can help reduce evaporation by forming an occlusive barrier (e.g. petroleum, hydrocarbon oils and waxes, mineral and silicone oils, paraffin wax). They can also contain humectants which draw moisture into the skin (e.g. urea, lactic acid, glycerol and taurine),” says Nina Goad, spokesman for the British Association of Dermatologists.

Why do creams contain anti-oxidants?

There is some evidence that anti-oxidants can provide additional sun protection,” says Nina. “They work by neutralising the damaging free-radicals that are triggered by sun exposure and, therefore, can limit UV-induced skin damage. However, anti-oxidants are known to be unstable and often don't penetrate the skin effectively, so their ability to work in various creams differs widely. Their use can be thought of as a supplementary form of sun protection, but should never take the place of a broad-spectrum sun cream.”

How much moisturiser do you need?

Use where needed. Dry skin isn’t the cause of wrinkles; the sun is the main culprit.

Does skin know the difference between night and day? 

The skin is constantly repairing itself. 

Which creams bought at the beauty counter work?

All moisturisers, on a temporary basis, improve the appearance of the skin by plumping it up. I apply a moisturiser such as Nivea Visage Pure & Natural  Moisturising Day Cream (£5.10), the one that the Duchess of Cambridge was reportedly seen buying in June, where necessary. I also like Estelle & Thild Age Rose Otto Facial Serum (£46, Urban Retreat, Harrods). During the day I use sunscreen.

How your skin ages is a combination of genetics and lifestyle. Buy a moisturiser suitable for your skin type. If you like the smell, the texture and it makes you feel good, the cream is working.

Should you exfoliate?

Dead cells are continually flaking off the top protective layer of the skin (the epidermis) as new cells replace them. Skin renews itself every 21-28 days. As we age this process slows down. 
Exfoliators make the skin look smoother, temporarily. If you have sensitive skin try using a clean face cloth instead. Over-exfoliating can irritate skin and cause rashes. 

Contemplating a non-surgical face-lift?

All these procedures carry an element of risk. If you are contemplating using facial fillers consult a dermatologist. 

By Daralyn Danns

Friday, 15 July 2011

How to have expensive looking hair


Expensive-looking hair
When you see pictures of celebs in magazines looking glam, their hair is always immaculate. So, what do you do when you don’t have a hairdresser constantly by your side? I asked the experts.

“Expensive looking hair is all about shine, vitality and an emphasis of its natural beauty,” says hair colour guru, Daniel Galvin. The secret is to invest in a good cut. “The right style can add volume to the hair or make it lie flatter," says Michael Charalambous of Mayfair’s Nyumba. A view endorsed by Daniel: “Having a good haircut is an investment – like having a really good pair of shoes. It’s a finishing touch but it’s the touch that counts; what people notice and what makes you stand out from the crowd.”

Think of the Duchess of Cambridge whose shiny, bouncy hair style has been dubbed the Chelsea blow-drysays Richard Ward. Richard's creative director, James Pryce accompanied the Duchess on her recent tour of Canada and the United States.

According to Richard, whom I met at a blow-drying master class at his Chelsea salon to promote his product range being sold through QVC, says the key is to have sleek hair with some volume and a little bit of hold.

To keep frizz to the minimum he suggests drying hair when it is still 70 per cent wet.“Holding your dryer underneath the section creates movement, while positioning it above the section will create sleekness,” he says.

Use the right products for your hair and make sure that you use a deep conditioner at least once a week.

“If hair is coloured it should be discreet and perfectly executed to make the shape flow and the eyes stand out,” says Daniel.  If you are thinking of colouring your hair, keep within two shades of your natural colour so that it looks like it's your own hue. Highlights should be subtle.

I’m a fan of the Wella Professionals Brilliance range especially the Colour Protection Serum (£11.15, 6x10ml capsules in a box. For salon stockists visit which you leave in your hair so it helps protect your colour from fading.

Blow-dry using a large round bristle brush to create bounce. “Go for height if you have a round or square face or have a short-neck. Width works on those with a small face or narrow shoulders,” says Michael.
Velcro rollers are handy to transform a frizzy mess into a head of beautiful curls.

If your hair goes flat during the day, Michael’s tip is to "tuck one side behind your ear. It is so chic!”

If you clamour after long luscious looks you can always add extensions or get a hairpiece. 

By Daralyn Danns

Friday, 8 July 2011

The Mayfair blow-dry

Warren Holmes, Daralyn Danns, Nicky Clarke (left to right)

Warren Holmes, international creative director at Nicky Clarke has styled the tresses of countless celebrities including Sienna Miller, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and Claudia Winkleman.

I decided to visit the Nicky Clarke salon in Mayfair to see what the maestro would do with mine, a layered bob. “I feel that I want to put my hands through it and mess it up,” he told me as I sat in the chair. “If your hair kicks out at the back let it, if it falls under leave it.” Letting my hair do what it wants sounded a good idea to me as it meant it would last longer and I especially wanted to look glam as I was going to meet two friends at the Sanderson hotel for afternoon tea.

Warren blow-dried my hair and put Velcro rollers into it as he dried each section. After a few minutes he took them out. Ran his hands through my hair and I was magically transformed. I just had to have my picture taken with Nicky Clarke and Warren to capture the moment.

“Your hair looks amazing,” was the response from my friends. I felt like a million dollars, just how I should feel sitting in one of London’s “cool” hotels. The tea, well that was delicious, especially the hazelnut praline ice-cream lollipop which as soon as you bite into it explodes in your mouth! Ah, this is the life, I thought to myself as we sat enjoying our delicacies and sipping champagne.

By Daralyn Danns