Friday, 29 August 2014

Anti-ageing hair tips

Before you ring up for an appointment for Botox or fillers, go to see your colourist. Your hair colour should not be giving away your age. It is one of the first things people notice about you.

I asked Louise Galvin, colourist extraordinaire whose client list is packed with names of the great and good, although she is too discreet to speak about them, for her advice.

Louise Galvin

What are the biggest mistakes older women make when dying their hair?
“Women either go too dark or too blonde, or are not prioritising the condition of their hair.” 

Other hair faux pas women make?
“There is a myth that as a woman ages, she has to go shorter. This is not the case. 

“I see too many women with very short hair that can be too high around the neck and around the ears. This look is too severe. Or, I will see women with very long hair, in really bad condition. It is the texture and the condition of our hair that is important as we age.”

How do you determine what the most natural shade is for a client’s skin tone?
“I need to take a few things into account when I meet a new client. Eye colour, skin tone and the natural base of the [hair] colour. One should aim to stay within three shades of this, going either lighter or darker.”

When should you go lighter and when should you go darker?
“This does depend on the skin tone. It is always more flattering to have a lighter shade around the hairline.”

How do you avoid becoming “pension” blonde or “menopausal” auburn? (You often see brunettes end up this funny shade.)
Often when one gets older one can lose sight of the most flattering shade. This is the moment that I recommend you should go to a professional, to choose the right colour.”

Is red a no-no for more mature women?
“Definitely not. If you were a redhead in your 20s and 30s, then the natural red will fade over time as your skin tone changes. It would be advisable to go for a more golden red than a vibrant red.”

When do you stop highlighting and have an all-over tint?
“I would advise when 60 per cent to 70 per cent of your hair is grey.”

How do you correct a bad colouring job?
“Normally, the biggest mistake is when people go too dark e.g. a shade too red, or too brown. I would recommend using my Colour Remover (£14.95,, as this will lift the colour and allow you to correct and go back to your original colour.

"Or, if the highlights are too brassy, I would recommend a silver shampoo/ conditioner. Philip Kingsley Pure Silver Shampoo (£17, Daniel Galvin) is a great product that adds shine to highlights.”

How to prevent processed hair looking dull and dry?
“Always use a masque at least once or twice a week. My masques ( have been formulated to nurture, hydrate and preserve coloured hair. 

“Ensure your colourist doesn’t take colour all the way from the ends of your hair to the roots, as this will really make your hair suffer. It is all about condition, condition, condition.”

If you want to dye your hair at home what should you do to keep it looking natural?
“Seek professional opinion to find out the exact colour of your natural hair and then choose your hair colour equivalent.

“Most mistakes are made when someone thinks they are light brown, but are actually a dark blonde. This will end up looking too dark and harsh.”

Who should go grey?
“Women in their 70s and 80s that have a glorious silver tone to their hair. The snow-white look is stunning on the right skin tone. It also depends on the shade of grey.”

By Daralyn Danns

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Spotlight on Sachajuan professional haircare

Sachajuan, a leading Stockholm hair salon, has at last launched its eponymous hair care range in the UK which has had favourable reviews from customers all over the world.

Founded by the highly-regarded hairdressers, Sacha Mitic and Juan Rosenlind, who also have dressed the tresses of many a celebrity, their products are luxurious yet simple.

The packaging is sleek and stylish, so will look good in your bathroom. The innovative formula called “Ocean Silk Technology”, is a cocktail of minerals and proteins from sea algae, which the company claims “help to boost moisture and shine to achieve the best results on all hair types”. So, how do they perform?  

I put the Dry Hair Shampoo (£18) and Dry Hair Conditioner (£20, both available at to the test. 

My hair felt lovely and soft after one shampoo and the conditioner left my hair bouncy. I then used the Intensive Hair Oil (£35, which contains argan oil, before styling.

After blow-drying, my hair was shiny and frizz was kept at bay. As it was a particularly humid day, I kept the Protective Hair Perfume (£50,) in my bag which not only smells beautiful, but helps hair to behave during the day.

Three uses in, I can say with certainty that this range is bound to give other “salon” brands a run for their money.

By Daralyn Danns

Friday, 22 August 2014

Costa Barcelona – a culinary phenomenon

Take sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, a dose of culture, sporting activities beautiful natural parks, oh and shopping. Add to the mix great wine and food and you soon discover why Costa Barcelona is a dream destination.

View from the Hotel Restaurant Sol i Vi

Catalonia has a reputation for its excellent gastronomy so when you go for a trip to the Costa Barcelona, you have high expectations of great wine and dining, after all we are constantly told how good the Mediterranean diet is for us. I love simple food. Good quality and quantity are my essential ingredients. Costa Barcelona’s treats surpassed anything that I could have imagined and that is truly an accolade.

The secret of Costa Barcelona’s success has to be the exceptional quality of the produce that comes from both the land and the sea. So whether you prefer lamb and pork or fish or vegetables, or want to try a little of everything, the flavours will stimulate your taste buds in such a way that it seems as if you are savouring food afresh. 

What is clever about its dishes that it allows the chefs to be creative and to put a modern spin on classic recipes resulting in a rich and varied cuisine. It does not matter if you choose to eat at a Michelin starred-restaurant or a local rustic eaterie  the food will be sensational.

Salmon starter at Hotel Restaurant Sol i Vi

Tapas make great starters and allow you to try a little of everything. The staple  “Pan Catalan” (thick toasted crusty bread rubbed with fresh tomatoes and garlic, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with a little salt) washed down with a glass of chilled Catalonian white wine is one of life’s pleasures.

I ate at an array of gourmet spots during my trip. Each offered a tempting menu. Even when I thought I had a big lunch and would not want dinner, I was always enticed  to indulge once again.

One that I was really impressed with was the Hotel Restaurant Sol i Vi, a traditional farmhouse in the Alt Penedès region. The good-sized portion dishes were outstanding. The amazing mix of starters would set any taste buds alight. A favourite was marinated salmon. The huge turbot that I had for my main course was sublime. It was so fresh, it was if it had jumped straight from the sea to my plate.

The restaurant also has an extensive wine list – well it is surrounded by vineyards. Costa Barcelona has a wine culture that dates back thousands of years, so you are going to find some superb wines here. Cava may be the star of the show, but try some local whites and reds, you will be impressed.

Another great place was Lasal del Varador in Mataró. Right on the beach looking right out on to the alluring blue sea. It serves deliciously large portions of organic food and has great eco credentials. Built, I was told, according to the criteria of bioclimatic architecture, it has solar panels so it generates its own electricity as well  having as a solar thermal energy system to obtain hot water and run the heating.

I had fresh anchovies followed by hake. For dessert I had the strawberries from Maresme, which are renowned for their excellence.  

While on the Costa Barcelona you should try Crema Catalana, a rather scrumptious version of crème brûlée.

The Porta d’Alella is not only a charming and serene hotel to rest your weary head at the end of a long day travelling around the area, but its restaurant "Les Terrasses" serves up an enjoyable meal. I happen to like grilled squid with a little salt and pepper and this was pretty memorable.

Blue-legged chickens from El Prat de Llobregat served at  Ona Nuit Restaurante,

At Vilanova i la Geltrú, seafood was once again the choice at Restaurante El Marejol. Fresh fish straight from the fisherman, washed down with delicious wines, what more could you ask for? The Vilanova prawns served on ornate-trimmed plates (a tribute to Gaudi, I think) were rather good.

One of the best goat’s cheese salads I have had in a long while has to be the one that I had at the Café del Mar, also in Vilanova i la Geltrú.  

I could not leave the Costa Barcelona without trying the blue-legged chickens from El Prat de Llobregat. The place to go is the stylish Ona Nuit Restaurante, not too far from Barcelona Airport. It has a lovely ambience and dishes up an innovative menu. Good wine list too. It is full of locals so you know it has to be good.

If you hate holidays where the days evolve into set patterns and prefer them to be a whirlwind mix of gastronomy, lazy days at the beach topped off with a little culture, it’s time to head for the Costa Barcelona. 

By Daralyn Danns

Getting there
Vueling airlines offers direct flights from London Gatwick to El Prat airport, Barcelona, For the best fares and more information visit 

Hotel Solvi Passeig Ribes Roges 1 Vilanova i la Geltrú  Barcelona

Hostal Cal Pla ( Avinguda Catalunya 56 (Sant Llorenç Savall)

Hotel Porta d’Alella (  Av Sant Mateu, 5-9 Alella

Tourist information
Barcelona is much more ( and (

Barcelona Province Council ( Tel: 00 34 93 402 22 60
For more information about wine tours and other activities at Alta Alella, visit

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Spotlight on Dove Advanced Hair Series: Youthful Vitality

Working for a considerable time in the beauty industry, I have tried a countless number of hair ranges at all price points. In recent years, I found myself using more and more shampoos and conditioners from mass market ranges – even though I still have favourites from superb high-end ranges such as Leonor Greyl.

Dove is one of my go-to brands and I have lots of its body washes and lotions propping up my bathroom cabinet shelves. I have also discovered it is rather good at making hair products. You don’t have to spend a fortune as formulas can be similar to those of the expensive brands. To ensure the best results, buy the correct product for your hair type. 

I recently put the new Dove Youthful Vitality range, part of the Advanced Hair Series to the test. The products are meant to give a boost to ageing, dry and thinning hair. Thankfully, although I may have a oily scalp and dry ends, I have plenty of hair. But, as the formulas are gentle, I thought I would give them a whirl.

The shampoo (£5.99) and conditioner (£5.99) infused with cysteine rich-protein and elasto-lipids, left my mane feeling soft and silky and did pump up the volume without weighing it down. 

In my books, the hero is the BB cream (£6.99). It helped to invigorate my hair. I also used it during the day, mixed with a couple of drops of the Dove Pure Care Dry Oil (£9.99, suitable for all hair types), infused with African macadamia oil, when I had a frizz attack. It did make a noticeable difference.  

The Youthful Vitality collection is another winner for Dove. 

By Daralyn Danns

Friday, 15 August 2014

Spotlight on Lancôme Grandiôse mascara (£24.50)

A coating of mascara instantly defines your eyes and opens them up. But, finding the right one is no mean feat. 

According to Lancôme, who makes some of the best mascaras on the planet, mascara is one of the trickiest products to master to its full potential. Not only are there areas that are hard to reach, but women can have difficulty in applying it to the eye on the opposite side to the hand they are using to apply the mascara.

You can rely on the clever bods at Lancôme to come up with a solution. Their wand, shaped like a swan’s neck, is perfect for getting right into the roots. 

It is so easy to control. I am able to paint even the most difficult short lashes. I started from the outer corner of the eye moving inward, wiggling the wand from the base of the lashes to the tips. My lashes were transformed into a lush full-fanned fringe in seconds with one easy stroke. It is an intense black, so it really makes your eyes pop.

This is a mascara that you will want to take pride of place in your make-up bag. It is going to be creating quite a stir in the beauty world.

By Daralyn Danns