Masks & Treatments for Dry or Damaged Hair

Masks Treatments-for-Dry-hair

Anyone else find that their hair needs a little extra TLC at this time of year? If your locks are post-Summer parched, weary of heat styling or just looking a little blah, you probably need one of these in your life…


Phytokeratine Extreme Exceptional Cream has multiple benefits to repair and replenish dry and damaged hair. Applied to clean, towel dried hair, it offers heat protection and acts a bit like a leave-in mask. I’m a big fan of Phyto hair products already, and this one leaves my hair feeling incredibly soft with reduced frizz. I also add a little to mid lengths and ends between washes to smooth frizz and add a moisture boost. Styling cream, heat protection and damage repair in one, the pump bottle is a bonus too.


I’ve talked about the Aveda Smooth Infusion line before (here), so was really happy to discover the Smoothing Masque, which helps tame excess frizz and leaves my hair looking a little less… well, embarrassing! I often dip into this instead of using a regular conditioner as it’s nourishing, yet light enough for regular use and doesn’t weigh my hair down.

LabelM-Honey Oat-Mask-review 

 Label M Honey & Oat Mask is the one I roll out when my hair is at the end of its tether, or I’m at the end of my tether with my hair. The two often collide. This is a super rich and hydrating mask which really packs a nourishing antioxidant-packed punch to restore and protect hair from further damage. And oh my word the scent… this really does smell like the sweetest honey - sublime. I tend to save this for use before special occasions when I need to know that my hair will behave, or when I just need a fix of that scent and silky softness. If you haven’t tried Label M before, I urge you to give it a go… pretty much everything I’ve tried from this brand has been incredible. 


My Bathroom Shelfie

 Bathroom-Shelfie-ThisWorks-Light-Time-Cleanse&Glow, ArranAromatics-Seaweed-Scrub,MOA-Fortifying-GreenBathPotion,Boucleme-Curl-Shampoo-Cond

Today I thought I’d share a peek at my bathroom shelfie (yep, a selfie of my bathroom shelf) and the products I’ve been reaching for most.

MORNING SHOWER  |  Roger & Gallet Bienfaits Invigorating Shower Gel is one of those rare make-me-smile in the morning products. It smells as good as the perfume line and I love how the orange, bergamot & lemon scent lingers in the bathroom and beyond after I’ve used it. Happily its soap/ sulphate/ paraben free formula doesn’t irritate my dry, sensitive skin; it’s just a pleasure to use.

MORNING CLEANSE  |  This Works Light Time Cleanse & Go is the newest addition to my shelf and a real favourite. Designed to rejuvenate and hydrate tired skin, it essentially provides an instant mini facial. It starts off as thick balm, which I massage into dry skin, then add water to activate the Vitamin C content and give my skin a wake up call. I just leave it on while I shower, then rinse off after with a flannel. Smells beautiful, gorgeous texture, rinses off easily, leaves my skin feeling beaut - job done.

THE SCRUB  |  Arran Aromatics Seaweed & Mineral Salt Scrub is a weekly treatment to slough off dead skin cells and the dregs of any self tan, leaving my skin feeling baby soft. It smells like the sea, contains minerals and moisturising oils and works really well on legs pre shaving. I find it just as effective as similar much pricier scrubs by NEOM and ESPA, at around a third of the price.

BEDTIME BATH  |  MOA Fortifying Green Bath Potion contains a herbal blend to de-stress the mind, ease sore muscles and tone skin, so a real all rounder! I adore the apothecary style packaging and unusual peppermint and fennel scent, which I find really uplifting. I love plunging into this when I’ve had one of those days where I want to shut the world out and unwind before bed.

THE CURL REVAMPER  |  Boucleme Curl Cleanser & Conditioner are part of a range for proper curly hair. My hair used to be way more curly than it is now, with a mix of loose ringlets and tousled waves. Styling it has straightened out the curls a lot, which is annoying when I fancy having them back for a while… greedy I know. This sulphate-free formula cleans and conditions without stripping the hair. I tested it on naturally dried hair with a little of the Curl Defining Gel and together they did seem to add softness and a little more definition to my waves. I also tested it on my daughter’s ringlety curls which looked gorgeous after… if you have truly spiral curls, I’d definitely give this a go. These mini bottles are part of a travel kit, which I always think is a great way to try new hair products.


New in: Tried & Tested September Beauty


I thought I’d gather up some new products I’ve been testing this month and share my thoughts - some good, some not really for me. Grab a cuppa - it’s a bit of a rambly chatty one…


HAIR  |  You may have heard me say before that I’m not big on texturising sprays as my (frizzy) hair has too much texture going on already. Well I’ve finally discovered one that adds oomph and body without grit and feels light as air in my hair. Joico Hair Shake is a liquid to powder formula with a super fine mist and the best I’ve tried for adding height to roots and bringing second day hair back to life.

RED LIPS  |  Max Factor Lipfinity in Always Chic is one of the best red lipsticks I’ve tried in a long time. It’s quite a neutral red that suits all skin tones and I find it really flattering on my paler Autumn pallor. The texture is smooth and comfortable with good lasting power and I’m a fan of the slim bullet and gold packaging.

FOUNDATION  |  No7 Airbrush Away Foundation is a new liquid formula with great coverage for a flawless finish. It comes in a dropper bottle, similar to much pricier formulas and I’d describe the coverage as the higher end of medium. On my skin it instantly gives the effect of foundation and concealer that has been set with powder - in a single step - brilliant if you’re on the run. Personally I prefer a more dewy finish on my dry skin, although it’s not a flat matte and the texture and formula do feel very sophisticated. I think combination/oily or normal skins that enjoy a matte finish will love this.


BB EYE PRIMER |  Air Patrol is a new release from the ever innovative Benefit, which I couldn’t wait to try. It’s a BB cream eyelid primer with SPF20, so it’s tinted to even out skin tone, has skincare benefits and gives eyeshadow more intensity and longevity. It definitely ticks all of these boxes, though doesn’t prevent creasing on my lids, which are very crease prone to be fair. It’s a good option when I’m not wearing shadow, doesn’t look dry or cakey and a great way to protect the delicate eye area with SPF.

NATURAL LOOK LASHES  |  Simply Fleur natural look false eye lashes were created in a collaboration with Eyelure and YouTuber, Fleur de Force. I sometimes feel a bit ridiculous in mega falsies for a night out, but love the fluttery volume that these add - and the fact that they’re reusable! The fine band is almost undetectable and comfortable on the eyes as it’s so flexible. I’m planning to try the individuals next for an even more subtle look!


MATTE LIPSTICK  |  Pixi Beauty has just released a set of Matte Lustre Lipsticks, so named as they have a matte finish without looking completely flat on the lips - and contain plumping hyaluronic acid. Plum Berry is a great Autumn shade that leans more berry than plum in my book. These have some kind of magic that seems to weld them to the lips instantly… it’s as if I can literally feel my lips sucking in the colour for a stain that lasts and lasts. I find the formula a little dry on its own (although it doesn’t look dry), so do need a slick of balm on top, which leads nicely on to…

LIP FIX  |  I say lip fix rather than balm as I consider Lanolips 101 Ointment to be more than just a regular lip balm. I used the original balm recently on sore cracked skin on my hand and it eased almost before my eyes. I know that some people are down on lanolin as an ingredient, but it can work wonders on truly dry, chapped or sore skin - and Lanolips is made with medical grade lanolin. Apple is one of three new 101 Fruities with vitamins and antioxidants, also available in Strawberry and Peach, all made with real fruit juice.

GEL TIGHT LINER  |  You may have heard my recent pleas for a cool toned brown eyeliner with great lasting power - you’d think this would be the easiest quest in the world, but no! Happily I’ve now found one in the form of Suqqu Gel Eyeliner, a new formula in a twist up, superfine gel pencil. It applies smoothly as silk and I particularly like using it to tightline as the nib is so slim that it can be applied right on the lash line. I find that there’s only a short window to soften it (if required) and the little smudger on the end is the best I’ve used bar none. Saddo that I am I find this almost as exciting as the liner itself! If you like to be more adventurous with colour, this also comes in a gorgeous limited edition Bordeaux shade. The Dark Brown is very dark, yet softer (and more flattering on me) than Black.


SWATCHES  |   No7 Airbrush Away in Deeply Ivory  |  Max Factor Lipfinity Long lasting Lipstick in Always Chic  |  Pixi Beauty Matte Lustre Lipstick in Plum Berry  |  Suqqu Gel Eyeliner in Dark Brown.

I was colour matched for this in Boots with a clever little electronic device which reads the colour of skin on the jaw line. It looks quite dark on my arm here but when blended on my face is a perfect match. I love that the little swatch card also suggests lipsticks to suit the colour you’ve been matched to, nice touch!


MAKEUP BAG  |  I almost forgot to mention the cute Orla Kiely Oval Flower bag… officially a medium wash bag, I find it the perfect size for makeup and love the separate front pocket for brushes and smaller items. The brightly coloured pattern makes me smile and is easy to find at the bottom of any bag, always a bonus!

My top picks from all of the above? Max Factor Lipfinity, Suqqu Gel Eyeliner and Lanolips. 

If you have any questions or would like me to do a more in-depth post on any of these products, please  let me know - you can leave a comment below, on my Facebook page or email me via the Contact Me button on the right. This was a different kind of format for me… do you like these kind of rambly posts chatting about different products? Is anyone still there?! ;)


Clarins Feed 2015: Gift with Purpose


I love to see big brands get behind important causes, so was delighted to see the return of Clarins’ ‘Gift with Purpose’ in  support of FEED Projects.  It works in a similar way to a regular GWP -  if you buy two Clarins products (inc 1 skincare), you’ll receive a generous gift - and 10 children in developing countries will receive a nutritious school meal through the UN World Food Programme. Win:win!


Here’s a closer look at what you get…


Each Clarins Feed 2015 ‘Gift with Purpose’ bag contains 5 iconic Clarins products:

  • Moisture-Rich Body Lotion 100ml
  • Relax Bath and Shower Concentrate 100ml
  • Gentle Refiner 30ml
  • HydraQuench Cream-Mask 30ml
  • Hand and Nail Treatment Cream 50ml.

As you can see, they’re all generously sized and really lovely products that you could keep for yourself or divvy up as gifts.

Last year Clarins and FEED Projects exceed their target to provide one million meals, going on to secure an amazing 1,458,000. This year, they hope to provide 2 million meals. You can help them reach this target and support FEED 2015 at Clarins counters, where you’ll receive the above gift with any two products (1 to be skincare) until 3 October 2015.


Michael Kors Gold Fragrance Collection


The Michael Kors Gold Fragrance Collection features 3 gold-gilded scents to mirror the designer’s new sculptural jewellery line. White Luminous Gold, Rose Radiant Gold and 24K Brilliant Gold are encased in statuesque glass bottles that look (and feel; they’re heavy) like actual gold bars… the epitome of glamour.

The perfume notes are:

  • White Luminous Gold - pear, jasmine and amber
  • 24K Brilliant Gold - orange mandarin, florals and woodiness
  • Rose Radiant Gold - spice, rich florals and soft musks

The trio reminds me of a Russian wedding ring I received for my 21st birthday, with intertwined bands of rose, white and yellow gold - all the rage back in the day! I adored mine and have had a soft spot for rose gold ever since, so was automatically drawn to the Rose Radiant Gold. This one smells great in the bottle or sprayed into the air, but for some reason smelt different on my skin… I guess my skin chemistry affected it in some way, but I suspect this will be the most popular of the three.

White Luminous Gold is bright and effervescent, with crisp edges and a floral note that reminds me of iris (though it doesn’t contain any to my knowledge) and takes me back somewhere I can’t quite put my finger on! My pick of the three is the softer 24K Brilliant Gold, with a mandarin opening and woody dry down that has good lasting power on my skin. I’m not sure if its florals include rose, but I  seem to catch a whaft of it…

While the warm and sensual Sexy Amber remains My No1 Michael Kors scent, I suspect the Gold Collection and that decadent packaging will lure a lot of fans!

Michael Kors Gold Fragrance collection is available now (in 30/50/100ml) from £39 here.


House of Fraser Beauty Confidential 2015



After ticking off my sister for missing out on House of Fraser’s Beauty Confidential offer when lipstick shopping today, I raced home to make sure you lovely lot know all about it! (To be fair she was distracted by the Estee Lauder GWP; we are related after all.)

The lowdown is that if you buy a beauty product from House of Fraser, you’ll save £10 on one of their beauty favourites. There are 32 to choose from and the offer runs until Tuesday 22 September, in-store and online.

If you need a little help choosing from the 32 favourites, here are my Top 5 and the reduced price you can get them for!

  1. NARS Audacious Lipstick £24 £14 - NARS’ latest lip launch for a luxurious pop of colour in one stroke - I want one in every colour!
  2. Benefit Roller Lash £19.50 £9.50 - fuss-free fluttery lashes with great length and definition from a slim user-friendly wand.
  3. Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint Touche Éclat Foundation £31.50 £21.50 - brilliant for normal to dry or mature skins that like light to medium coverage with built in glow!
  4. Laura Mercier Primers £29 £19 - since I first discovered these, I’ve never been without one. I currently have the Foundation Primer but will try the Radiance formula next (offer applies to all formulas).
  5. NARS Blush £23 £13 - I don’t talk about these enough but have used them for years and still think they’re one of the best blush formulas around. I have my eye on Gaiety, a really pretty pink.

House of Fraser Beauty Confidential 2015 includes lots of the most popular new releases, like Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette, Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum foundation and Estee Lauder New Dimension Serum. 

See the full list of 32 favourites here if you need to top up on anything, now’s the time!

NB a few brands are excluded from this offer, but most are available - I’ve just spotted Tom Ford Beauty - this could be dangerous!


NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex & Photography Fluid


NIOD stands for non invasive options in dermal science and described as skincare for the hyper educated - love this! It’s owned by Deciem, who regular readers have heard me rave about before. While Deciem is pretty cutting edge, NIOD takes skincare science to a whole new level and I’ve been trying out two of its products in recent months, Photography Fluid and Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex.

Bear with me, you need this!

I’ve joked in the past about wishing I could wear an Instagram filter all day every day… well NIOD Photography Fluid is basically an instagram filter in a bottle. Developed specifically for use in photography, it adds a golden radiance to skin and has been nicknamed the selfie serum. Mind blown. While I personally tend to ‘filter’ my skin with highlighting concealer and radiant powders applied over my makeup base, I can’t help be impressed by the science of this.


The product that really blows my socks off - applied daily since I received it - is NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex. Remember my rave about Deciem’s Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age (review here). Well think of this as Hylamide on speed. While Hylamide SubQ targets the 7 signs of ageing (very well), Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex is an advanced serum with 12 hyaluronic compounds, designed to add a plump, comfortable feeling to the skin.  

And it does.

If you’re in need of hydration, look no further as this is essentially hydration bottled. Its mega Hyaluronic content (skin’s own natural hydrator which decreases as we age), is delivered in a way that offers deeper hydration than before. The consistency is a light clear fluid, which I use daily under moisturiser and will soon be repurchasing as the bottle above is now almost empty.

I feel as if my skin breathes a sigh of relief and thanks me profoundly every time I apply this - and have had no dry or flaky patches since I started using it.

NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex, £38 at


KIKO Rebel Romantic: Top Picks


You know you’re onto a winner when several items from a collection reach instant favourite status, which is what happened with KIKO’s Rebel Romantic drop. Beautifully presented in luxe rose gold packaging, this range indulged my early Autumnal yearnings for rich makeup tones that warm the complexion. If you haven’t heard me rave about KIKO before, it’s an Italian brand that regularly delivers high end quality at High St prices - and I’m a big fan.


My hands down favourites are the Intensely Lavish Lipsticks and Metallic Shine Eyeshadows. The lipsticks are dreamy in formula - creamy, well pigmented and with pretty good lasting power. I’ve worn the lighter nude pink shade 01 almost daily for several weeks now - the one in this pic is my back up - that’s how much I love it! 

The Metallic Shine Eyeshadows have a creamy powder formula that reminds me of set pigments - the payoff on these is insane and my pics really don’t do them justice. I love this kind of swipe-on shadow for lid colour that’s quick and easy to apply and know I’ll wear the green shade in particular a lot this AW.


Swatches from top:

Metallic Shine Eyeshadow in Charming Sage 05 - a  dark sage green that’s rich and interesting, yet wearable - and Strong Chocolate 03 - an aubergine toned rich dark brown. It was quite dull when I took these pics; both shades are definite metallics when they catch the light and the green delivers that gorgeous surprise-when-you-blink factor.

Lavish Lipstick in Lusty Peony 01 - a mauve rose that I’d describe as a deep nude is gorgeous for everyday and pretty much my perfect lipstick! Mild Sangria 04 - a deep berry red that’s particularly flattering on pale skin and easier to wear than traditional scarlet red lipsticks. Love this over the matching liner, which gives it great lasting power. My friend and I both wore this at the weekend (I did her makeup) and she looked amazing in it with her dark hair and pale skin.


The Contouring Pencils (Light to Medium 01) come in a set and are a great budget alterative to the Smashbox or Clinique versions. I actually prefer the contour in particular as its cool tones suit my skin. The highlight adds a very subtle sheen, great for brow bones where I don’t like too much shimmer. These are pretty foolproof and a good option for anyone new to contouring as they’re difficult to overdo, which is a good thing in my book. They can be blended out with the shorter end of the Rebel Romantic Face Brush, though I find a quick blend with fingers does the job.


The Reckless Spirit Eyeshadow Palettes are available in four colourways;I was sent Fiery Rose in all matte tones of wearable dusky pink and purples - and Romantic Green, (online only) a khaki and grey  mix of matte and shimmer shades. Again these are well pigmented, though more subtle than the Metallic Shine shadows.

KIKO-Lusty-Peony-Lipstick-01 KIKO-Mild-Sangria-Lipstick-04

In these pics I’m wearing Intensely Lavish Lipstick in Lusty Peony 01 a few weeks ago (left) and Mild Sangria 04 this weekend. Both pics were taken on my phone so not the clearest, but should give you some idea. (PS I’d been wearing Lusty Peony for a couple of hours at this point; it’s a little deeper when freshly applied, but a good illustration of its lasting power.)

KIKO has impressed me once again - and I can’t recommend the Intensely Lavish Lipsticks and Metallic Shine Eyeshadows highly enough. Shop the full collection at or in-store if you’re lucky enough to live near one!

If you’ve tried KIKO, I’d love to know your favourites!


Sponsored: How to do a Messy Ponytail


Despite wearing my hair in a ponytail several times a week, I always struggle to make it look stylish. I see girls with a sassy backcombed crown and messy ponytail - and despite trying to master this ‘effortlessly’ chic look, mine ends up involving all the effort and zero chic!

I picked up a few great tips from this video, where YouTuber and blogger, Gabriella (aka Velvet Ghost) demos how she creates her casual messy ponytail...


  1. Gabriella began by generously spritzing Batiste Texture Me Texturizing Spray through her hair, concentrating mainly on the roots to add volume, body and movement. (Much lighter than most texturizing sprays I've tried, this doesn't weigh hair down or leave a horrible sticky residue, so I can spray it liberally for a naturally tousled look.)
  2. She then wound her hair up into a pony using only her fingers - no brush alert - to form a cute messy pony.
  3. Gabriella finished the look by setting her hair in place with Batiste Hold Me Hairspray (love that name!). Again this is lightweight, humidity-resistant and doesn't leave hair feeling crispy like some hairsprays can.

This last tip was my favourite as I'd never considered using hairspray for a ponytail, something I normally reserve for curls and blow dries. A light spritz from a distance before smoothing out any flyaways with my hand helps avoid the fuzzy frizz halo that I'm prone to with an updo, keeping things where they should be for longer.

*This post was sponsored by Batiste. Products purchased by me & all written content is my own personal opinion.


Spa with a View: Galgorm

River 2

My friends have always raved about Galgorm Resort & Spa and after a day of being pampered in pure luxury, I can totally understand why. I’d previously only been to the hotel on business back in my PR & events days, so couldn’t resist an invitation to try the full spa experience. The resort is in the middle of Ballymena countryside (yep, Liam Neeson’s hometown) with indoor and outdoor spa areas overlooking the beautiful river above.


I had the most overwhelming urge to own that glitter-filled table for taking product pics… just imagine!


My pics don’t do the reception area justice but it was SO pretty I literally wanted to move in!

I had a massage and detoxifying facial using Voya skincare, including an organic gel seaweed mask to replace moisture and encourage collagen production. The treatments were amazing and left my skin glowing. I loved all the little touches, from heated blankets to having my slippers put on my feet at the end and the beautiful miniature sorbet in the chill out area. Later when we took a break to cool off and have a drink, we were given dry robes so that we didn’t have to sit around in damp ones - and when I realised I’d forgotten a hair tie, the manager magically produced one.

It really is the little things! 

galgorm-resort-6 GG2012 0137

There were two outdoor pool areas - the jacuzzi below and the baths above with cooler temperatures - best experienced in that order!


After a swim, steam and cool shower, my friend and I chilled out on these thermal beds (nope that’s not us!) and enjoyed the riverside view.

FullSizeRender (11) Galgorm-August2014-0604-2IMG_6343

We finished up with a meal downstairs in Gillies, where I fell head over heels with these cute cows on the walls and ceiling!

I’d never experienced a full day spa like this before and didn’t think it was humanly possible to be so relaxed… the staff were absolutely lovely and every element extremely professional, yet personable. My friends and I are already planning a trip back!

You can see loads more pics and info on the spa and new Thermal Village here.


Clarins Joli Rouge Lipsticks 2015: Review & Swatches


Clarins Joli Rouge lipsticks have had an upgrade for Autumn 2015, with 25 extra moisturising shades launched this month in glamorous gold packaging. Lightweight, nourishing and long lasting, the formula ticks a lot of boxes for me.

On paper, there are similarities to Clinique Pop Lips, but these are actually quite different. Although well pigmented, they are much finer and more sheer in formula and texture - to the extent that it feels as if I’m barely wearing anything on my lips.

They do set a little, leaving a slight longevity-boosting stain, while remaining comfortable and moisturising. The plum shade bled a tiny bit on me, but my trusty invisible lip liner sorts that out (a regular lip liner would probably do the job, but I didn’t have one to match.)


I’m sharing my top 3 picks with you today - and trust me, it wasn’t easy choosing. I LOVE that lipsticks are available in so many subtle variations of colour now… anyone else remember how tricky it used to be to find one good nude shade - and not even that long ago?! I’ve gone for a nude, red and vampy shade, which for me tick most boxes and occasions.

Check out that beautiful curve at the tip of the bullet, which hugs lips and makes application a breeze. Not sure how it will last as the bullet wears down more as I’m a hardcore lipstick flattener, but I’m trying not to ruin this!



I used a single swipe of colour for these swatches to show how fine and semi-sheer they are, despite having loads of pigment. 2-3 coats deepens them and packs more of a punch - it’s great to have that option.

Namesake of the collection, Joli Rouge is a beautiful neutral red and probably the most pigmented of the bunch. I recently had my hair coloured a deeper shade of red and find that neutral or blue reds work much better for me now than my usual orange toned ones, so this is perfect.

I expected Soft Plum to be my favourite of the bunch - and while I do love it, I’ve changed my mind about favourites every time I switch shades. There is a darker, more vampy plum in the collection, but I really like the softness of this one, which makes it more wearable to me.

Soft Berry is a terracotta toned nude shade and a perfect everyday lipstick. It makes my face look brighter and healthier, without looking overly made up. Possibly the perfect early Autumn pick?

There are lots more soft nude tones available in this line, along with very wearable deeper shades. I’m really enjoying the lightweight slick of colour, which feels like it’s protecting my lips from that fresh new nip in the air - and the slight sheen that makes lips look fuller and more healthy.

The new Clarins Joli Rouge lipsticks, £19.50 are available now at House of Fraser, where you could save £10 as part of this month’s Beauty Confidential offer.

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