Monday, 25 June 2012

Prissy polish

My obsession with nail polishes is bordering on unhealthy, I should enquire about buying shares in OPI... Thought I would share with you a few of my favourite looks for fingers.

Lucky Lucky Lavender with spot detail of Alpine Snow, What's With The Cattitude and Planks a Lot

Designer De Better with Black Shatter

Glow Up Already (Makes me feel like my fingers are shooting stars - super glam!)

Black Cherry Chutney with Silver Shatter

What's With The Cattitude, Teal The Cows Come Home, Lucky, Lucky Lavender and Alpine Snow

This was my first attempt at water marbling I did a base coat of Alpine Snow to begin and marbled over the top. The edges are a little messy but overall I was happy with the finished product. If you want to give this look a try, search for the OPI tutorial on your tube. You will need patience but it gives such an amazing look, there are endless colour combinations too.

All polishes pictured above are the fabulous OPI nail lacquers - my fav!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Mermaids and water babies

Reading the May issue of Indian Vogue I found the most amazing photo shoot. I am in love with everything about theses images, the styling, makeup and the whimsical fantasy they create. I have an affinity with white sands, blue waters, mermaids and anything to do with the wonderful world of under the sea. This shoot inspired me to share some of my favourite things that are the consequence of my connection to the sea.

Photography by Luis Monterio, Sumer Verma and Umeed Mistry
Styled by Anaita Shroff Adajania

Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in Mermaid's Dream - This one is going on the wish list!

Illamasqua Liquid Metal in Phenomena

Nars Eyeshadow Duo in South Pacific

Napoleon Whipped Dream Tan Enhancer

OPI Nail Lacquer in Mermaids Tears and Sea Ya Later Sailor - Two of my favourite OPI polishes, I just found this swatch of them layered together, can't wait to try it myself! 

If mermaids had feet I'm sure they would want them to be in these gold Christian Louboutins

I can't wait to get back in the Australian waters and visit my old seaside home in Byron Bay. Counting down till summer, hope your excited about seeing the sun and crystal waters too. 

Monday, 18 June 2012

Bring on the bold lip

Loving bold statement lips at the moment and thought I would share a few of my fav lippies. I usually like to pair a bold lip with a very natural eye, either some light shading in the crease or nude eye shadow with some simple liner. It's best to just focus on one part of the face otherwise you can end up looking too over done and too colourful.

 L-R Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Electric Pink Matte, Chanel Rouge Allure in 64 Enthusiast, Mac Ruby Woo and Bobbi Brown Creamy Lip Colour in 50 Black Cherry.

Both the Smashbox and Mac lipsticks are extremely matte, I love this finish on lips and they have serious staying power. I defiantly want to be adding a few more matte's to my collection soon. You can also pop a lip gloss over the top to change the finish if you like. I love the shade of the Bobbi Brown but am wanting to try the same in a matte to give a more heavy coverage. It is a great lipstick if you are just dipping your toe into the dark lip and are scared about looking like a vampire, just apply lightly and then blot. Enthusiast by Chanel to me is a classic, I always feel like a lady when I wear it and hey, it's Chanel who wouldn't!

Facial Oils

Using oils on the face is a great way to keep your skin supple, smooth and hydrated. All skin types can benefit from this, even the oily ones out there like me! I thought I would begin by showing you a new oil I have discovered here in India, Kumkumadi. I recently purchased the version by Kama, it is the company's best selling product and is marketed as 'miracoulas beauty fluid'.

This is an Ayurvedic formulation and many different brands make a similar product. The fluid contains a blend of oils and herbs including saffron which will illuminate your skin tone. Banyan tree helps smooth fine lines and liquorice acts as an antiseptic. This oil should only be used in the evenings as saffron can make the skin photosensitive in the sun. You are recommended to use this every night and should see results after one month, due to my oily skin I only use this a few nights a week but am finding my skin is glowing more than usual. I found a website that ships a similar product internationally if anyone is interested.

Some other oils that are great for using on your skin in the evenings are rose hip and jojoba. Rose hip contains Vitamin A which makes it a great choice if you have oily skin, it is considered one of the 'dry' oils. It also has Vitamin C and E which together can help improve signs of photo-ageing (from the sun), helps cell regeneration and can also increase the levels of collagen and elastin in the skin. The life span of rose hip oil is approximately three to six months depending on different products, a trick is to smell it, you will know if it has gone rancid.

Jojoba oil is fantastic for use on the face and body as it mimics sebum or skin oil more than any other natural compound. It has antibacterial properties which help balance your skin's pH level. This oil is a natural antioxidant which will help fight free radicals in your skin. Jojoba oil is stable and if stored correctly in a cool, dark place it won't diminish with age. Most oils go on easier when the skin is a little damp, you can use warm water or rosewater, it gives some slip and helps the oil disperse easily over the whole face. Massaging the product in will help give tone to your facial muscles and improve blood circulation for a true glow!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Bathing beauties

So I have an announcement, I have become obsessed with luxurious baths lately. There are so many different creations you can add to a bath to help give yourself an at home spa experience. Some of these products have benefits apart from relaxation, as if we needed more reasons!

Milk and rose bath - you can either add powdered milk (2 cups) or regular milk (2 litres). You can choose to add rosewater or essential oil of rose and then to make you feel like royalty add the petals of a few roses. This will leave your skin wonderfully hydrated and smooth!

Flower baths - adding these flowers to a bath can have fantastic benefits
  • Carnations have a healing effect and can help reduce swelling.
  • Chamomile flowers can breathe new life into your skin. It is also said to add shine to your hair so make sure you let your hair soak.
  • Marigolds have anti-bacterial and soothing effects. 

Oil baths - I love adding coconut oil to my bath when my skin is feeling dry. You can also experiment with essential oils, add about 7 drops to a carrier oil (almond, jojoba or sesame oil) or you can add the essential oil to some shampoo to help it disperse in that bath. There are many essential oils each with their own benefits here are a few of my favourites. If you are pregnant you need to be careful when using these.
  • Lavender has a very calming effect and can help give you a better night's sleep, a great choice if you want a super relaxing bath.
  • Geranium can improve oily or acne skin and helps give life to dull skin.
  • Sweet Orange is good if you have a cold/congestion and also to relive stress
Here are a few of my favourite bath products to help complete your home spa experience.

Voluspa candle in Crisp Champagne - notes of sparkling brut, vanilla and barrel oak. One word DIVINE!

The Body Shop Milk Bath - only one tablespoon transforms the water into a fragrant bath of creamy deliciousness.

iKou Turkish Rose Bath Salts - these salts are hand blended in the Blue Mountains, Australia. Designed to nurture, comfort and soothe.

Lastly a glass champagne, wine, juice, whatever it is that you enjoy to drink! To top it all off I like to have my latest book on hand to read. I hope you go and take some time out for yourself and become a bathing beauty xx

Friday, 15 June 2012

Chakra Balancing

I have recently been learning a therapy offered in the spa I'm working calling Chakra Blanancing Massage. There are a few different elements which are very interesting and also really relaxing with a holistic approach. To give you a little background, in Indian medicine chakras are wheels or energy centres located along the spine. Anodea Judith says "A chakra is believed to be a centre of activity that receives, assimilates, and expresses life force energy". There are seven main chakras, six of these are located in a line from the base of your spine to the centre of your forehead. The seventh is the zenith point as it said to be beyond the physical world and honours your spiritually connection.

Tibetan singing bowls are one of the elements of this therapy that is a totally new experience for me. These bronze bowls are used mainly in Asia for meditation, music, massage, Reiki and relaxation. The sounds these bowls produce is very beautiful and can help you ease into a state of relaxation. You can knock the bowls to produce a bell like sounds or rub the  playing stick around the rim (similar to rubbing your finger around a crystal wine glass) to create a harmonious vibration that can be felt and heard. 

In the Chakra Balancing therapy three to four Tibetan singing bowls are placed down the centre of you spine whilst your laying face down on a massage table. There will also be one bowl in the hand of the therapist, these bowls are each in turn chimed from largest (located at the base of the spine) to the smallest (in the therapist hand) and back again. The sound of the bowls immediately gives a centering feeling to the body. When each bowl is vibrated slowly by moving the playing stick around it, these vibrations slowly travel to each and every cell, nerve, tendon and muscle. The slight vibration gives relaxation to places that are unable to be touched any therapist in a standard massage.  These vibrations have been said to awaken dormant energy and balance the chakras. The final element of this treatment is a hot herbal poultice massage. A poultice is made from therapeutic herbs or flowers and tied in cloth, this is then soaked in warm oil and massaged over the body for a healing and beneficial massage. The combined aspects of this treatment leave you feeling relaxed, balanced and grounded in yourself.

The first time I felt the effect of the singing bowls was breathtaking. I was only on the bed for a matter of minutes and as soon as the vibrations started the relaxation rippled through my body. This is a beautiful treatment to take some time out, meditate and balance yourself. I am considering buying a set to bring home, I think it would be nice to offer something different to clients and I would love to give this treatment to my family members. There is so much more to be said about chakra balancing and I have been enjoying researching and learning about this vast subject, hope it may have opened your mind to therapy for you that will benefit your mind and body. 

Sending you this update from my little slice of heaven in the evening heat, feeling very blessed!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Coconut oil - one of my Indian discoveries

Since living in India I have become a hug fan of coconut oil and it's many uses. Back home in Australia I had read about and seen it for sale but since I have fairly oily skin and hair never really thought about buying it. Now that I am living in a desert area during summer where temperatures have been hitting 42 degrees celsius I have desperately needed some hydration!

My hair and scalp had become very dry and I have found that giving myself an overnight treatment with coconut oil has really helped. Every few weeks I just rub the oil into my hair and sleep in it. The next morning after washing your hair it looks shiny and healthy and all around fabulous.

To combat dry skin you can rub the oil into your body as you would a moisturiser, this works best after a warm shower. Another great way to use it on your skin is to add around two tablespoons of coconut oil to to a warm bath. While your relaxing the oil seems to absorb into your skin and after you dry off, your skin will feel silky smooth and super hydrated.

This photo was taken by my boyfriend while in South India at a coconut oil factory, it takes around 30 coconuts to make two liters of oil.

I have also read that you can use it internally and sales of coconut oil hit the roof when Miranda Kerr was quoted as saying she took around four tablespoons a day. I however am a little bit sceptical, I could understand there would be some benefits but I know the oil is high in saturated fat so if I ingested that much per day I'm sure I would look nothing like a Victoria's Secret model. I think I'll stick to using it externally. 

Saturday, 9 June 2012

The matter of masks

There are many benefits to using a face mask the main one being to improve your skin condition. If you think about what happens when you have a facial there is a lot of cleaning (double cleanse, tone, exfoliation) followed by a massage to increase blood and lymph circulation and also improve muscle tone. The final step is the use of a treatment mask which is chosen specifically to suit and improve your skin. Giving yourself a mini facial or applying a mask at home is a fantastic way to see results without sending you broke. Make sure you have thoroughly cleansed before applying your mask and also leave it on long enough to work, most have instructions on the packaging but in the spa the general rule of thumb is 15-20 minutes. I just purchased Kama Ayurveda Lavanya Natural Plant Mask which contains sweet flag and liquorice for antiseptic properties and also Lodhra which is a blood purifier. It comes in a powdered form as most Ayurveda products do as they are pure and natural ingredients. You make a paste with rosewater (normal/combination skin) or milk (dry skin) according to your skin type.

I was surprised how active this felt on my skin when I applied it, I could actually feel it working. I'm really interested to see the results after a few uses.The best part about this mask is the cost, just over $5 AUS, almost unbelievable! Although this product isn't available in Australia I thought you might be interested in learning about some new ingredients and their properties. I have recommended a few masks that I like for different skin types below.

Normal/Dry skin - L'occitane Immortelle Cream Mask $62 125ml
This a beautiful product, you can use as a cream mask or overnight if your skin needs extra hydration and nourishment. It contains essential oil from the Immortelle flower which defies ageing, it never wilts or withers even after being picked, so luxurious!

Sensitive skin - Algologie Comfort Mask $64 75ml
Although pricey this is a heaven sent if you want to reduce the appearance of broken capillaries or calm red irritated skin. It contains white clay to help with cell regeneration. I have used this mask when giving my Mum a facial and it gave some beautiful results.

Combination/ Oily skin - Alpha-H Purifying Clay Mask $30 100g
I haven't tried this myself yet but can't wait to give it a go when I'm back in Australia. I have been reading great reviews and think it's a fantastic price. It is a deep cleansing clay mask with Vitamin A for healing and jojoba to help balance oily skin.

If you already own a clay mask and want it to work dual action here is a good spa tip. Use as normal and leave to dry if you are feeling oily or congested. If your skin is feeling dry or dehydrated try 'wet packing' once your mask is applied. To do this fold some tissues in half and place them over your face. I usually use one across the forehead, one down either cheek and one on the chin and neck. Once this tissues are in place dampen them with a wet face cloth or facial mit. This will prevent your mask from drying out your skin too much but still give you the benefits although, you may look like a mummy so don't answer the door!

Friday, 8 June 2012

There is something you should know about me

The low down on toners

I have been reading a lot about toners that apparently close or shrink your pores. Don't believe it, the size of your pores is genetic and contrary to popular belief they do not open and close from the use of any product or hold/cold water. If you have oily skin (like myself) you are going to have larger pores, it is the trapped and hardened sebum that clogs the pore and makes it appear larger. Using steam on your face won't open your pores but it will soften the hardened sebum to make for easy removal. That said squeezing should be left to your therapist as they are trained to extract without leaving scars. Cleaner pores appear smaller so washing your face at least twice daily is your first step. I do a double cleanse in the evening, the first will remove your makeup and the second will thoroughly clean the skin and all those dreaded pores.

A wonderful teacher of mine once explained toners to me in this way. Imagine your skin is a sponge and it is very dry and hard, if you put one drop of water on it, it will take a while to absorb. But if you have a sponge that has just been wrung out and is still rather damp and put a drop of water on it, it will be absorbed immediately. The toner is helping your skin to stay hydrated and ready to absorb your serum and moisturiser. I currently using Pelactiv (no not Proactive!) Essential Clarifying Toner $27.00 from I find it is great for my oily/combination skin as it contains aloe vera for hydration but also witch hazel to help reduce the oil flow. I also just purchased Kama Pure Rosewater although this is an Indian product you could use any pure steam distilled rosewater. This is a beautiful hydrating toner more suited to dryer skin types, or anyone wanting a more natural alternative. If your using an oil in the evenings such as rose hip or jojoba having your face hydrated with rosewater will help give slip for an even application. I've been spraying it on my face to cool down from the desert heat here in Udaipur and it smells divine.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

A little of India

At the moment I am completing a three month internship at The Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur, India. The design of the hotel draws inspiration from Rajasthan palaces and includes majestic domes, hand painted frescos and intricate mirror work. The spa is no exception with views onto the spa pool and Lake Pichola.

The spa menu includes all the treatments you would usually expect in one of the worlds top spas, along with the more traditional Ayurvedic treatments. Facial products used are Omorovicza, which combines Mineral Cosmetology (a patented mineral delivery system developed by Omorovicza) with the healing thermal waters of Hungry. The products are fantastic with my current favourite being the Thermal Cleansing Balm. 

The balm contains Hungarian Moor Mud and sweet almond oil which dissolves all traces of makeup without leaving the skin feeling stripped or tight. It also has the most divine scent of orange blossom. I recommend using an oil based balm or cleanser similar to this in the evenings to remove makeup. You also need a cleansing mit or face cloth to remove the balm once you have massaged it into your face. Follow with a cleanser containing AHA's (such as lactic acid or glycolic acid) to give a deep and thorough cleanse. At around $100 AUS for 50ml this product is only on my wish list but I'm lucky enough that I get to have a play with products like this at work.