Easy steps to clearer skin: Green Beauty & Organic Skincare tips

woman showing her purple lipstick
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You may or may not have noticed, if you’re with me on Instagram, that I’m loving all things Tara Mackey at the moment (music, books, you name it…! If you haven’t read Cured by Nature or WILD Habits, you totally should, and I’ll post about them separately as they’re totally life-changing!) Her new single ‘Level Up’ is literally on repeat in my earphones 24/7 at the moment. Her message of how to cure all kinds of ailments, and make all kinds of great beauty choices, the green, natural, eco and ethical way is a pretty cool one… and something I’ve been starting to explore.

Sick with stress

I’ve been ill with stress recently, and for only the second time in my life it’s taken its toll on me physically (as in literally my body is reacting weirdly AF) – dermatitis on my scalp and eyebrows and palms of my hands, stomach pain (not as bad as the end of last year when I had chronic gastritis with stress, but still enough to make me do a double take!) and even vomiting. I knew whatever I was already doing (diet, exercise, not enough meditation) to manage stress clearly wasn’t enough, because I was actually getting sick. Medical advice was to reduce stress, which is about as helpful as saying ‘just get better!’

Treating your skin (& stress!) the natural way

At just the right time, I turned back to two books on my shelf that I read and loved a year ago by the gorgeous goddess that is Tara Mackey, founder and CEO of her own organic skincare company, activist, blogger at The Organic Life, musician and best-selling author (oh, and she does loads of work with orphanages and under-privileged children too!). Using her meditations and taking some natural plant-based supplements that she talked about in her book that are great from everything to overall health, reducing inflammation, and nature’s antidotes to depression and anxiety (always consult your doctor or a nutrition professional to be safe – I did extensive research before dabbling) I feel like a new woman (no word of exaggeration!)

Finally feeling better and full of new energy, I wanted to carry through some of the nature-based living into my beauty routine. An advocate of natural, green and ethical options, I love Tara’s style and have been interested in trying to clean up my beauty products for a long time now, but, frankly, just too lazy to do it. The one problem – most of her lovely recommendations are US-based, and I’m over here in the UK.

Get the green glow

I am a firm believer that every little helps, so I’ve done a little research, and am ready to go green! I’m not throwing out old products as that will just cause waste, but as they run out, I’m hoping I can track down cleaner, greener alternatives and I’m always on the look out so hit me up with recommendations!

For now, though, I just wanted to share some of my favourites that I’ve found, because I’m so so excited about these – each one has been so worth it!

Swapping all the nasty chemicals out for clean, natural products has been the best thing I’ve ever done for my skin. Not only did it clear up my stress-induced skin issues, but my skin is the glowiest-dewiest-softest it’s ever been… I’ve discovered my new regime just in time for my upcoming Winter Wedding!

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Clean, green brands you can find in the UK

The Body Shop was an obvious one to try, known for not-testing on animals and great nature-based products, I thought I’d try them out, although I have to admit I was dubious about whether their makeup would be as good – oh my god was I crazy to be skeptical! Their lipstick is one of my firm favourites (just the right amount of moisturizing and staying power, and they have great colours) [I have this Colour Crush Lipstick in Corbodona Petunia and I adoooooore ittttt], and their eyeshadow palettes are GORGEOUS (this Own Your Naturals palette is my absolute fave, the colours are great). They also have some lovely skin-care products (I’m now using their camomile waterproof eye and lip makeup remover and loving it because it actually works but is so much gentler and more soothing for my skin!) Their Matt Lip Liquid in California Rose is also my new ‘feel-good-pick-me-up’ go-to when I need some cheeky Cali/LA vibes, I’m obsessed.

Then I went to Planet Organic and picked up this natural shampoo by Jason Natural Hair Care which completely solved my stress-triggered horrific scalp issues in a matter of days without any of the nasty chemicals or coal tar normally in these types of shampoos, along with bathing in warm water with added lavender and geranium oil, which I also picked up from Planet Organic.

Plus a favourite skincare brand of mine for a while now since I discovered it maybe a year ago is Pretty Athletic, as its formulated specially for active women whose skin needs that extra care, it’s natural, vegan and not tested on animals (plus they’re the best working skincare products ever – the cooling gel cleanser is a daily staple for me, as is a face massage with their Recovery Boost Cell Repair Serum! This delicious serum is actually my number one skincare product that I absolutely couldn’t live without!)

While we’re talking about natural and ethical products, I’d also be letting you all down if I didn’t share my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE part of my bath rituals – Lush Cosmetics Intergalactic bath bombs. They’re absolute HEAVEN. And while I stopped off to pick up a couple of others (for a really nice girly pamper beauty ritual style bath, I love their Goddess and Sakura bath bombs too!) I made a cheeky impulse buy at the counter… their lip balm in Rose Lollipop might be pricey at £7.50 a pop but MY GOD is it the most delicious, hydrating, moisturizing, magical product I have ever put on my face maybe ever. It literally smells divine… I can’t stop putting it on! And it’s all natural, not animal tested, all that amazing clean green jazz so you can feel like you’re doing good things for the planet as well as your face! I literally feel happy every time I put it on haha (no exaggeration!)

Get your glow[-up] on!

Here are my top tips for skin health and feeling glowy inside and out:

  1. Source natural, organic products as much as possible, for cosmetics as well as skincare. I felt almost an immediate different (and the planet will too!)
  2. Cleanse, tone, leave it alone! Don’t over do it. A mask or exfoliate of a weekend is fine, but a simple, sustainable routine is better.
  3. Swap moisturisers for natural face oils and self-massage. This is great for stimulating circulation and lymphatic drainage to keep your skin looking young.
  4. Reduce or cut out caffeine and alcohol. Sorry girls, but it’s the best anti-ageing tip there is!
  5. Drink loads of water! Hydration, hydration, hydration!
  6. Get your vitamins and minerals, especially B, C, D, E and the omega / fish oils! A well balanced diet with fresh veggies is best, but supplements can be used where needed (consult a professional!)
  7. Tara Mackey’s book Cured by Nature has been a game changer for me – I’d highly recommend checking it out!

What are your favourites? Do you have any green and clean beauty recommendations? I’d love to hear from you.

B xoxox

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F*CK THAT: A message to the creators of those ‘what to wear for your body type’ graphics

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I said I wasn’t going to post about wedding stuff, because it’s very personal to me and my fiance and I are very private about that kind of thing.

But in looking for inspo, especially in the realms of The Dress, we came across a lot of graphics. They go something like this:

“What to wear for your body type:

Pear shaped? Wear XXXXX sihlouette.

Apple? Wear XXXXX sihlouette…”

And so it goes…

 

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And it’s not just weddings. Magazines and online articles tell you the ‘best slimming outfits’ or how to ‘dress to flatter your body type’.

Why am I kicking up about this?

BECAUSE YOU SHOULD WEAR WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD.

WHAT IS ‘FLATTERING’ IS WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD. PERIOD.

PS. FUCK ‘SLIMMING’. Just… don’t even start.

The problem with these cookie-cutter guides is they’re basically assuming a normative beauty standard (let’s call this societal ideal the ‘norm’ for ease) and by saying ‘if you’re a pear, wear an A-line dress to emphasise your waist and cover up your big hips’, what they’re implying is you need to create the illusion of a different body because yours isn’t good enough as it is.

Yes, this is a subtlety. But it’s there. And it’s insidious.

If they’re talking about black clothing being slimming or horizontal stripes NOT being slimming, they’re preying on insecurities and pushing the societal ‘norm’ and obsession with losing weight and being slender down our throats… and by recommending ‘slimming’ clothing, they’re undermining curvy and fat bodies, and suggesting they too should be ‘fixed’.

And they’re doing this so subtly with helpful ‘advice’ and tips that even little girls can come across in magazines… (during my EDs I consumed massive amounts of this rubbish, and it definitely helped fuel me putting my fingers down my throat… how terribly sad and twisted is that? But I didn’t even realise because it’s the ‘norm’, right?!)

Darling… let’s get something fucking straight. Your body IS good enough, exactly how it is. 

If, like me, you’re technically a pear shape (you gain muscle and/or fat most easily on your legs and hips, and your skeleton likely has a slightly wider pelvis than shoulders – so take note, no amount of dieting is going to change this!) and you want to wear a fishtail/mermaid sihlouette for your damn wedding dress, but these graphics and articles imply you shouldn’t because you should be trying to ‘hide’ or ‘de-emphasise’ your lower body…

F*CK. THAT.

Now, hold on, you might be thinking… but I am self-conscious about *insert body-part here* and I do want to de-emphasise it…

A couple of things: firstly – that is TOTALLY NORMAL AND OKAY, we all have insecurities. This is about dressing in a way that YOU feel confident and at your best. My issue is with a cookie-cutter approach that ASSUMES you want to do certain things, as this implies that you should, to conform to the ‘norm’, and if you don’t, you look ‘wrong’ somehow.

However, I’d also  encourage as a side-note to explore WHY you feel negatively about that body part – chances are you’ve been affected by messaging we’re bombared with EVERYWHERE about what our bodies should look like. When we’re born, we don’t hate our thighs, or our stomachs, or our chest or arms. We get hungry, we get happy, we sleep, we live life. Our insecurities are LEARNED.

And if you work on it, you can UN-LEARN them too. Case in point: I used to long for skinny legs. I’d repeate the 90s Kate-Moss-heroin-chic mantra ‘Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ while I threw up the 1 apple I’d eaten that day. Because I felt like being skinny, like models, actresses and magazine imagery that I saw as a young girl, was what I should be.

Now? I have wide hips, and I have strong quads, and it’s still where I hold more fat and muscle, while my mid-section doesn’t gain so easily. And I am more than OK with that. I love my body now. In the words of Shakira, lucky I have strong legs like my mother / to run for cover when I need it…

(But I do appreciate that its tough to get to that place of self-love. I know you can’t flip a switch. It took many, many years, therapy, briefly medication, reading anything and everything, soul-searching, a supportive boyfriend and a LOT of effort plus a Harley Street Nutritionist and a million positive instagram influencers to help fix me! To get started on your journey to accepting your body the way it is, click here for some life-changing stuff with Mel Wells…)

You’re allowed to want to emphasise the parts of your body you like most.

You’re allowed to want to de-emphasise or downplay the parts that make you feel less confident.

The only thing you should be wearing is whatever you freaking want.

The wedding dress issue is neither here nor there – the same is true for ALL outfits at ALL times.

On your wedding day, though, not only again do you want to feel confident and happy in yourself (so you don’t need helpful ‘advice’ about what society considers most flattering for you because f*ck the norm, f*ck general opinion, YOU are the one wearing it!), but you’re marrying someone who loves you AS YOU. You don’t need to look like anyone but yourself, or to try to fit into some constructed ideal.

Just wear whichever damn dress you please.

And if it happens to align with the advice? It doesn’t matter at all, that’s totally cool, as long as the advice isn’t the driver. If it’s genuinely what you want, go for it.

And if, as in my case, you’re likely to be breaking all the rules? Well, I’ll leave you with this babes:

kat
Photo credit: Pinterest

Beauty trend on trial… Jade Rollers

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I mentioned my brand new jade roller in an update to my recent Top 5 Skincare Secrets post here but realised I wanted to do a separate post on it because it seems to be having a moment in magazines everywhere… but does it really work?

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A study showed that there may be ‘subjective benefits’ to facial massage for those who partake but also noted that it may not be great for 1/3 of people who may experience breakouts (read more here).

What’s the deal?

I first came across the concept in Harper’s Bazaar and bought a jade roller last week, because I’m a sucker for marketing and particularly when its in good pieces in beautifully put-together magazines…

I personally don’t believe in the alleged powers of crystals (many people believe they have different healing properties), although I am of course always open to being wrong and hearing new evidence, my mind can always be changed if you show me why  – and I really do enjoy learning about other cultures’ beliefs around them. I totally appreciate that science doesn’t understand everything yet, so it would be crazy to be certain about anything. Jury’s out on if jade rollers have scientific benefits, apparently, but they feel damn good.

Where do they come from?

They were part of the beauty rituals of ancient Chinese Princesses throughout history, some claim [this article states that dermatologist David Lorscher, MD,  consulted a colleague from the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, who said she’d found ancient textual references to jade being used to even out a spotty complexion].

What do you do with it?

It’s an aid to facial massage, and you literally roll it across your face! There’s a larger end, and a smaller roller for the harder-to-reach under-eye area.

I’ve recently tried it and it’s changed my facial and massage game.

Top tip: pop it in the fridge and use it for a morning ice-cold massage and it feels amazing and does seem to reduce puffiness (supposed to be from the lymphatic drainage benefits!)

Either way, it feels bloody good. I bought mine from Spitalfields market for just £18. This chalkboardmag post tells you how to use one, or this greencreator article!]

What are the benefits?

In all honesty I think there’s a lack of evidence around benefits, but that’s not to say there aren’t any – just that we don’t know the details yet. However, don’t go and buy one thinking results are scientifically guaranteed.

Personally, as a minimum, I find it super relaxing, a really nice mindful and pampering complement to a facial.

However, JadeRollerBeauty.com describes further benefits it may have (quote below), though for obvious reasons the site may not be entirely impartial!

The action of jade rolling increases circulation and rids your skin of toxins via lymphatic drainage. Increased blood flow means your facial muscles will improve in their tone, effectively carving out the cheekbones and jawline. Wrinkles will be smoothed, increased blood flow will act detoxifying to the skin, and lead to more brightness, clarity, and a glowing complexion. Two rollers can be used in tandem during a facial. During a facial you may cool down the jade by placing the roller in the fridge, then use it to effectively reduce dark under-eye circles, or place the jade stones in warm water and roll over any serum to help it penetrate more deeply into the skin! – JadeRollerBeauty.com

“Jade rolling used to be reserved for the elite in ancient china. When we roll on the right side of our face first, it is said to promote prosperity for the client.” – JadeRollerBeauty.com

 Why jade?

Chinese medicine refers to jade as the “Stone of Heaven”. Purported benefits include relaxing the nervous system, and aiding in the removal of toxins… although please note my evidence based caveats earlier in this post!

Symbolising health and wealth, jade also represents longevity, prosperity and wisdom.

It is said that it has been used by the Mayans and African Egyptians as a massage and meditation tool for over 5000 years. – JadeRollerBeauty.com

So what do you think – will you be trying a jade roller any time soon? While I can’t promise guaranteed magical benefits, I really do love mine… and Roald Dahl does say that those who don’t believe in magic will never find it 😉

xoxo

#3 Inspire Interview Series – LEYLA COOPER – FOUNDER & CEO of PRETTY ATHLETIC

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Happy Friday everybody and thanks for joining for the third Q&A of our Inspire Interview Series! (If you’ve missed any, do check back on Kris Pace, KOBOX brand director, and Venetia Falconer, TV Presenter, blogger & influencer).

Today is a really exciting one because I know so many people dream of starting their own businesses, and even quitting their corporate jobs to pursue passion projects elsewhere…

Find out how the incredible Leyla Cooper, a former lawyer, now Founder & CEO of Pretty Athletic made the switch, and also her expert skincare tips! It’s a really great one because you can tell how much knowledge and hustle she’s poured in to make this wonderful brand a success.

I enjoyed working in law, but the prospect of running my own business and building a skincare brand from scratch was incredibly appealing. I am actually a very risk averse person, but I found myself spending evenings and weekends working on what would become Pretty Athletic and I loved it so much it didn’t feel like work. – Leyla Cooper, Founder & CEO of Pretty Athletic and former lawyer

If somehow you haven’t yet come across this increeeeedible skincare range, it’s a bespoke product line designed especially for active women, and it’s totally ethical (the products are super natural, not at all animal tested, and are registered with the Vegan Society). I came across it one day in Harper’s Bazaar, and fell head-over-heels in love! If you have yet to try their gorgeous products, be sure to visit their instagram, facebook and twitter to get the scoop. I honestly couldn’t recommend them enough, they’ve really transformed my skin.

So without further ado, let’s jump in with Leyla…

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B: Can you tell us a little bit about your background, and how you came up with the idea for Pretty Athletic?

L: I’ve always enjoyed running and exercise. I used to work as a lawyer, and exercise was something I relied on to help deal with the stress of work and to keep my head clear. Like many busy women I would fit in a workout whenever I could, be it an early morning run or a lunchtime or evening gym session. One day I realised that my skin post-workout was a challenge and amongst all the many skincare products out there for various skin types and situations, I couldn’t find anything specifically designed for active women, be it for pre/post workout skin (i.e. hot, sweaty, stressed, skin) or to help protect and repair skin that is subject to environmental damage whilst exercising outdoors.

B: What made you decide to take the leap and start your own business? What was your working life like before and has it changed a lot? How did you find the transition from working in law?

L: I enjoyed working in law, but the prospect of running my own business and building a skincare brand from scratch was incredibly appealing. I am actually a very risk averse person, but I found myself spending evenings and weekends working on what would become Pretty Athletic and I loved it so much it didn’t feel like work. Then my husband injured his spine (he’s fine now thankfully) and it put things into perspective and I felt that life is short and I had to leave to do this thing that I was passionate about. As for my working life, I worked hard as a lawyer but I work harder now.

B: It’s funny because I really suffered with skin issues when I started training more and waited a long time for a brand targeted at women who workout so I was crazy excited when I discovered Pretty Athletic – but how did you navigate the gap between having an idea when you realised it was something people needed, and creating a product?

L: In a nutshell:  Market research, a fabulous team of cosmetic formulation chemists, hours of product and ingredient research, and lots and lots of testing.

B: Can you describe a (working) day in the life at Pretty Athletic HQ?

L: Sorry to be clichéd, but no one day is the same. Each day I deal with a variety of issues including social media, new product development, website tweaks and improvements, customer enquiries, brand collaborations, marketing, retailers, VAT/invoices/accounts, events, liaising with my business partner and our fabulous intern Laura, and the list goes on..

B: What has been the most challenging part of moving from law to running your own business?

L: The success or failure of the business falls on me- and that’s a lot of pressure.

B: Do you have a favourite Pretty Athletic product?

L: For the face, our Workout Glow as I use it to cleanse and hydrate pre and post workout, and anytime during the day when my skin need a refresh, and I also use it every evening to remove my eye makeup. For the body, our Hydration Kick body moisturiser as I don’t like traditional body moisturisers as I dislike how they feel on my skin, whereas this is a gel not a cream and so it just sinks in and is so refreshing, and also it smells amazing – like a spa.

B: What advice would you give to someone looking to take the leap and start their own business?

L: You have to absolutely love it, as you’ll work harder than you’ve ever done before.

B: Have you made any mistakes along the way to where you are today and what have you learned from them, if so? 

L: I have made many mistakes, and each time I learn not to make those same mistakes again!

B: What are the best and worst bits of working for yourself?

L: The best is the flexibility; if  I want to go for a run at 3 in the afternoon to clear my head,  I can. The worst is that you take everything – such as any rejections – very personally.

B: What does ‘success’ mean to you?

L: Looking back and knowing I did my best.

B: Do you have a role model or mentor you look to for career inspiration?

L: I have never met her but I look up to and am inspired by Marcia Kilgore (founder of Bliss, Soap & Glory, and Beauty Pie) who despite having been incredibly successful never rests on her laurels and keeps building successful brands and coming up with innovative new ideas.

B: Can you describe your daily skincare regime? What are your top tips?

L: I keep it quite simple. In the morning I cleanse my face and apply moisturiser, plus SPF if the sun is out. Pre/post workout, and also at the end of the day I use our Workout Glow to cleanse and hydrate, and then before bed I alternate between a facial exfoliator and nourishing cleanser, I remove my eye makeup with our Workout Glow, and I then use a face oil. About half my skincare products are Pretty Athletic products or samples of new products from our cosmetic formulators that I am testing, and the other half are from other brands as I like to keep up to date with new products on the market. My top tip? Exercise – it’s amazing for your skin. (Just ensure you cleanse and hydrate after sweating!)

Quickfire

 Fave workout? Running

 Nut butter or avocado? Nut butter

 Massage or facial? Facial

Nature or nuture? Nurture

 Talent or hustle? Hustle

Chocolate or cheese? Chocolate

 You’re doing cardio: podcast or playlist? Playlist

 Moisturiser or face oil? Face oil

 You’re on a desert island and can only have 3 beauty products – what are they? Our Workout Glow, shampoo, and sunscreen.

 It’s your last EVER meal of your life. What do you order/make? Chocolate.

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Thanks so much for your insights Leyla!

Find out more about the brand here, and have a browse of the Pretty Athletic blog here.

xoxo

Top 5 Skincare Secrets

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I’m not a beauty blogger so this is straying a little out of my natural territory, but I’ve recently developed a bit of a new passion project for skincare, and working out how I can better take care of mine.

I’ve never had massively ‘problem skin’, growing up I was quite lucky… but as I got more active, I did find that parts of my cheeks got much drier… from all the salt in my sweat from working out so much I think (nice!)

It took me a while to perfect my plan of action as this moved me from the normal skin range to more combination skin – not super oily, but very slightly more oil-prone T-zone, and then drier elsewhere. After much research into the routines of my favourite beauty muses, and sampling lots of different products, I’ve arrived at something that’s simple and quick (it has to be, to be sustainable for me!) and seems to get results. Obviously we’re all prone to the odd breakout now and then, especially around that time of the month (!) but I’ve definitely honed my beauty routine and learned to love the skin I’m in much more. Here are the secrets I’ve discovered and stolen from the glitterati!

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

 1. Invest in good skincare products

I love Pretty Athletic, as it’s specifically targeted at athletic women so it’s great for gym-problem-skin. Their cooling cleanser doubles as a facemask which is amazing, and their workout glow hydraulic vitamin tonic just makes you feel super fresh and glow-y.

Whatever your jam for products, I really think spending a little more on quality here helps. Cheap and cheerful makeup wipes are fine in a pinch for when as a one-off you’ve had a few too many cocktails with the girls and don’t have time for a full facial and just have to get your makeup off, but they’re quite harsh and drying on the skin. Ditching the makeup wipes for quality cleanser has made a measureable difference for me.

I personally also really love Rituals skincare products. Their face oil is my secret weapon.

2. Royally flushed – face-sculpting facial massage

Sounds strange or super-expensive? It doesn’t have to be. I discovered this releatively recently while internet-stalking my long-time girl crush Meghan Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex (who seems to have managed to convert me from a republican to an okay-with-the-royals kinda girl! I’m ridiculous haha. I didn’t like her in Suits as she went from being sassy and independent to Mike Ross’s whiney girlfriend, but then all her humanitarian work and now defunct lifestyle blog made me fall IN LOVE. And as much as I want to be all ironic and nonchalant and politically principled, the Royal Wedding was beautiful and so much fun to obsess about! I am a bit ashamed of myself ha!)

Meghan Markle’s facialist (Nichola Joss) gives you the low-down here on how to nail the facial massage yourself from the comfort of your own home.

I pop 2-3 drops of this rituals face oil on my hands and follow the steps Nichola Joss gives above and it honestly feels AMAZING. I don’t know if scientifically it actually makes any real difference (although massage does stimulate blood flow to the relevant area and allegedly give the benefits listed below, taken from the Elle article!) but it just makes you feel so good… and even if they’re ‘placebo’ cheek bones, half of the battle with skin and beauty generally is feeling confident, in my book!

1. Removes tension and stress from your jawline leaving you with a softer but stronger muscle and the face shape you’re actually meant to have.

2. Improves blood circulation which helps speed up skin cell renewal which in turn means nice, plump new skin.

3. Gives your skin vibrancy and bounce.

4. Moving the muscles in your face helps flush out toxins and pollution that can cause congestion in your skin.

5. Improves your overall facial structure so there’s less need for botox or fillers.

6. Stimulates your lymphatic system, draining fluids that can cause puffiness.

7. Stimulates endorphins! You’re always happier after you’ve done some facial massage.

8. Helps you relax.

Elle Magazine, How To Nail Face Massage In Five Minutes By Meghan Markle’s Facialist

[Edit – after original blog publishing update – On the theme of this ‘massage’ tip and my new skincare obsession-cum-quest, I discovered (thanks Harper’s Bazaar) and bought a jade roller this week. While I personally don’t believe in the alleged powers of crystals, although I am of course always open to being wrong and hearing new evidence, my mind can always be changed if you show me why  – and I really do enjoy learning about other cultures’ beliefs around them. I totally appreciate that science doesn’t understand everything yet, so it would be crazy to be certain about anything. Jury’s out on if jade rollers have scientific benefits, apparently, but they feel damn good.

They were part of the beauty rituals of ancient Chinese Princesses throughout history, some claim [this article states that dermatologist David Lorscher, MD,  consulted a colleague from the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, who said she’d found ancient textual references to jade being used to even out a spotty complexion]

I’ve recently tried it – pop it in the fridge and use it for a morning ice-cold massage and it feels amazing and does seem to reduce puffiness (supposed to be from the lymphatic drainage benefits!) Either way, it feels bloody good. I bought mine from Spitalfields market for just £18. This chalkboardmag post tells you how to use one, or this greencreator article!]

3. It’s what’s inside that counts

Water

Okay, so it’s totally boring to keep being told to hydrate and drink water for clear skin, but drinking water really is key. Our bodies are made up of crazy amounts of water. Drink lots of it kind of goes without saying, really.

Micronutrients

But it’s not just water. Getting the right vitamins and minerals can do wonders for your skin, so make sure you’re aiming to beat the recommended 5 a day. I often strive for (not that I always achieve it!) 4 – 5 different portions of dark greens a day (so maybe spinach, broccoli and watercress on my lunch salad, then kale, rocket and asparagus with dinner!) plus 4-5 more serves of the ‘rainbow’ (red or yellow pepper, apple, Satsuma, pomegranate, carrot, blueberries, raspberries, courgette…) as Rhiannon Lambert, my beaaaautiful Disney Princess-esque Harley Street nutritionist days, NUTRIENTS NOT NUMBERS! (Her skin is flawless, too).

An easy way to do this is a green juice. I stalked this video interview from Shape Magazine of Meghan Markle prior to her relationship with Prince Harry and it prompted me to give up coffee for four months and swap for her fave green juice (apple, kale, spinach, lemon and ginger)- and I did feel pretty amazing (but then switched back to coffee as it tastes f****** good and life’s too short!) The Duchess also loves this superfood smoothie here.

Healthy fats

Omega-3 and general healthy fats in salmon and avocado and nuts like almonds are important for that plump, healthy, dewy-skinned effect too.

Yoga glow

And finally, when working from the outside in, both of my celeb skin crushes who have the most glowing skin – Emma Watson and Meghan Markle – are yoga fans (Emma Watson is even a certified yoga instructor!). Whether or not this has any direct impact on your skin is of course dubious, I’m not saying it’s magically skin-linked, but it’s great for body, mind and just generally feeling more poised and confident.

4. Keep makeup minimal

This is easier said than done for some people, but I’m a big fan of a natural look (although on actresses who are naturally beautiful I guess it’s easier than for mere mortals like me who don’t have an inbuilt glow and often feel a bit horrible bare-faced!) I do think it’s silly though that we’re made to feel less-than without makeup so it’s good to try to make peace with the skin we’re in and use makeup to enhance things, not cover them.

I try to ONLY WEAR A FULL FACE for a big event or if I need to have a photograph taken (and even then if I can avoid foundation, I will).

Try to perfect a daily 5 minute face that lets your skin breathe. Just mascara, gloss or lipstick and eye-pencil, with some emergency Touche Éclat conceal, highlight and contour pen or bobbi brown concealer can make you feel a million times better than being bare-faced, but doesn’t swathe your pores in product.

5. Saving [your skin from] the world

Sadly, living in cities, we’re exposed to a tonne of pollution, so a daily cleanse is super important… it’s scary how much gunk can collect just waltzing around London for a day.

Similarly, sunscreen is super important to protect from UV light and not just avoid burning, but avoid prematurely ageing the skin. It’s the number one thing that ages women quickly – and not in a graceful way! To avoid dry, leathery, extra wrinkled skin, it’s best to use SPF (high factor ideally!) and don’t forget to moisturise. I prefer face oil to moisturiser, but it’s personal preference and skin type I think.

Alcohol and cigarettes are also like kryptonite for the skin, so if you can’t quit, make sure you at least cut down as they’re pretty bad for our general health too!

And finally, we think a lot about what we put in our bodies food-wise… but have you ever considered what we put on our skin? Natural makeup and skincare products go a long way to minimising the additive junk we’re pouring through our pores – The Body Shop, Lush and The Honest Company are great places to start collecting ‘cleaner’ products. I didn’t even think about the chemicals in beauty products and the idea of using more organic stuff until I read this interview with Emma Watson. While maybe going 100% organic or whatever isn’t sustainable in affordability/practical terms, we can certainly aim for more!

Recently I’ve become super interested in sustainability and transparency and understanding what I’m putting on my face and on my body. It’s been a fun little mission to see how far I can go with it… Can I create a completely sustainable wardrobe? Can I dress sustainably on the red carpet? Can I put together a hair and makeup look with completely organic products? I needed to figure out if it was achievable or not. You can’t talk the talk if you don’t walk the walk. So that’s what I’ve been discovering over the past couple of years.

– Emma Watson, interview with Into The Gloss

 

The Secret to Meghan Markle’s Pre-Wedding Glow…?

blueberries-summer-fruit-fresh.jpg

So this week an email landed in my inbox from Rhiannon Lambert (her Rhitrition newsletter has all kinds of interesting nutrition nerdy news and tips so do subscribe!) linking me to an article in The Independent about Meghan Markle’s favourite smoothie. But the article misses out another favourite recipe of Meghan’s that she mentions in an interview with The Chalkboard, so scroll down to unearth this extra little royal gem!

It’s no secret that this gorgeous, smart, soon-to-be-royal was a fan of all things wellness before she took up with the Prince… and all fairytales need to feature magic and potions somewhere, right?!

Rhiannon Lambert, as I’m sure you all already know if you’ve been around this blog/insta a while, is an amazing Harley Street nutritionist (info on her book here) and in the article mentioned above, she breaks down the health benefits of the ingredients to Meghan’s go-to smoothie. The recipe Meghan claimed she uses can also be found in this article in Hello Magazine, but Rhiannon highlights how the protein powder could be improved to a healthier one, so I’m going to share a take on the smoothie that’s more in line with these Harley Street guidelines ❤

Meghan’s love of health was formerly shared with fans on her now-defunct lifestyle website, The Tig, but you can find some more goss about her healthy living and lifestyle philosophy in this Living Well With… Meghan Markle interview by The Chalkboard.

With the Royal Wedding coming up, I thought I’d experiment and give you a recipe made with these ingredients that you can blend up in time for the celebrations along with the bonus extra the Independent missed out… who knows, maybe we’ll get Meghan’s glow if we drink enough of it 😉

The Meghan Markle Classicbackground-berries-berry-blackberries-87818.jpeg

  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein – Neat is a fave of mine, but see Rhiannon Lambert Harley Street nutritionist recommendations here!
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsps chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • *Blend all ingredients*… & then:
  • Top with some unsweetened dessicated coconut, 3 blueberries and a mint leaf or two!

 

A Duchess Honeymoon [Bonus recipe] (adapted from this interview) pexels-photo-1024992.jpeg

  • 1 frozen mango
  • Squeeze of fresh lime
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • (optional: 1/2 banana or 1 Satsuma and 1 small handful of spinach)
  • *Blend all ingredients*… & then:
  • Serve with a little pineapple and/or a cherry, and voila!
  • (Also optional to serve: small wedge of lime/lemon)

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There you have it – two royally delicious smoothies fit for a princess!

If you liked having a little nose at this, you may also enjoy this piece by Best Health Meghan Markle: The Beauty of Balance for a Future Princess where Meghan discusses her yoga practice.

xoxo

10 Ways to Boost Body Confidence on Bad Days (without workouts!)

If you’ve seen some of my Instagram posts this week you’ll see I’ve struggled with a few ‘down’ days. It’s totally natural to have off-days, but I’ve really been tough on myself and feeling terrible about my body, which is a shame because I’ve worked really hard over the last couple of years to channel that kind of negativity into positive action – workouts, doing something constructive, and slow self-acceptance.

However, while social media can be a blessing, it’s also a curse because it often shows you all the flat abs, big booties, toned backs that you don’t yet have! So today I wanted to do a post on getting back body confidence and self esteem – without workouts! Yes, workouts and eating clean are critical to a healthy lifestyle and looking the way you want to look, but we shouldn’t obsess to the exclusion of all else! Especially when it’s making us feel bad, not good. When you stop feeling inspired, try some of these tips to put your mind in perspective and stop focusing on this one aspect of your appearance.

1. Go for a green juice or smoothie

This always makes me feel healthier from the inside out, and is great for your skin and/or muscle recovery depending on the ingredients in your selection! Planet Organic is one of my faves!

2. Power lip

Lipstick is one of my favourite things. A power lip LITERALLY changes my mood, every time. I love Burgundy, plum, red, magenta, anything bold, but experiment! See what makes you feel better. One of my all-time favourite (and affordable!) shades is Rimmel 107.
3. Have a blow dry

This always makes me so happy! I feel soooooo much more together when I have a blow dry / blow out, and my hair looks so much better than I ever get it to look. I always swish it and keep checking my reflection in windows and mirrors haha! It’s so silly, but such a lovely easy way to feel good about yourself.
4. Or if you’re feeling more radical… go for a restyle!

Whether it’s a colour change, just highlights or a dramatic chop, a big hair change always makes me feel like a new person.

5. If the hairdresser is a bit expensive… do a hair mask!

There are super cheap options in places like Superdrug, or make your own! Coconut oil is a great way to nourish your hair.
6. Have a bubble bath

Take some time to pamper yourself. While you’re at it, give yourself a facialmanicure and pedicure. Make an hour or so about feeling good about things other than your weight / fat / muscle. Screw the scale – you’ve got pampering to do!

7. Buy shoes

Heels always make me feel good, but whatever shoes you fancy, your shoe size feels SOOOOO much less stressful than your clothing size!
8. Treat yourself

Buy some cute accessories, books, DVDs, something you’ve had your eye on for a while… you deserve it!

9. Watch a feel-good film

Whether that’s a chick flick or superhero movie, Disney or black and white, I’m not judging! Just don’t pick anything sad. The goal is to cheer ourselves up here ❤

10. Listen to this song and know all girls go through this, and you’re not alone! It may not be your cup of tea stylistically, but it’s lyrics are important (below).

Hope some of these help girls! xoxoxo

Coconut oil life hack – instant teeth whitening!

coconut.jpgcoconuts-with-leavesCoconut oil is amazing – I love using it as lib balm, shaving cream, body lotion, hair mask, for cooking… And today I discovered another life hack!

I was skeptical when I saw this on instagram and wish I’d taken before and after pictures.

I’ve always really struggled with yellow-y teeth despite being a non smoker because I am a tea and a coffee drinker, and to top that, I don’t have milk – I always drink them black.

For years I’ve been meaning to save up and go and get them whitened professionally as k2-_fa36bb73-3e87-4d20-a520-0778f017b222.v1you hear horror stories about the chemicals etc. in DIY kits – it’s important to use a professional dentist.

But then I saw a natural tip on instagram and had a spare 5 minutes, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

It seems to have worked!

Mix some coconut oil with turmeric. It will look crazy yellow!

Brush it on to your teeth, give them a good scrub.

maxresdefaultLeave for 5 minutes and swill any oil around your mouth, this is no time for swallowing!

When time’s up, spit, rinse your mouth a few times, clean your teeth as normal with toothpaste and voila! Instantly whiter.

It worked for me! I’m going to try it daily for the next 7 days and see if I can give them a real lift. I’ll let you know how it goes.

These aren’t my teeth by the way. But maybe one day 😉

 

gym bag dive: post-workout beauty secrets

12321390_10154043329909571_5635629465917082248_nI always used to find lunchtime workouts stressful – having to shower, sort your hair and makeup, and get back to the office looking half presentable after a 40 minute sweat session, and rocking back up to your desk either a few minutes late or still flushed and bare faced? Nightmare!

A lot of you have commented that it really puts you off too, so I thought I’d share what I’ve now perfected as a 5 minute post gym beauty routine… it’s not perfect, but it’s a quick fix, with some great products!

Hair

Mark Hill Get Gorgeous No Knots Detangling Spray – I have crazy thick hair, so this is a must! A few spritzs and brushing my hair is a breeze… but only with my

Best Hair Day Tangle Teaser which I got from Birchbox– if you haven’t tried one, you really must. They’re old news now, but it’s a little grooming miracle.

Leave in conditioner – my hair is naturally very dry so I always have one of these two in my gym bag – Toni & Guy, or Aussie are my favourites.

Styling – From here, my favourite post-gym styles that take seconds are the Balmain high pony (do a real one or use this!), a side braid (or fishtail – see Zoella tutorial here for a quick how-to if you have very quick fingers!) as these disguise you if you still have damp hair but still look tidy and smart enough to return to work (or life outside the gym!)

Makeup

My aim is to be quick, but look like I’ve made an effort. I also like to take advantage of feeling healthy post-workout and fresh post-shower to let my skin breathe!

Grab these for your gym bag, and you’ll get your after-workout face on in literally seconds!

If my under-eye area is a bit dark, I’ll throw on some concealer, but my main gym rush makeup tactic is to focus on the lips.

My two favourite post-gym vibes are:

Rimmel London Kate Moss Lipstick Nude 40 – I love this nude for a natural, chilled look

Max Factor Colour Elixir Bewitching Coral 827 Lipstick – I am really into beachy tones, and this is a bit of a bolder lip, but feels fun, girlie and energetic, and it’s nice for a sassy post-workout glow.

Because I’m always feeling my most ‘sparkly’ after a workout, I like to team both of these with lipgloss. My favourites these days are these Beauty Rush Flavoured Glosses from Victoria’s Secret. Pictured is the Candy Baby  flavour, but I take Sheer Tropical Pineapple and Sheer Sugared Watermelon just as often, and I REALLY want to try the Sheer Mango Blush because I think the name is really evocative haha!

Queen Bee Vaseline – An alternative to lipstick and gloss, especially in Winter, is some nourishment. It gives your lips a subtle sheen too. Go queen bee for power woman lips!

Fragrance

I love scent, and am notorious for collecting perfumes. I picked these three for my gym bag recommendations as they’re my most-used post-workout scents, and they cater for low budget, mid budget, and a little higher.

I think scent is really evocative of mood, so I like to choose ones that prolong my workout high, and feel suitable for whatever’s up next!

Adidas Women Fizzy Energy – Super cheap, I picked this up for a couple of quid in Sports Direct, believe it or not! It’s a very simple scent – lemony, zesty, and energetic – exactly what it says on the bottle. Suitable for going back to work revved up again, or prolonging your endorphin-happy and feeling fresh, clean and light. I think the scent is a bit sporty and androgynous, so if you’re feeling that kind of vibe… do it! It doesn’t last long though, you do need to keep re-applying.

La Vie de Boheme, Anna Sui  – this bottle makes me so happy! Keeping the clean, fresh vibe of the above fragrance, but with fruity and floral tones. It’s very sweet and girlie, and usually that wouldn’t be my kind of perfume (I like them quite heady, spicy, woody) but it really keeps me in a post-gym mood. It’s light and playful, and a little bit magical. And I love the story it tells:

Born of a heart that embraces life to the fullest, the woman who seeks La Vie De Bohème is a poet. She lives half in the past with a nostalgic love for vintage, while firmly in the present with her own definition of style. She prefers authenticity and individuality to society’s norms. She won’t be tamed by convention, or controlled by the world. Self-expression and freedom are important to her, in a live-for-the-moment way. She’s playful and free-spirited, creating her own world one day at a time. La Vie De Bohème opens with a blend of feminine pink florals, rich burgundy berries, and a kiss of electrifying, sensual woods. The juxtaposition of fruity florals plays against mysterious woods to deliver Anna Sui’s signature good girl-bad girl ideal in a captivating, addictive fragrance. Life is beautiful. Life is romantic. Life is La Vie de Bohème. Notes of: Turkish Rose, Pear, Red Berries, Dragon Fruit, Magnolia, Peony, Freesia, White Wood, Skin Musk, Red Raspberries, Vanilla.

– fragrance description, Debenhams

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle – again, keeping it fresh. This can be a little sweet for me (I’m more of a Coco Noir girl!) but after a workout that can be too heavy. Coco Mademoiselle feels feminine, with a little boldness. Still a floral heart, but with a bit more punch. Wear to march back into meetings at work with determination!

 

So go ahead girls, pack your gym bag!

B xoxo