Saturday, 7 April 2012

Guest Blog: Skin Wonder Woman, Marie Reynolds

Marie Reynolds is fast becoming the go-to beauty expert for celebrities and editors. She has written three books drawing on her twenty years as a beauty and holistic therapist and frankly, if you've ever tried her Fifth Concept treatment at London's Four Salon, you'll think she's semi-Goddess.

Beauty guru Marie Reynolds
In fact, I had the Marie Treatment the day after returning from my hen in Dublin. Needless to say, she had her work cut out for her...and I was blown away by the results.

So who better to tell us how to look dewy on the big day - or any day, getting married or not, for that matter - than the woman herself? Welcome to Marie Reynolds to answer your questions.

Q. I've left it late with only a few weeks to go. Are there any last-minute tricks and treats I can use to make my skin look healthy and glowing on my big day? Natalie, 32, Windsor.

A. Exfoliation is key! However, you must make sure you don’t overdo it.

Mechanical exfoliants (scrubs) can be too harsh, especially if they contain kernels, they can cause sensitivity, broken capillaries or even ... SPOTS!

Look for an exfoliant with bamboo beads in or even better a cream exfoliant with AHA (alpha hydroxy acids).

This will dissolve the superficial dead skin cells and allow the skin to glow and look healthier. 

Cheaper than La Prarie..a cucumber fix

Another little trick is to use cucumber… not for the eyes but rubbing onto the skin.

 Cucumber contains phytochemicals. This encourages collagen to tighten and firm your skin. 

Also look for moisturisers with ingredients which reflect light and give a dewy glow for your big day!

For a Laura radiance

Q.  I look a bit tired with slight dark circles under my eyes. Is there anything I can do to look more rested on the day? I use By Terry concealer for under the eyes which is really good but always feel my eyes just look a bit puffy and sleepy. I do smoke a little and drink a lot at weekends - I think that doesn't help. My wedding is in two months. Carmine, 35, Glasgow.

Here, Angelina, it's time you starting taking Marie's advice.

A. This question always makes me smile because EVERYONE looks for topical applications for the puffy or dark offending conditions of the eyes.

It is quite simple when you understand why this is happening. Part of the reason is in your question - drinking and smoking, so yes cutting down on that is a start.

The area under the eyes links directly with the kidney meridian so this is where we have to negotiate.

Drinking Spring Water is great but also  increase foods which are high in water. The body eliminates fluid a lot faster than foods.

Water relief

The body will absorb more water through digestion and your colon will be thankful also.

Eating foods that strengthen the kidney meridian will reflect in skin, especially under the eyes. 

Oh sugar..

So look at going organic where you can, cut down on sugar - that includes your pastas, cakes, biscuits, breads … and alcohol. Remember alcohol and carbs convert to sugar. Increase in fresh steamed veg and eat plenty of fish.

It is ideal to use an Eye Gel rather than a Cream. The gel can be placed in the fridge before application.
Jade Roller

You could also invest in Jade Rollers for your home care routine. Jade is excellent to reduce inflammation especially where excess lymph (puffy eyes) is collected.

The Jade Rollers calm the skin and are exceptionally cooling. I use my mine every night and incorporate in my facial routines. 

Q.  I'd love to draw out impurities - blocked pores in my nose and a couple of under-the-skin spots on my forehead for my wedding in six weeks. Should I book in for a facial? If so, what should I ask for? Helen, 27, Nottingham.

A. I would highly recommend a professional treatment, especially with your big day looming.

Your therapist should advise you on appropriate skin care and also give you the correct treatment by preparing the skin before any extractions.

Step away from the spot

The last thing you should do is squeeze them yourself as you will risk re-infecting another follicle, bruising or permanently marking your skin.

A professional Beauty Therapist should be able to advise you on the correct treatment from a thorough consultation.

Q. What's the benefit of a professional facial compared to buying a treatment and doing it at home? What facials would you recommend? Candy, 29, Aberdeen.

Go on..treat yourself

There is nothing wrong with pampering the skin at home but it is worth investing in a professional treatment, especially for your wedding day.

The benefits are first and foremost getting the correct advise on skin conditions you may not even be aware you have and which can be easily remedied by educating the client.

For example, topical skin care or make-up ingredients that are clogging can cause blackheads and dehydration.

Many think pigmentation is a result of too much sun exposure but again hormonal influences or photosensitive ingredients may be the cause.

I tend to look at the client as a whole. I analyze as soon as I lay eyes on my client and observe how they sit, talk and lie on the treatment couch.

I then look at the ears, toes and face and gather information that will tell me what I need to know enabling me to advise on diet, lifestyle and skin care.

24 gold carat leaf

I also use pulverized crystals and 24 Carat Gold Leaf that illuminate, rejuvenate and hydrate the skin.

When you have a consultation with a therapist you will only tell her what you want her to know but I can see beyond that. 

The human body is a walking, talking book, every line, every mark tells a story. We are what we are by what we eat, experience and inherit.

This marks the body in all sorts of manifestations including skin conditions - you just have to know how to read the human novel.

I am a Guest Therapist at FOUR LONDON ( every Monday where I carry out the FIFTH CONCEPT TREATMENT which I have created myself

Celeb fans include presenter Kirsty Gallacher

Click here for details of the Fifth Concept Treatment and for celebrity comments including presenters Helen Fospero, Caroline Flack and Kirsty Gallacher, as well as actresses Tamzin Outhwaite and Clair Sweeney, click here.

Q. I've never had botox before but have a good few lines. Is it a good idea before my wedding in seven months? Or is there something magical and natural I could try? Annie, 38, Greenwich

Botox bonanza: Kylie? Is that you?

Botox and fillers are a personal choice. I truly believe if you do things that make you feel better then go for it!

You must do your research and go to a reputable practitioner – check out the ‘Treatments You Can Trust’ register 

Remember you are restricted from certain facial treatments if you do have fillers and botox and you have to be aware of certain ingredients that may stimulate cell activity and cause reactions.

Facial massage is natural and can increase blood flow

I am a huge fan of Chinese Cosmetic Facial Cupping. 

This is a technique that increases blood flow and muscle tone, it will stimulate collagen and elastin in the skin and plump fine lines and wrinkles. 

Q. What products do you like to use? I've heard Dermologica is good. I have pretty normal skin with some congestion. I want to look five years younger!! Caroline, 34, Cardiff.

Natural ingredients..Dermologica

Dermalogica is a good product to use, as they are free from artificial colours, fragrances, they are non comodegenic (not blackhead forming).

It is important to look at ingredients that will not cause dehydration, pigmentation or topical acne.

It is so easy to be drawn into the misconception that a highly priced product is luxurious or effective.

Expensive ingredients are not always the best

You may find that certain products claim they have a wonder ingredient ranging from caviar to gold to crushed pearls that do wonders to the skin, which to be fair do benefit ( I use pure gold in my treatments - it is a super anti oxidant, extremely hydrating and illuminating)..

BUT! When you look at the ingredients you will more than likely find the ‘wonder ingredient’ is minimal and the rest is full of artificial colours and fragrances, SD alcohols and many other nasties.

The best advise I have given to therapists and consumers is to invest in a book by Ruth Winter ‘A Consumers Guide to Cosmetic Ingredients’ or download an app ‘Cosmetic Ingredients’.

Warm up..with Winter's beauty bible

Simply search for an ingredient you are not aware of and you will see for yourself the effect this has on the skin.

Marie..THANK YOU for giving us a wealth of information on how to look our dewy best in a one-stop-shop of expertise.

For more info on the Fifth Concept Treatment and to book an appointment, Marie's website is

Follow Marie on Twitter: @marie_reynolds

Thank you international man of mystery and celebrity hairdresser Charley McEwen for introducing me to Marie.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Guest Blog: Beauty Expert Julie Coates

Julie Coates runs The Lanes health and beauty salon in Brighton, pampering locals and celebs. Her advice is highly sought-after and often appears in the national press and mags. So we are super lucky to have her on on

Here, Julie answers your questions about your big day..oh and move over Amy Childs, she's one of the country's leading authority on case you were wondering. Over to you Julie.

Julie Coates of The Lanes Health and Beauty

1. I don't have great nails but don't want to have false ones on the day - I want to look as natural as possible. But how can I have a French manicure or clear or light colour with such awful nails that break and are weak? Help! Carrie, Bradford

Why don’t you try a gel manicure? This would both encourage growth and help to strengthen your nails. I would suggest you have one a month before you wedding to kick-start the growth slightly. 

Then, when you come to have your wedding gel manicure, there is a bit of length to achieve a French finish. Although, I would also recommend a light pink/natural shade for a pretty, groomed bridal look. Lastly, apply oil over the top of your gel manicure every day to keep the nails hydrated.
Posh goes French

2. This is a bit embarrassing but I've got a few stray hairs on my upper lip. As I get older they get darker and more numerous! I don't want to wax in case I get a reaction - that happened to a friend who went red and blotchy. Laser treatment is a bit expensive and my wedding is only in a month. I've tried tweezing but I don't seem to get them all. Help! (Anonymous, London)

Luxury at The Lanes

Ideally I would usually recommend waxing. I always advise clients to undergo a patch test beforehand to make sure their skin is not going to react adversely to the treatment.

But if your skin is really sensitive perhaps you could try threading. This would still have the desired effect, though it may take a little longer.

Don't try this at home - wax or thread instead

3. I hear you do hen do's. Do tell me more! How much is a package? There are ten of us and it sounds perfect. (Mandy, Hove)

Our Hen package is priced at £30 per person. You can choose 1 from the following treatments:
* Hot stone back, neck and shoulder massage.
* Hot stone aromatherapy facial.
* Manicure.
* Pedicure.

All the treatments last for a relaxing 30 minutes and the price includes a glass of non-alcoholic blush.
Hen pampering..because you're worth it

4. I want my feet to look nice for my honeymoon. What can I do to make them look pretty? (Jasmine, Glasgow)

Have a gel Pedicure. This would last you three to four weeks without chipping or marking. It will remain shiny, even in the sun and sea and does not fade. You can choose from an amazing range of colours, or keep it simple and stylish and just go for a French.

Remember your tootsies

5. I want my skin to glow. Should I have facials? I have normal skin but it's a bit dull especially in the Winter. My Wedding is at the start of May. (Claire, Newcastle)

You should definitely have a Micro-dermabrasion facial with oxygen. The mda removes dead skin cells and cleans out the pores, leaving skin fresh and rejuvenated.

Becoming the dewy bride takes work!

The oxygen then pumps hydration into the skin, leaving it completely glowing and refreshed. I would recommend you book this in for a few days before your big day. 

More Top Tips:

  • Have an eyebrow shape and tint – Eyebrows frame the eyes and with the right shape and colour they can make your eyes look brighter.

  • Use a nail top coat to refresh the shine of your polish whilst on honeymoon – the sun and sand can dull the finish

  • If you like a scent but you don’t like wearing perfume try the body lotion for a lighter fragrance and hydrated silky skin

  • Spritz your skin with a skin tonic to keep refreshed in the heat and your set make up in place

  • Before you polish your nails always squeak the nail plate with nail varnish remover, this removes excess oils which can affect the durability of your polish.

  • For strong nails file once a week in one direction, keeping the nails short and square with corners slightly rounded.  Massage cuticles with oil to stimulate growth and hydrate.

  • Your first aid wedding kit should include Lavender Oil – not only will this relax you but it’s also antibacterial and has amazing healing properties, witch-hazel to dry out any spots, a good antibacterial concealer, a nail file and Nail glue for breakages.


Design time

Add a lovely touch of sparkle and glamour to the area you are applying the gems to.

Not only can they be playful but they can be tasteful as well, with some of these designs taking the place of the traditional garter for the bride on her wedding day.  

As its Oscar month I have launched my own Vajazzle in salon called Starlet priced at £11.95

The Starlet

Friday, 3 February 2012

Guest Blog: Celebrity Hairstylist Charley McEwen

When it comes to famous client books, they don't get more impressive than hairstylist to the stars Charley McEwen.

As personal stylist to X Factor judge Kelly Rowland, Charley has also teased the locks of her Destiny's Child bandmate Michelle Williams, Sienna Miller, Adele and many more. You name it, he's made them look fabulous.

Celebrity Hairstylist Charley McEwen

I met Charley at Channel Five and trust me..two minutes in his hands turns you into a new woman.

So it's with great excitement I introduce Charley to with the brief of making you ooze glamour on your wedding day.

Thanks for sending all your questions. Over to you Charley.

Meet in the middle - a half-up-half-down

Q. How does the style of my dress affect what I should do with my hair? (Jemma, Bath)

A. If it's a high necked dress or with lots of detail across the chest you should consider having your hair up 
so as not to cover it up. 

Strapless dresses can work well with long hair falling over your shoulders. If you want to put your hair up but are worried there's too much flesh showing, you could break up the look with jewellery - perhaps a necklace of pearls.

Break up flesh with a necklace

Q. Is my wedding day the time to try something different? I'd like to surprise my guests (Amy, Chester)

A. No. The groom expects to see the woman he knows. It's not the time to shock him and you want to feel like you too. Go for a hair rehearsal and bring your mum or friends along for advice. A second opinion is really valuable but ultimately you have to be happy. They might be able to have a rehearsal too.

Don't go changing too much on your big day

Q. What would you recommend for a timeless style I can look back on in thirty years and not feel it looks dated? (Ali, Edinburgh)

A. Remember to K.I.S. - Keep it simple. Be natural too for a timeless look. All down and tumbling can look effortless and will never date.

A timeless look for Kate Middleton last year

Jennifer Aniston let it all hang loose for her 2000 wedding to Brad Pitt

Q. I have short hair. What can I do to make it look a bit different on the day? (Penny, Jedburgh)

A. You can colour short hair to make it look really shiny and healthy. Do your homework and find somewhere with a good reputation. Salons like in Mayfair, London where I sometimes see clients specialises in colour.

Posh went for a short Beck and sides back in 1999
Q. I have short hair and my big day is nine months away. Should I let it grow? I fancy looking romantic and feminine on the day you see. (Jasmine, Glasgow) 

A. You could grow your hair. Alternatively, you could add a hair piece like a side bun with flowers around it. Remember to have a trial beforehand though so you're sure you like the look and it's not too different for you.

Add glamour with a side bun like Adele

Q. I've just spotted a few grey hairs but don't want to die my hair for the day. Should I just pull them out? (Claire in Clapham, London)

A. Don't pull them out - the old saying goes that three grown in their place. Instead, if you don't want to use colour, you can cover individual strands if there are not too many with a mascara wand.

Grey: sexy on George Clooney. Not the bride 

Q. My hair's very thin. Is my only option to make it thicker using extensions? If so, how can I make the extensions look natural? (Michelle, Virginia, USA)

A. You can go into a specialist shop and buy a hair weft. You can style these to suit you by using a razor to cut them. Or you could think about wearing a wig that looks like your own hair but is thicker.

I have worked a lot with wigs and know it's important to style it. You don't just buy it and wear it - you have to get it cut well to suit your face and style.

Otherwise you can use colour cleverly to make your hair look thicker. A few highlights or create depth by going darker.

Turn to the weft

Q. If Kelly Rowland was getting married, what would you recommend for her big day? (Alison, Bromley in Kent)
I'd suggest nice big, flowing waves. Kelly loves styles with her hair to one side so we might do that too. She likes and suits Hollywood glam.

To get the look with heavy waves there are plenty of products on the market you can buy to help. Try a Cloud 9 curling wand which gives beautiful results or Babyliss rollers.

Charley styles Kelly Rowland with glamour in mind

Q. I'm exercising to get rid of my tummy but is there anything I can do to my hair to get it into shape for the big day which is three months away? (Shona, Manchester)

Absolutely. You could treat yourself to a weekly mask until your wedding or visit a salon for a rich treatment. Make sure you have a trim to take dead ends off and condition well.

Charley 'Sheen'

Q. Any other tips?

  • Look out for styles you love and cut a picture out of a magazine or even take a photo of the television - so you can show the hairdresser exactly what you want.

  • Many stylists will do a one-off fee for you and your bridesmaids, maybe the mother of the bride too so you make a bit of a saving. I think around £30 a head is reasonable.

  • Don't turn up looking like a different person.

Show off your hair

  • Think about an alternative style in case it rains - so rather than have your hair all down and looking like a drowned rat if it's soaked, you could pin it up loosely.

  • If you've got lovely hair, don't hide it - show it off.

Thanks Charley!

You can follow Charley on Twitter at @charleymcewen and take a look at his work at and check out the Four London salon here

Products Charley recommends: Cloud Nine, Bumble and Bumble, Babyliss and