2020 Blogs

Reflecting on the year

Christmas is over, and the few days in between waiting for New Year's Eve is always a time of reflection for me. I decided to write a list of the positives and the achievements for the salon this year that I'd like to share with you 😊

  • After maternity leave, we welcomed Em back to the team in February and then Lauren back in March. Although we stay in contact when any of the team are on maternity it's always great to have them back in the salon and for them to see their clients again and catch up.

  • As a team during lockdown 1, and then throughout the year, we have really grown stronger and are going in to 2021 more resilient, capable and resourceful than ever. I am excited about us all working together in the not-too-distant future!

  • Emily and Josh had beautiful Macey who is gorgeous! Another baby to add to the 'LEB family'

  • ESPA launched the Modern Alchemy spa luxury body range, the Positivity blend and also a range realignment including refreshed packaging so it's more eco-friendly and has Vegan and Vegetarian society approved certification amongst others. All of our clients have loved the new products and packaging and it has been great to see the product range evolving while still ensuring the highest quality products with exceptional results.

  • Several of the team were able to do training online and even attend some face-to-face sessions including Callum qualifying in Lash Extensions; Em, Karis and Hannah qualified so can now offer the popular HD Brows sculpt and Liz attending online business training throughout the lockdowns.

  • We have launched our online shop and online voucher site, and has meant we have been able to get products and vouchers to our clients even when we have been shut.

  • The LEB community has really grown and all our clients have really embraced the activity on social media and joined in with our lives, photo challenges etc. The messages of support have been amazing and meant so much.

My message throughout this year has been one of positivity and being thankful for what we have. I really feel we have pulled together as a community and kept each other going so that when we have been open we have been able to look after your beauty needs and do what we love!

Use these next few days to rest and recharge. As a salon we are temporarily paused again due to the latest government restrictions but we will be back and will be letting you know immediately once we have the green light to reopen.
Liz xx

My Top Christmas movies!

I was thinking about Christmas and the films through my life that have been important at that point in the year for me and I thought I would share them with you 😉

The first movie that always meant Christmas was here is Mary Poppins (the original one!). I LOVE all the songs and I know every word through the whole film. As a small child there was something truly magical about the lady with the parrot umbrella and carpet bag that captured my imagination. Who doesn't want to be able to click their fingers and get the house tidy? And being able to pour out different coloured liquid from the same bottle is soooooooooo cool. I frequently use the phrase 'practically perfect' - ask Steve and the boys!

The next movie that had a big impact on me was Santa Clause the movie, do you remember that? Since my birthday is close to Christmas, Mum and Dad came up with great ways for me to have a birthday and it be 'separate' to the Christmas festivities. Truth is, I have always loved Christmas and have no problem celebrating both my birthday and Christmas at the same time. The year this movie came out they let me invite several friends and I remember the crocodile of kids walking through the Christmas shopping crowds in Chester, all excited to be going to cinema. Loved that movie, will never forget the first time I saw it. It was magical seeing Santa and all the elves working so hard to make their fabulous, colourful wooden toys. It's possibly also where my lifelong love for New York started. Apparently it was a huge financial flop but I loved it!

The third movie that I always make sure I watch is Love Actually - yes I know, sorry, but I do love a good film that I can snuggle on the sofa and just watch. It always makes me cry too. Steve just hands me the tissues and rolls his eyes. I think it's the best British rom-com out there for Christmas. I have always been a fan of Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman. It's a great all round Christmas film with the different stories all intertwined. Blanket, hot chocolate (or a Baileys) and settle down. Lovely!

Not very 'christmassy' but I do love sitting down with Steve and the boys and watching a James Bond. Doesn't really matter which one although my favourite Bond is Daniel Craig. It also brings back a lot of memories because Dad also watched any Bond film that he happened to find on TV and knew every line, but particularly the one-liners, of which there are many, especially Sean Connery's Bond 😉

I would love to know what movies you love to watch at Christmas? Which ones do you always watch? Which ones bring back the memories for you? Please let me know, we're all going to have time to relax and watch many films this year.

Thanks for reading,
Liz xx

Condition your skin in the Winter

Another season so another reason to check your skincare routine and make changes, which will probably only be small, to ensure you are keeping your skin in tip-top condition in the lead up to Christmas! Skin gets drier, especially since we are spending even more hours inside, the central heating is on for even longer and any time outside means our skin is exposed to colder, more blustery weather. Unfortunately some of the things that we enjoy most at this time of year to make us feel warmer and cosier such as fires, hot showers and baths, can dry your skin out even more and cause irritation and dryness. Less sunlight during the winter can stirp your skin of nutrients too, such as vitamin D, which can cause skin to look dull and uneven.

Our second Advent offer is the Merry and Bright Facial for winter stressed skin. It is suitable for everyone, male and female. During the facial we will focus on soothing, calming and protecting skin that has become dryer, duller and more sensitive over the winter. Exclusively available on our website.

Your skin is important as your first line of defence from the environment and the elements so it is important to make sure you have the right skincare routine to provide what your skin needs.

Here are my top tips to consider for your Winter skincare routine:

  1. Choose a cream-based cleanser if your skin feels 'tight' after washing. You may just need a richer product for a couple of months. If you use the Balancing Foam Cleanser you may want to try the Hydrating Cleansing Milk. If you use the Hydrating Cleansing Milk then try the Nourishing Cleansing Balm instead.

  2. At night try an oil, either on its own or under your moisturizer. I can't stress enough how beneficial it is to use one of these. This will boost nourishment and hydration. They are so simple and easy to use, just a few drops a night so don't worry about feeling 'greasy'. If you need advice on the best one for you then speak to one of us.

  3. If you don't currently use one, invest in an exfoliator. This will help to sweep away dry, dull skin to restore vitality and improves absorption of any product you then apply afterwards such as your moisturizer or a face oil. The Refining Skin Polish is a gentle exfoliator that helps clear pores, lift impurities and balance uneven skin. Ideally do this twice a week, you will notice the benefit really quickly!

  4. There is nothing worse than lips feeling sore and cracked. I use the Pomelo Lip Balm. It has wild mango and grapefruit which help to lock in moisture, soothe and protect. This can be applied as may times throughout the day as you feel you need to.

  5. Just because it isn't sunny it's just as important to apply sunscreen in the winter as well as the summer. The harmful UV rays can still get through clouds and caused damage. An SPF15 or higher is perfect. Even adds a layer of protection when you are out in the wind and rain!

  6. Hands are suffering a lot at the moment from all the handwashing and sanitiser. Copied with colder weather this may mean your hands feel drier, rougher and even sore at times. What you want is a deeply hydrating cream that softens and nourishes without feeling greasy. I love the Rejuvenating Hand cream from ESPA. It also helps keep my nails and cuticles conditioned.

The Key message is gently buff away dry skin cells so that moisturisers and creams you then use will soak in more deeply and are more effective. A few small simple changes can enhance your routine to ensure your skin is Winter ready 😊

Thanks for reading
Liz x

A Winter Warmer

Having just opened the door this morning to let the cats out I realised how chilly it was! This got me thinking abut the treatments we do that make you feel warm, cosy and relaxed. You may have seen that our first Advent offer is the Winter Warmer treatment which is a limited edition warming Back, face and scalp treatments with Hot stones, 45 minutes, £50.00

I thought you may not know much about Hot Stones so thought I would give you a little more info.

Hot stones are an ancient treatment that has been used for hundreds of years, especially by American Indian tribes, to soothe the body and calm the mind.

The 'hot' stones themselves are only hot because keep them in a water bath at 55 degrees C before we start the treatment. They are beautifully smooth basalt pebbles that have been tumbled and rounded by water over thousands of years. I love the connection with using something natural to massage the body and the effect they have. Basalt is a volcanic rock and due to the mineral content, naturally holds heat. The stones are beautiful colours and once they have the oil on them almost glow deep red, black and green.

The heat softens tight, tense muscles. You are left felt very grounded and balanced. Your circulation is speeded up so it helps with sluggish digestion and any puffy areas in the body. The heat is also soporific so you are welcome to bring comfy clothes to change into after your massage so you can go straight home and straight to bed!

It is more of a holistic treatment and has a positive effect on mind, body and soul. I really see how much our clients benefit when they have this treatment. It is hard to explain but it is a bit more 'special' than just a massage.

The treatment is suitable for men and women of all ages. Having the treatment this time of year somehow fits in with your natural instinct to want to be warm and cosy. I would also definitely recommend it for anyone who has cold hands and feet as this really does boost the blood circulation around the whole body.

You can still buy the voucher for this limited-edition treatment for a loved one, or yourself, until tomorrow. We will then be showcasing our next Advent offer for you. There is only a limited number so once they are gone, they are gone!

To buy one of these treatments please go to our website and click on Advent Vouchers, then you, or the person you are buying for, has the first three months of next year to redeem their voucher 😊

Stay warm!
Liz x

Reveal your Autumn Glow

Just because it's getting darker and cooler, the temptation to put lots of layers on and ignore everything below the neckline is high. But don't.

Your skin on your body needs looking after all year round. The heating is now on more and the weather extremes are harsh on our skin. We start to drink less water and more hot drinks (and possibly alcohol!) so we need to stay focused on our skin so it stays hydrated, soft and supple. It will thank you for it!

  1. Cooler weather and central heating can sap skin's moisture leaving it dry and sensitive. Once a week use a salt scrub or something similar to exfoliate the skin, focusing on the dryer areas such as knees and elbows.
    * for a lighter effect use a daily shower product with granules in to gently sweep away dull, dry skin cells.
  2. Lock in moisture straight after your shower or bath by using a body oil or a rich body butter. Applied in layers you can really leave skin in a soft, beautifully supple condition. For example, apply a layer and brush your teeth, then another layer and dry your hair.
    * ESPA have an amazing range of body oils, all designed to sink in quickly into the skin and depending on the blend can help with feeling energised, relaxed or positive!
  3. Prevent hands drying out using a nourishing, specific cream for the hands. Especially with daily use of hand sanitiser and hand washing that has increased so much you need to be applying hand cream throughout the day and as often as you need it. This will keep skin soft, conditioned and protected from the elements.
    * have some hand cream on your bedside table so that the last thing you do before you switch your light off is apply and massage cream into your hands, focusing around the nails and back of hands.
  4. The change in temperature can also have an impact on your hair. It can affect its texture, shine and condition.
    * using a hair mask, like ESPA's Pink Hair and Scalp mud once a week can really help keep your hair smooth, stronger and healthy-looking.

It's still technically Autumn for a few more weeks so enjoy the end of the season. Seize the days when the weather is good enough to get out for a walk and make sure you are looking after your skin.

Thanks for reading
Liz xx

Stir-up Sunday and other traditions

Today is officially 'Stir-up Sunday' which is the last Sunday before the season of advent. Traditionally it is about gathering family and friends to make the Christmas Pudding and make wishes as everyone gets a chance to stir the ingredients together.

I wrote last week about making even more of an effort this year during the festive season with everything that has gone on, so I hope that the cakes and pudding being made this year are the best ever.

I did some research about this tradition (thanks to Google and Good Housekeeping) and here is what I found:

  • Christmas pudding traditionally contains 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and his disciples.
  • It is traditionally stirred by each member of the family making a wish in turn.
  • Holly was used as a garnish to represent the crown of thorns.
  • Charms were traditionally added to find in your portion of the pudding which would bring you luck (but maybe not good for your teeth!).
  • There was a savoury 'porridge' in the Middle ages that is thought to have over the years evolved by adding ingredients such as dried fruits and spirits to increase shelf life and turn into the pudding that we know today. Apparently, Prince Albert declared his love for the Christmas Pudding in the 19th century and it became fashionable.

What other traditions do you and your family have at this time of year? I have a feeling modern technology will feature heavily this year in people's 'Stir-up' Sunday so that people can be virtually together this year for the stirring and making of wishes.

During December we have an Advent Photo Challenge, with a different seasonal photo to take each day and post either on our FB page or Instagram page. Just for a bit of fun but hope you can join in 😊

Today is the day when wishes are said to come true, so get stirring!

I know what my wish is this year......

Starting to think about Christmas?

I don't know about you but this year I really want to make Christmas the best one yet. I have ordered lots of extra lights (don't tell Steve!) and have written my list of who and what I want to buy. I have even already got several of the gifts which is unheard of. I am usually "Miss Last-minute.com" when it comes to presents and spend the last Sunday before Christmas rushing around Witney buying all the things I still need.

It goes without saying but this year has certainly been an odd one, for all of us, and in every possible way. I think that is why I for one want to make it more special for everyone that I care about. The ESPA Christmas gift collection this year is called 'Festive Retreat'. It's all about the long periods of time we have been forced to spend at home and that it has made us all realise the feeling of home comes from not just our 4 walls but moments and memories shared with friends and family.

I for one have certainly learnt to appreciate the little things in life and I don't think any of us will take the presence of our loved ones for granted ever again.

One thing I have thought about is that with social distancing in place, we won't experience the normal hustle and bustle in the shops during the build up to Christmas this year. I am not keen on standing outside in the colder weather in queues for shops, so really think we are going to have to be a bit savvier about how we get prepared this year. We need to give ourselves time to avoid those feelings of being overwhelmed and not coping with the all the things going on at Christmas.

Our Virtual Christmas Shopping Evening on Tuesday 3rd November was a great success and only because you all turned up to support us. Thank you so much! The range of gift sets this year means there is something for everyone so if you do need any gift inspiration or advice then please let me know.

Because the evening was such good fun, we have decided to hold another one on Tuesday 24th November at 7.45pm. This time everything we will be showcasing is UNDER £20. All our ideas are perfect for Stocking fillers, great for teachers, Secret Santa's, colleagues, friends and family. This is our way of helping you get your gifts without needing to leave your house or get in a queue!

We are planning an evening of fun so hope you can join us, with a glass of your favourite Christmas tipple. Be prepared to join in our festive fun again! 😃
Liz x

As the days get darker, stay positive!

We managed to stay in the garden until 4pm yesterday then the light really faded quickly which made me think about this time of year and SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

The symptoms are similar to those of normal depression but occur repetitively each year at a particular time. It usually starts in Autumn or Winter and improves in Spring. The nature and severity vary from person to person, and for some it can have a significant impact on their day-today life.

I can't help with SAD and if you are really suffering you should seek medical advice, however I can offer some tips on how to stay positive which right now, affected by SAD or not, may help you get through this next period in our lives 😊

  1. Smile! Scientifically proven to elevate your mood
  2. Have a relaxing soak in a bath
  3. Listen to your favourite music
  4. Go for a walk and breathe in the fresh air
  5. Ensure you are eating a healthy, balance diet
  6. Dance in your kitchen, go for a run, take the bike for a spin - get those endorphins flowing!
  7. Sit down with your favourite cuppa, maybe even try a herbal tea
  8. Try some online Yoga, Pilates or meditation videos
  9. Have a go at a new hobby, especially something creative
  10. Keep a diary of your thoughts and feelings

I am generally a 'glass half full person' so try and always see the positive in most situations. This year has been more challenging than most for all of us, so as we go into the last few months of 2020 be kind to yourself and others. It has made us all re-evaluate what is important to us and how important friends and family are. A new found appreciation for the little things in life will certainly be what I take from this whole experience.

Sending you positivity and love, take care and if anyone needs to contact me please do so via our email or call 01993 704445

Thanks for reading
Liz xx

The Magic of Pumpkin...

Sticking to the theme of Halloween and all things Pumpkin I thought I would look into this vegetable a little more.

Halloween is thought to be a tradition that originates from an ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. People would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century Pope Gregory III designated November 1st as a time to honour all saints, the day after 'All Hallows Eve'.

The tradition of carving faces into pumpkins is to believed to have come from Ireland when people carved demonic faces in turnips to frighten away Jack's wandering soul. When Irish immigrants moved to the US, they used pumpkins instead as these were native to the region and became an integral part of the Halloween festivities.

Now to how Pumpkin is used in some of our products and how it benefits your skin!

Pumpkin is a source of natural actives including enzymes. One special enzyme produced from pumpkin fruit helps to clear dead skin cells without irritating the skin, like more aggressive exfoliating enzymes and AHA's found in other products out there. Another extract from the seeds helps improve the appearance of skin tone and smooths.

Pumpkin is a key ingredient in the Optimal Skin ProCleanser. We know you love this as it is one of our top sellers. A great 3-in-1 skincare essential! It is a gel cleanser, exfoliator and mask to nourish, smooth and visibly brighten your complexion. The pumpkin enzymes buff away dull cells to leave radiant glowing skin.

Another product that contains pumpkin is the Smooth and Firm Body Butter, another favourite with our clients. This rich body butter smoothes and tones, leaving skin soft and flexible. The Pumpkin extract helps smooth the skin and this cream smells soooooo good! You have to give it a try if you haven't already.

Lastly the Skin Radiance Mask also contains pumpkin enzymes to get rid of dull cells for softer, fresher skin. The mask helps to refine and revitalise the skin for a smoother, more radiant complexion.

I hope you enjoy reading this and if you haven't tried any of the above products you may fancy treating yourself this Halloween 😃
Liz x

Positive Mental Wellbeing and a challenge!

Having had several clients in over the last couple of weeks or so all discussing their own personal feelings and thoughts about the situation we find ourselves in and how they are coping or not, I have been discussing with them different ways to give themselves a boost.

Now the clocks have gone back, getting up in the dark and coming home in the dark will have an impact on how we all feel. All I normally want to do is stay longer in bed in the morning and snuggle on the sofa under a blanket in the evening. It made me think that I do need to make sure I keep myself positive and sane by achieving a little 'something' everyday just to help me feel like I am winning in 2020 😃

I saw this idea on Facebook from a local primary school and although we are not at school, I thought I would set you this for the next week as an 'end-of-October' challenge. Even better would be if you could make these challenges become habits so I encourage you to give them a go.

ChallengeTick when done!
Do a walk outside
Get 8 hours of sleep
Have a booze free day
Write 2 personal affirmations
Set a daily water intake target and stick to it!
Do a random act of kindness
Watch your favourite film
Read a book or magazine
Have a tech free 2 hours before bed
Do something creative

Please let me know how you get on and how you feel when you manage to do them. Feel free to print this off, send photos and there may even be a prize for those of you who complete all the challenges!

** send your photos/complete the sheet by next Sunday 1st Nov 2020 **

Good luck and have a good week whatever you have planned,
Liz x

Make time for you

I have had quite a few conversations in the last week particularly with clients about our lives, and this 'new normal' we are all getting used to. The problem is it is now feeling like this may go on for some time and it is sometimes hard to accept that.

The best thing we can try and do is get more balance for mind, body and soul. In our ever increasing technologically focused world it is very easy to feel disconnected from ourselves, each other and the natural world around us.

ESPA launched a product range earlier this year called Modern Alchemy. It is a body product range that was inspired by ancient global traditions, recognising the desire for more connection and they have used Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine and tribal spiritual beliefs for inspiration to create an amazing range of luxury products that help you create a spa-like experience at home. Each product has a suggested ritual for you to follow at home to create that experience for yourself.

One of my suggestions for creating that space for yourself and helping you feel more relaxed and calmer about things is to do a Purification Ritual at home. Rather than just having a bath or shower, try once a week, or when you feel you need it, make that into more of an experience and a mindful exercise.

When creating a ritual for yourself pick the best time of day for you, when you feel you will benefit most. It may be in the evening when you want to feel more calmed and soothed before going to bed, or it may be in the morning when you want to feel energised and uplifted. You also need to decide on the best space to do it. In this instance, as you will be using a bath or a shower then the obvious place is your bathroom. This room needs to be your space for the time you need it without any interruption. You need the time to focus on SELF.

Purification rituals have been used for thousands of years as a way to neutralise negativity and bring fresh energy to the body. If you think about this in the modern context it is about clearing the mind, and making you feel more connected and balanced.

Set an 'intention' too. This needs to be a positive goal or aim, or just have a positive thought about yourself while you are doing the ritual.

Run a bath or turn the shower on and let the room become a bit steamy so it feels warm and comforting. Maybe light a few candles if you like, play some music, whatever you like to do to create the mood. Choose a cleansing product (e.g. Modern Alchemy Cleansing Milk) or an oil that you can massage all over your body onto dry skin, taking time to do this, massaging slowly and with thought and then either sink in the bath or step into the shower and let the water flow over you. Imagine the water is washing away your concerns, fears, any anxieties you may have and see it as a way of letting go and releasing those negative thoughts.

Your skin will also feel cleansed and soothed and your spirit should feel lifted so all in all it's a win-win. Give it a go.

Lots of love and positive vibes to you all,
Liz x

Why I love October

Did you know October was originally the eighth month in the Roman calendar and comes from the Latin word "octo" meaning eight? It became the tenth month when January and February were added to the calendar.

October for me is when autumn has arrived. I love the conkers, acorns and crunchy leaves on the ground, while the trees change from green to yellow, orange and red. The other day it was windy and the yellow leaves falling from the Lime trees lining Church Green were all blowing about and swirling down. It feels like the official slow change towards winter.

Sunny autumnal days are perfect for a walk outside and when even when it's raining and blustery you can't beat a walk in the elements. All good for the soul and reconnection with nature and the changing seasons.

I also love swapping from summer clothes into autumn. At work I've swapped from shorts and sandals back into trousers and my salon shoes. At home my jumpers and scarves are back out this week and I've brought my boots forward from their boxes and put away my summer shoes.

Time for a change in make-up to reflect the time of year. I love more plum, darker green and grey colours for eye liners and shadows. New lipstick time too, changing from pinks and brighter reds to plum and berry shades.

It certainly has been a bumpy year but hopefully things are settling more now and we are all establishing our new normal. I spoke to one of my clients the other day and we discussed how everything has changed, and that nothing feels like it used to. Hopefully we can all support each other and keep an eye out for each other. In the salon we are always here to listen, cry and laugh with you!

This month for me is about treats. Taking time for you and focusing on rehydrating and protecting skin, hair and nails as the temperature drops and central heating goes on.

Over the next few weeks we will have a few Exclusive Limited Edition offers and the theme is No Tricks and all Treats. Our first one is running all next week and is a Back, neck and shoulder massage with either a free face and scalp, or free foot massage - your choice. 40 minutes of 'me-time' for only £35.00 😃

Call the salon on 01993 704445 or email us to book in. Keep your eye out for the next Treat to be announced at the end of next week.

Have a great week!
Liz x

Never stop learning!

In the last week a few of the team have completed training so we can offer you more in the salon. It really feels like we are looking forward to the future and is great to be learning once more. This industry is constantly developing, in terms of new treatments and new products. There is innovation and always something happening - which as a team we discuss and then decide whether we think it is something you would be interested in, and also if it is just a 'fad' or something we think can add real value to the list of services we already offer our clients.

I thought I would just give you more information about the treatments the team have been training on this week so that if you are interested once you have read this you can speak to us when you are next in the salon and maybe book yourself in.

The first new treatment we will be offering is HD Brows Brow Sculpt treatment. You may have heard or seen the phrase 'brow lamination' in the press or on social media and this is what it is.

Brow lamination is a two-step eyebrow perming treatment that involves correcting the brow shape by setting the hairs in place using a chemical solution. In the first step, a cream is applied that breaks down bonds in the eyebrow hairs so they can be manipulated into a new position. In the second step, another cream is applied to rebuild these bonds and set the brows in their new uniform position.

If you have unruly, flat or downward growing hairs, eyebrow lamination can change the direction of growth to create a more uniform look with a higher arch and a more desirable brow shape. From an extreme brushed up look to a subtle lift (and everything in between), your brows will appear fuller in an instant using your existing brow hair, making it a great microblading alternative. Brow lamination lasts 4 to 6 weeks generally, with proper care allowing the brow treatment to last as long as 8 weeks.

The second treatment is Lash Perfect Eyelash Extensions. Although not new to the salon, it is great to have another therapist able to offer this treatment and with the focus more on the eyes right now (due to mask wearing) you may fancy giving these a go, especially for a special occasion.

Lash Perfect extension treatments enhance your look by adhering synthetic lashes to natural eyelashes using a specific eyelash extension glue. They are incredibly light and comfortable to wear, and are available in various curls, lengths and thicknesses. Varying looks can be created - from light, fluffy and natural eyelash extensions, to the more glamorous and dramatic - the style is up to you!

Lash Perfect lashes can last the length of time of the natural lash growth cycle. To keep them at their very best, we recommend infills every 2 to 3 weeks. You do need to avoid using any oil-based eye products so that your eyelash extensions will behave just like natural lashes, but will look thicker and fuller and provide a flattering look.

I hope this has answered some of your questions, happy to answer more in the salon. Look on our Facebook page for pictures of before and after images of some of the treatments we have done and keep an eye out for offers coming VERY SOON!.... 😃
Liz x

Autumn is here!

We have managed to have a night away, belatedly celebrating Steve's birthday, I am watching the sun setting and the leaves on the trees outside are blowing in the wind. The leaves are changing colour and having picked a bucket of conkers up this week I really feel the season has definitely changed.

With the change in the season, comes a change in weather, darker nights, the heating starts to get switched on and we spend more time inside.

You will also notice changes in your skin too and may need to change your routine slightly, probably only minor adjustments to your beauty regime e.g. add in more hydrating, nourishing products to combat any extra dryness that you may experience.

Key symptoms of 'Autumn skin' include dryness, a dull and sallow appearance, flaking and irritation and sun-spots. Three things you need to consider are:

  1. You still need to use a sunscreen. Although the sun isn't as hot or as high in the sky, time outside on those bright, sunny days means you still need to apply sunscreen (minimum factor 15).

  2. Keep skin hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Hot drink intake increases but don't forget to drink water too to combat dryness.

  3. Skin will need extra nourishment and protection so think about using a thicker cream. Applying a serum under your moisturiser or using an oil at night also really boosts hydration. One great product I would really recommend at this time of year is ESPA's Overnight Hydration Therapy. It is an intensive mask for replenished and radiant skin. It is sooooo easy to use and suitable for all skins 😃 Packed with Lavender and Ylang Ylang it is great to help calm a busy mind at the end of the day and encourage a restful night's sleep. I love it!

The seasons change and our skin changes too so if you want any advice please ask next time you are in the salon or email us and I am happy to help.

Thanks for reading,
Liz x

My 'Product of the month'

I had a conversation in the staffroom the other day about skincare routines and getting the basics right before you start focusing on any of the advanced treatments and products on the market.

My absolute favourite 'basic' is ESPA's Hydrating Cleansing Milk. It is the first product I ever used from ESPA and I still use it (nearly 17 years on) every morning and evening.

It is such a simple product to use. It is light and creamy. I use it to remove my make-up and daily grime at the end of the day, however late I go to bed, and I use it every morning to refresh my skin and prep it for the day and the other products I then put on. It smells great too. In simple terms I LOVE it.

There are quite a few other options in the ESPA range for cleansers so depending on your skin type, your preference for texture, whether you like to 'wash' your face, use a cloth to remove your cleanser or 'scrub' your face. Any of the team would be very happy to talk to you about the most appropriate cleanser for you, please just ask next time you are in the salon.

Whichever cleanser you use here are my do's and don'ts when it comes to cleansers:

  1. Wipes. PLEASE DO NOT USE THEM. They don't properly clean your skin; they don't get rid of daily oil and grime, and can cause more skin issues. They often contain ingredients that are too harsh for the skin and can cause skin irritation and dryness. It goes without saying, right now, the less waste we produce the better for the environment.

  2. You do need to clean your skin every day, especially at the end of the day, to remove excess oil produced by the skin, environmental pollution and any make-up you have put on. Even if you get back home late it takes less than 2 minutes to use a cleanser.

  3. Get the basics right and establish a good skincare routine. Your skin will stay in better condition with fewer issues if you treat it with the respect it deserves. It is the biggest organ of your body so look after it. Any other products you then choose to use will work better and have more of the desired impact on your skin.

I hope this makes you think about the need to clean your skin properly. Let me know which cleansers you use and what your 'product of the month' is.

Thanks for reading,
Liz x

Back in the routine?

Don't know about you but with the new school term starting I feel like this year is really 'starting again' and I am looking forward to the next few months getting back into my normal routine.

Overnight at the start of lockdown, work, school, hobbies, anything that made up our normal routine, had to stop. A structure and routine is so important for our mental wellbeing and as we know this was something a lot of us have struggled with over the last 6 months.

However, as lockdown has finished and we are able to start getting back to normal it has also made me realise how I have got out of my routine and not everything feels quite like it used to. I know several of you have also been feeling this as we have discussed it when you've been in the salon having your treatments.

Here are my tips for getting back in your routine 😃

  1. Get enough sleep!
    Either staying up later than you used to, or waking up later during lockdown makes it difficult to establish your old bedtime routine. We all know sleep is so important for us and our mental wellbeing.

    Make sure you prepare for sleep by switching off the technology. Read a book, listen to relaxing music, have a warm bath - i.e. establish a bedtime routine again for yourself so your brain starts to switch off from the day and starts to relax to help you get a better night's sleep.

    If you need to adjust your sleep pattern try going to bed 10 minutes earlier every day for a few days so you can get up 10 minutes earlier every morning and bring it slowly back to your normal hours. Don't go straight from staying up til midnight to trying to be in bed at 10pm. It won't work and you will lie in bed feeling frustrated!

  2. Make time for your favourite things
    Although lockdown was hard for many of us we tried new things e.g. cooking, baking, taking photos, tried a new exercise that we hadn't had time to do before, and made some positive changes.

    As the routine returns don't let go of the things that make you happy. These are important for your mental wellbeing and making positive changes in your routine is important. Maybe don't restart the things you didn't particularly enjoy before, decide what works better for you and make the change.

  3. Make a list, record your achievements!
    You all know I love a list, I've told you before. But I promise it does work. Not just a 'to-do list' which does help you plot your daily routine and what has to be done, but write down your goals, track your progress and tick off your achievements. This helps with motivation too and feeling positive.

I hope you find this helpful as we do return to normal. Keep positive and support each other.
Liz xx


Last weekend we went to Mum's and I started sorting boxes from her roof. We unearthed a lot of things I had no idea where there, and certainly thought were long gone. Problem is once you start opening boxes and start reminiscing you can lose hours (ask Steve!)

I was talking to a client about memories of my Granny, Nanna and Mum and the products I remember them using when I was little. I really remember my Nanna always smelt of 'Oil of Ulay' (Olay as it is known now). Her facial skin was also soft, pink and had that distinctive smell - the pot had pride of place in the 'parlour' and she always put cream on before she tied on her head scarf when we went out.

Granny always used Yardley's Lavender Soap. She always had a bar on the sink in the bathroom and Grandad used Imperial Leather. I remember the soap wearing away and the sticker being left in the middle of the bar 😃

Mum has always used AVON for most of her cosmetic and beauty products. She has always taken care of her hands and nails, kept her nails filed and painted and used copious amounts of Atrixo hand cream from the yellow and green pot. I will never forget the nail varnish bottle with hot pink varnish, a bit like 'Festival Fuchsia', that my best friend Clare and I managed to get all over the white carpet in Mum's bedroom when we were about 3 or 4!

I started thinking about how I got into beauty and cosmetic products. I think I was always aware of the routines that Mum, Nanna and Granny had with their products, watching them apply cream, getting ready in the morning or for bed. Somehow I absorbed that and I have got my own routine with the products I love and find it quite grounding and therapeutic getting 'ready'.

I'd love to hear your memories of family members and the products you remember them using so please let me know. Interesting what you remember about people isn't it?
Liz x

My love for Aromatherapy

Having just cut down our Lavender bushes this weekend and breathing in the fabulous smell from them I thought I would share with you why I love Aromatherapy so much, my favourite oils and their benefits to our overall health but in particular skin health.

Have you got certain smells that you love - or even hate? Smell is very evocative and is held deep within our memory banks, it can remind of us experiences through our lives, people and places.

Aromatherapy has been used since Egyptian times, and maybe even before, although this was when evidence began. Fragrant plants and spices were used in every aspect of their daily lives. Bringing us right up to date a French Chemist, Rene Gattefosse, in 1928 wrote a book called 'Aromatherapie' after using Lavender oil in his lab following an accident and observed how quickly his skin healed and the lack of scarring. Nowadays, essential oils are used in many products on the market and we all use them in products such as bath blends, massage oils, creams and even candles.

My favourite three oils are:

  • Lavender: I know some people find this a bit old school but you can't beat Lavender for its many properties including pain relief for aching muscles and inflamed joints. I think that's why I have so many bushes in the garden. I can't resist rubbing my hands in the flowers and inhaling the aroma.
    I do think it is the most valuable oil for all skin conditions. It can be used neat as first aid on the skin and is suitable for all skin types. It also has relaxing and calming properties and is wonderful to help ease anxiety and help you feel more balanced.
  • Ginger: This may not be for everyone either but I love the warm, spicy aroma from this and love ginger in my food too! I do feel the cold in winter and don't think you can beat this, particularly when blended with Orange near Christmas, as a warming smell and for making you feel more cheery during those dark evenings. It's also great for travel sickness too. Just to point out though, this is NOT suitable to use on the face.
  • Frankincense: Maybe because I'm such a winter lover I do find the oaky but spicy smell of this oil particularly special. It is comforting and is helpful for calming the mind, and relieving feelings of panic and fear. Yoga teachers quite often use this in the room to aid meditation during their classes. The main reason I love this in my facial products is for it's tightening and toning effects on maturing skin. It also helps with skin renewal and skin healing. If you are concerned with the signs of ageing this is one to try. It also helps with broken capillaries on the face, scarring and can be used by anyone.

I would love to hear what your three favourite oils are and how you use them? Let me know 😃

Thanks for reading
Liz x

Not just beauty...

Being back in the salon is fantastic. I am really enjoying doing treatments on the face again, especially facials and discussing clients skin concerns with them. I have missed being able to advise on best skincare tips to keep skin at its optimum and balanced so it has been lovely to get back to what we do best!

I thought I would give you some basic info on functions of the skin. In my opinion it is one of the most interesting organs of the body (yes, it is an organ - just on the outside of your body) and really does have many important jobs to do which is why we need to look after it.

  1. Provides a protective barrier from damage. It is our first line of defence from infection, physical damage or harmful substances. Sebum and sweat on the surface of the skin combine to form an invisible 'film' that protects as it is slightly acidic.
  2. Protects from loss of moisture. It regulates the amount of water we loose from the body. It also works as a mini waste-removal system with some materials being excreted when we sweat.
  3. Reduces the harmful effects of UV radiation. There are special cells in our skin that produce melanin which gives us our 'tan' which is a protective pigment.
  4. Acts as a sensory organ. The skin is packed with nerve endings so we can respond to touch, pressure, temperature and pain.
  5. Helps regulate temperature. If you are cold, you shiver and your hairs 'stand on end' as the saying goes. This traps air next to the skin helping to warm you. On the other hand when we are too hot the skin produces sweat which evaporates and cools us down.
  6. Production of vitamin D. Essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscles we get most of our vitamin D from sun exposure BUT you do need to be careful not to burn and please wear sunscreen 😘

Hope you found this interesting and will make you understand about how important your skin is. As I've always said to my students - we have to understand the skin to be able to look after it properly.

Thanks for reading!
Liz x

Running on Empty

This week has been a week where some of my creams, shampoo, hairspray even toothpaste have run out. Does that happen to you that products you use all run out around the same time?

Thought I would tell you about my 'empties'. How many of you have bought products for the face or body and use them once or twice then they just lie around in your drawers or bathroom cabinet and you never actually use the product up? I think we are all possibly guilty of an impulse purchase and then don't really like it for many reasons such as the texture, the smell or feeling like it's not doing what it says on the bottle.

I have made mistakes in the past too but having used ESPA for the last 16 years consistently I can honestly tell you that each and every product I use is used up completely. Partly because they do what I want them to do for my skin, partly because I love them for their smell, the texture and the feel of them on my skin. I love the routine I am in and I also love the 'luxury' feel of the packaging - makes each morning and evening feel a little special even if does only take 5 minutes!

My first empty this week is the Tri-Active ProBiome Moisturiser. The Moisturiser only came out at the start of 2019 and has become my favourite daily cream to use. It feels creamy but is light enough that I don't wait long after applying it to be able to put my make up on in the morning. I feel it keeps my skin soft and hydrated. It is clinically proven to increase hydration by 43% and my skin feels firmer having used it daily for over 12 months now. It provides antioxidant protection too so a winner all round for me. I get about 3 months from a whole pot using it twice a day.

My second empty this week is the 24-Hour Replenishing Eye Moisturiser. I have used this eye cream forEVER. So easy to use, very small amount needed (size of a grain of rice) and I just pat it gently around and underneath my eye every day. It is nourishing but really light so no issues with applying my eye make-up over the top. This product usually lasts me 4 months using it twice a day.

I hate waste so if you have bought a product you don't like on your face, use it for dry elbows, knees or feet. There will be somewhere you can use it. If you really don't like it all then throw it out! Don't leave it languishing in the drawer for years. All products have a shelf life and especially once opened will eventually go off, so get rid of that cream you bought when you were walking through an airport and caught off guard by the lady telling you it would change your life.

Whichever product range you use you have to love it and it has to fit into your routine and your budget. Please ask for advice from any of us on the team in terms of what we would advise for your skin and any issues you want to address. You don't have to buy from us, but we do care about skin and want you to look after it for the long-term.

Tell me which are your favourite empties? Which are the products you use every last bit of? The best bit for me of using up a pot of cream? Love having a new shiny, boxed product waiting to be opened. It's like Christmas or my Birthday each time 😃 Don't forget to recycle your packaging too!

Thanks for reading, Liz xx

Life behind a mask

(Or how best to look after your skin while we have to wear a mask 😃)

From yesterday (8th August 2020) it is now mandatory for everyone to wear a face covering in pretty much most shops, entertainment premises, indoor public spaces and of course beauty salons. (Not that we weren't already asking everyone who came into the salon to wear a mask - and you have all been very obliging, thank you!)

A couple of clients have asked about optimum skincare to consider during this period in our lives when it looks like mask-wearing is here to stay. We need to ensure we take all measures to keep our skin looking and feeling its best. The hot, humid microclimate you are creating as you breathe out under your mask can cause all sorts of problems from an increase in acne activity, friction induced irritation or an increase in eczema reactions such as itching and rashes.

Based on my own knowledge of skincare and advice I have built up over the years here are my top tips on how to look after your skin:

  • The most important thing is to keep you skin properly hydrated as this helps improve the overall function of your skin as a barrier.
  • Don't over cleanse or over exfoliate your skin, stick to your normal routine that you have found works for your skin otherwise this may lead to more irritation or redness.
  • Pat your face dry after washing if you use a face wash, don't be heavy handed and avoid 'rubbing' your facial skin.
  • Apply a daily moisturiser that focuses on hydration of the skin and keeping it in balance. (Choose a moisturiser according to your skin type. If you want advice on this please speak to me or one of the team about the best one for you)
  • If you are suffering from breakouts around the nose and mouth area then minimise the amount of make-up you apply to the area that is going to be under the mask.
  • Ideally your mask is better if it's made out of soft, breathable cotton which will be kinder to your skin so think about the type of mask you wear. It will need washing regularly as it will absorb your natural oils from your skin which could lead to breakouts.
  • If you have any areas that are suffering from chaffing or feel particularly sensitive then apply an ointment such as Vaseline, especially overnight to give your skin a chance to repair.
  • Steer clear of heavy-duty exfoliants, thick, heavy creams and instead opt for more gently. Light weight cleanses and moisturisers. Allow all products to absorb properly before putting your mask on.

I hope these tips help. Mask wearing is here to stay so we need to get more savvy about this new 'routine' that we will all need to adopt for our skin.

Thanks for reading, Liz x

HD Eye & Brow Palette

This is another blog that I have to thank Sue for the idea. 😊

If you are a die-hard fan of HD brows and all their treatments and products you may (or should) have their ultimate kit for brow lovers. This is the Eye & Brow palette which is their signature product. It is THE essential piece of make-up kit for well-groomed eyebrows and for creating soft smokey eyes. Available in the three different shades of Bombshell, Foxy or Vamp so there is one to suit everyone.

The kit itself has two brow colours, a highlighter, a carbon and a setting wax. It retails at £30 so is fantastic for a one stop brow and eye product meaning less individual items in your make-up bag.

Here is my advice on how to get the best out of this palette:

  1. Mix the two brow colours together to get a good colour match for your brow. This will also look more natural. Using the angled end of the brush in the palette to apply the colour to define the outer edge of your brow using fine feather strokes of the brush and then fill in your brow focusing on any gaps you may have.

  2. The powder is highly pigmented so less is more. You don't need to use much product on your brush. Also means your palette lasts for ages!

  3. Mixing the brow colours with the wax gives you a more defined look creating more definition and depth. Great for an evening look and special occasions.

  4. The wax can be used on it's own to keep brows set in place, especially if you have those hairs that need taming. I love this feature and it works very well keeping my longer, coarse hairs in place.

  5. The carbon black shade can be applied along your lash line to create a perfect defined eye liner. If you mix this with the brow wax you can create a 'wet look' liner and create a stronger defined look.

  6. The highlighter should be applied with the bigger, softer end of the brush just under your brow to lift the arch of your brow. This really works so if you haven't used a highlighter before on your eyes, give it a go!

  7. To create your soft smokey eye use the brow colours as your eyeshadows and the highlighter under your brow. Apply the paler brow colour over your whole lid and take it up slightly into your eye socket. Using the darker shade, start in the outer corner of your eye and blend into your socket but only about a third of the way across your eye. Then take the colour from the inner corner of your eye along your lash line. Build the colour gradually. Apply the carbon with the angled end of the brush, apply it along your lash line as your eye liner. Starting from the outside corner of your eye, use on your bottom eye lid as close to your lash line as you can get. Then BLEND. The powders are really soft and easy to blend.

Happy eye and brow sculpting! Any questions or advice needed, contact me,

Liz x

Keep calm and carry on!

Our lives are getting busier and busier. Stress levels can be pretty high and our health can then get neglected. As the salon is reopening and we are focusing on getting as many of you as we can back into the salon in a safe, Covid-secure way it made me think about how we as a team make sure we all build our inner resilience.

One of the obvious ways is to have a proper balanced diet. This is key to ensuring we stay healthy and well. You can boost your immunity with your diet. Include plenty of the allium family (onions, garlic, leeks, and chives) as they have immune boosting properties (and help keep vampires away!) Brazil nuts have also been shown to help due to containing high levels of selenium. This is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent damage to your cells caused by free radicals, particularly excessive stress and smoking. Selenium is thought support thyroid and immune system functions. Two spices that help boost the immune system are Turmeric and Ginger. There is a lot of information out there on the benefits of Turmeric and Ginger, including supporting the immune system. I love a glass of hot water and a slice of fresh ginger.

Another way of achieving balance in your body and your life is exercise. Regularly exercising makes your heart stronger and pumps blood faster. Exercise can also boost your immune system by supporting the cells in your body that are assigned to attacking bacteria. Whichever is your thing, whether it's running, swimming, spin classes or yoga each and every type of exercise has its benefits. You just need to work out which one works for you and fits into your lifestyle. The key thing is to do it REGULARLY. Ideally any strenuous exercise will be done by late afternoon.

Sleep is so important for our health and wellbeing. Our body repairs itself and our brains need that state to consolidate our memories and process information. To help with this try creating a 'Bedtime ritual' which will really help calm and settle you before you go to sleep so that your hours in bed actually help you. Try and set a regular bedtime, and wake up at the same time every day. Over lockdown I have noticed I have become even more of a night owl so the alarm at 7am is going to be a shock to the system! A warm bath, with lovely smelling bath bubbles and a candle is a great way to induce a relaxed state. 20 minutes before bedtime, take some deep breaths, raise your arms above your head to release tension and relax the mind - it works, and if you are on your own you won't feel silly.

Try reading a book, listening to music or audio books. In this digital world we are in try and avoid using any electrical items for at least 2 hours before bed and don't have them in your bedroom. A good old fashioned alarm clock is all you need! A personal tip of mine that works for a busy mind is have a paper and pen by the bed. If you are lying with things going round in your head, write them down so you can forget about them until the morning.

I hope you can try some of these tips and suggestions. I am no angel when it comes to achieving balance in my life but I am trying harder these days to achieve it.

Look after yourselves,
Liz xx

Are you making eyes at me?

Thank you to Sue for the idea for this blog. One of the most popular retail make-up products we sell is the HD Volumising Mascara. It is clump-proof, smudge-proof and flake free. It contains special emollients and Vitamin C and E that care for your lashes. It is suitable for sensitive eyes too. I love mascara and even when I don't want to do my 'full face' my minimum is mascara and a bit of lippy or lip-gloss, even if it is just a trip to the supermarket on a Sunday morning!

Whichever mascara you chose (and there are literally 100's out there!) here are my top tips on how to get the most out of your Mascara:

  1. Apply one coat, allow it to completely dry before you apply a second coat (if you want too).
  2. If your mascara is dry and clumpy THROW IT OUT!! In any case, your mascara should be replaced every 6 months maximum for hygiene reasons.
  3. Waterproof mascara does have its place. Great for a holiday when you want your lashes to stand out when you are in the pool or on the beach, or for a wedding when the tears may come - otherwise don't use it. Special occasion only. It dries out much more quickly than normal mascara.
  4. Don't pump your mascara wand in and out of the container. This just adds more air into the tube which causes the product to dry out.
  5. If you want to make your lashes appear thicker apply powder to them before you apply your mascara, or in between each layer of mascara.
  6. To apply mascara to your bottom lashes, hold the wand vertically and brush down the hairs.
  7. Stay away from eyelash curlers (unless you have to) Choose a mascara that has a wand that is shaped specifically to curl the lashes. It really does make a difference!
  8. An oil or oily makeup remover product is best to remove mascara and helps condition your lashes at the same time.
  9. Your mascara wand will benefit from cleaning regularly. Cover the tube once you have taken the wand out. Place the wand in a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes then rinse, dry and put back into the tube.
  10. Bend the end of your mascara wand so it is horizontal. This makes it much easier to apply mascara to the inner and outer corner of your eye where the lashes are shorter.

I hope these tips help and maximise your mascara at home!

Liz xx

Feed your skin

Having had a wonderful meal last night and a lovely bottle of wine it made me think about how what we put into our body has an impact on what our skin looks like on the outside.

The term 'superfood' has been around for a few years now and although there is no legal or medical definition of what exactly a superfood is, it is generally considered to be a fruit, vegetable or seed that contains a high level of nutrients believed to have a beneficial effect on our health. The effects of good nutrition on the skin are starting to be understood by us all and there is plenty of information out there for you to read more about it if you are interested.

More and more now the nutrients of these 'foods' are incorporated into skincare products to help a variety of skincare conditions. It is important to check labels on your skincare product, just like you check labels in a supermarket. These are products that are great to incorporate into your diet and your skincare routine.

Here is my quick guide to a few of these key ingredients that help achieve that healthy glow.

Seaweed - amazing source of antioxidants and calcium. It is great for delaying the ageing process because it boosts collagen and elastin.
Almonds (in particular Sweet Almond) - helps repair skin and restores essential fatty acids.
Green tea - a powerful antioxidant offering antibacterial properties, ideal for targeting problem skin helping to rebalance and soothe.
Pumpkin - loaded with Vitamin C and A to help soften skin and boost collagen to prevent signs of ageing, but also great source of magnesium to aid sleep and weight loss.
Tomatoes - contain lycopene which helps protect against free radicals that cause ageing and damage to the skin.
Oily fish - packed with Omega 3 to reduce inflammation, keep skin hydrated and help brain function.
Avocado - rich in Vitamins A, C and E helping to keep skin nourished, hydrated and soft.
Dark Chocolate (a small amount) - rich in antioxidants, help with your focus and enhance your mood.

I hope there are a few in that list that you can incorporate into your diet over the next few months and if you notice an improvement in your skin because of something you have tried, let me know. Of course with anything in life it is all about balance but as the saying goes I hope I have given you some 'food for thought'.

Thanks for reading; I'm off to have a square of dark chocolate with my morning coffee 'cos I can!
Liz xx

ESPA's Handbag Heroes

Having just changed my handbag over for my summer one (does anyone else do that, or is it just me?!) I've put all my important things back in. Hairbrush, mints, pack of tissues, lipstick and mirror, pen, safety pin, glasses cloth, few paracetamol, few plasters, mini hairspray and then a few of my favourite things from ESPA.

1. Pink Pomelo Lip Balm
This is such a great lip balm with wild mango and grapefruit oil in it. I use it regularly and I love the handy little mirror on the inside of the lid. Lots of our clients love it too and you can have it as your loyalty gift if you fancy trying it. It retails for £12.

2. Nourishing Lip Treatment
If you prefer a lip gloss style applicator this is the one for you. Hydrating and protective this product contains hyaluronic acid to plump lips and minimise the appearance of fine lines. Vegan friendly formula too! (I am just greedy so have both in my handbag) It retails for £20.

3. Skin Rescue Balm
This handy tube is a great fix for all 'dry skin' issues. Variety of ways to use it, such as massage into dry nails and cuticles, apply to dry or sensitive patches on the skin, great for after sun exposure to soothe and replenish oils and a small mount is perfect for keeping unruly brows in shape. It retails for £29 and is a certified vegetarian product.

4. Hydrating Floral Spafresh Mist
Only really have this in my bag during the summer but I do love it for cooling me down on those hot days. It is actually a toner with Rose Damascena and Honeysuckle Flower extract to sooth and hydrate. Use it after cleansing on damp cotton pads, or mist throughout the day to hydrate and refresh. Yes, it can be used over your makeup too. It retails for £20 and is suitable for all skin types.

There is a link on our website which takes you straight to the ESPA online shop if you fancy trying any of these products.

Let me know what your handbag essentials are. Thanks for reading and thanks to Em for the inspiration for this blog xx

Men are from Mars...

It is Father's Day today and it made me think about the men in my life and their skin. I have gradually got Steve and the boys to take more interest in their skin and start looking after it and it is definitely paying off. Steve is focusing now on his eyes, and anti-aging, while the boys are concerned with teenage hormonal skin and dealing with outbreaks whilst maintaining hydration in their skin.

I thought I would just highlight the differences in male skin vs female skin:

  • It is much thicker than women's skin (about 20% thicker)
  • It is typically more oily due to a higher level of testosterone
  • Teenage acne is more common in males and many bear the scars
  • Men's skin initially ages more slowly but by 40, ageing of the skin happens more rapidly and dramatically than in women's skin
  • Men's skin is more likely to have been damaged by the elements due to not using moisturisers, washing with whatever is closest to hand, or not applying sun screen often enough
  • Daily shaving aggravates the skin, not only razor burn, but it destroys the skin's protective layer, leaving it dehydrated and more vulnerable

So the products men use need to be different so that they can tackle their specific skin concerns. The active ingredients are different. Men tend to like no-fuss, results driven, and convenient products. You may find they quite like to try your products out in secret so encourage them to get their own range and follow a skincare routine that suits them.

Food for thought... especially now it is 2020 and more and more men are looking after themselves and taking pride in their appearance and their skin. Maybe you know someone who would like to have a facial, massage, foot-care and de-stress. We can give advice on what to do to look after their skin to repair and prevent more damage.

Have a good day with whichever man is in your life, Husband, Boyfriend, Partner, Grandad, Brother, Nephew or friend. Celebrate their difference. Wish my Dad was still here to talk to and do more bike rides with. Whoever is in your life squeeze them a little tighter today.
Love Liz x

My take on 'Positivity'

When I did my 'live' this week I decided to talk about Positivity. I have always been a glass half full person really, and (nearly always) try to find the positive in every situation. The Rainbow has been used quite a lot during this time and it is a symbol of hope and motivation. I have seen an actual rainbow at least 3 times in the last few months and taken it as a symbol to keep going, stay positive and look to the future.

Don't get me wrong, not every day smells of roses and I definitely have days when I don't seem to achieve anything. Everything feels like it goes wrong and I can't seem to get myself motivated. Ever had those days?

It got me thinking about how I could just suggest a few things you may like to try to keep you going when sometimes things get a little hard and you feel like the world is against you, so here are my tips:

1. Get Moving!

Jump about, skip, run (if that's your thing) basically get out and get your body moving. Gardening, walking, cycling, the list goes on. There are benefits to your body, mind and soul. And if you can do it with a friend, even better!

2. Put some music on

I have a pretty eclectic song list set up on Spotify but anything that you love to listen to, sing to, dance about in the kitchen or the shower to will make you feel better. I promise! Music can change your mood, fact. So here are a few of my 'happy' song suggestions; I will survive by Gloria Gaynor, >Happy by Pharrell Williams, It's my Life by Bon Jovi or Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves. If you find a good one, please share it with me

3. Do something fun!

It was my friend's birthday the other evening and we had a murder mystery party via Zoom. Was great fun, such a sociable evening. Maybe doing a jigsaw is your thing, or catching up on your favourite film or box set with a box of chocs and a glass of wine. Find the fun!

4. Get one task done!

When you feel like you have a million things on your 'to do' list and you are not achieving any of them, pick one. Follow it though to completion and then have the satisfaction of crossing it off the list. You will feel a great sense of achievement!

5. Write a list of your achievements during this period

On a similar theme to the point above, think about what you have actually achieved over the past few months. It could be personal, with family, with work, whatever it is. Actually write them down on a piece of paper and you will realise how much you have done. Give yourself the acknowledgement and a pat on the back. You have got this.

I also used this saying, attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt (and also used by Master Oogway in Kung Fu Panda)

Yesterday is history,
Tomorrow is a mystery,
But Today is a gift, that's why we call it the Present

Keep smiling, stay positive, enjoy your day and don't beat yourself up!
Love Liz x

Top 5 Beauty Myths... Busted!

1. Dry and dehydrated skin are the same thing
They are completely different! Dry skin lacks oil; dehydrated skin lacks water. Skin can be dry AND dehydrated. Oily and normal skins can also be dehydrated too. Dryness is a skin type, dehydration is a skin condition.

2. Nails need to breathe
Nails don't have lungs so there is no need to have a break from gel varnish or extensions. The key is ongoing maintenance and use of homecare products to keep nails in tip-top condition. Professional removal of gel polishes and extensions is essential for nail health.

3. Toner just removes cleanser
Toner is a necessary part of your cleansing routine. It helps balance the pH of your skin after cleansing, closes pores and preps the skin for any serums, oils or creams you apply after so don't miss it out!

4. Oily skin does not need a moisturiser
Your skin needs daily protection from a moisturiser, whatever your skin type is. Look for lighter lotions rather than thick creams, and ones that help control oil production and troublesome breakouts. NEVER miss this stage out though as it is essential for your skin's health.

5. Self-tan products protect the skin from UV damage
There are no UV filters in self-tan products so the skin will burn just as it would with no SPF protection. Application of a daily SPF is a must - tanned or not!

Let me know if there are any beauty myths you want me to bust for you!

Make SPF your BFF!

The weather has been so lovely on lockdown hasn't it? I think this whole experience would have been so different for us all if we hadn't seen the sun and been able to get out and enjoy it. The irony of lockdown is that most of us will probably have the best tans we have ever had even though we haven't actually been anywhere.

This got me thinking though about protecting our skin and as you know I do "bang on" about applying sunscreens but only because I am worried about the long-term exposure to sun on skin and in the salon we see more and more cases of serious sun damage and even skin cancer.

We all feel better (and some would argue look better) with a tan, I know that. Sunlight triggers the body's production of Vitamin D which is so important for our bones, blood cells and immune system. If we had never exposed our skin to the sun and environment we would all have that lovely soft skin that babies have but ultimately exposure over time causes skin to sag, feel weathered, even leathery in some cases and causes discoloration and pigmentation spots.

Sunscreen protects us from the UV rays emitted by the sun. UVA are the rays most commonly associated with skin ageing. They are responsible for causing lines, wrinkles, and age spots that make our skin prematurely age. UVB rays are the ones associated with burning. Both are responsible for causing skin cancer. Even if you don't burn and tan easily, skin cancer can happen to anyone regardless of age, skin type or gender. On cloudy days 80% of UV still gets through and water, snow and sand all reflect the rays back into your skin.

The more regularly you apply sunscreen the more you will lessen your chance of developing skin cancer in later life. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and the number tells you how long the sun's rays would take to burn your skin if you apply the sunscreen properly compared with the amount of time without sunscreen e.g. if you use SPF 30 properly it will take you 30 times longer to burn than if you didn't use any at all. If you wear SPF every day your chance of developing skin cancer is reduced by up to 50%!

Here are a few simple reminders for you to follow:

  • Apply once a day as routine, minimum SPF 15 daily and if you are going outside then SPF 30
  • Re-apply regularly, especially after getting wet or sweating
  • Seek shade during the hottest hours of the day, usually between 11am and 4pm
  • Invest in glasses that block out the UV rays
  • Wear long sleeved shirts, loose long trousers to try and protect your skin
  • Check the use-by date on your cream. If the bottle has been kept at the back of the cupboard and is now out of date, throw it out and buy a new one
  • Any cream is the right one as long as you USE it!

Thanks for reading, stay safe in the sun and enjoy the great outdoors!

To Squeeze or not to Squeeze?

Having two teenage stepsons living with me and a love of squeezing spots, this is something that I have spent many happy hours doing, especially over lockdown!

Those that know me well know my favourite part of my job is finding an ingrowing hair and getting it out for my client, or removing a blackhead or two from someone's back or face. Gross for some, but I LOVE it. Some of you I know also have a love of a good squeeze so I thought I would write a short Best Practice Guide. If you are a picker and can't resist at least you'll be doing it hygienically and safely for your skin.

First of all, make sure your hands are clean before you start squeezing. The fastest way to make your spots worse is doing it with dirty hands and spreading the bacteria, so wash hands and make sure nails are clean. You will need several pieces of tissue paper, you need to use a clean piece for each 'squeeze'.

Inviting as they look not all spots are good to squeeze. If there is pus visible the body is already trying to heal itself and unless treated with extreme care you risk spreading the infection and causing scarring, so leave alone. Any red, hard lumps should be left alone and may be cysts. If you have Acne it is best to seek advice from your Doctor or a Dermatologist because you may need antibiotics.

However, black heads or 'Comedones' are pores that are blocked with sebum and this has turned black due to oxidising from the air and environmental pollution. These can be removed manually and here are my simple steps to follow:

  1. This works best if the skin is softened first, either steaming your face over a bowl of warm water or straight after a hot bath/shower
  2. You need good lighting and ideally a magnifying mirror too
  3. Wrap clean tissue around your fingers and apply gentle pressure either side of the spot and squeeze upwards
  4. The spot should hopefully 'pop' out but if it doesn't, DON'T keep going or you may cause damage to your skin
  5. After each extraction change your piece of tissue
  6. Once you have finished, rinse your skin again, and apply a scrub or a cleansing mask if you have time. If not, tone your skin then apply tea tree gel which is antiseptic and healing (or a similar product). You can then apply your moisturiser as normal

I hope you find this useful. I am always happy to advise on appropriate skincare and offer guidance on a skincare routine, so contact me if you want any further information or help. Thanks for reading, safe squeezing!

Being a Man in a Woman's World

Liz asked me to write a little about being a male in a female dominated industry and why I chose to become a beauty therapist. I thought it would be a great idea.

So a little background on me. I have 8 siblings, I suffered with bullying during the early years of secondary school and I have a huge passion for baking. Because of the bullying in school I grew a hard outer shell, anything I wanted to achieve I would put my all into it. While in school I did a lot of the hands on subjects like textiles and drama. I was always the kid that was daydreaming and thinking creatively.

I truly didn't know what I wanted to do after year 11. I did a few weeks work placement at Liz Evans Beauty in year 10. After speaking to a long time family friend none other than Lauren, one of our senior therapists. Hearing about all the good things she does at work I was sold on where I wanted to work, and what I wanted to do as a career.

Going to college was a big learning curve for me. I'm sure for the college also. I was one of the first males to do the course at Abingdon and Witney College. I came across a few hurdles with not being able to get clients for some of my assessments. With the struggle came the determination to be the best. I think that was seen not just by my personal growth over the two years being at college but, also by the teachers as I received "Student of the Year" two years running.

Being bullied and struggling with Homophobia for a large part of my life made me work harder for what I wanted. With the help from an amazing family pushing me to be true to whom I am, and the encouragement from everyone at Liz Evans Beauty I over came all kinds of hurdles.

One thing that I won't ever get used to is when applying for any product courses they have some shock in their voice when they ask for the participants name and it sinks in that I am indeed male.

I definitely have made the right choice in my career. I have a the full encouragement from everyone at Liz Evans Beauty and my whole family, so I will continue to surprise product houses when they realise a male is on the way to do their course for many years to come!

Beauty is a Duty!
The 1940's beauty look with red lipstick and Victory roll hairstyle has become an iconic look. Rationing during World War II affected everything and everyone - including cosmetics. With everything else being controlled by the government, the one thing women could control was their appearance.

Cosmetic houses started making cosmetics in patriotic shaped and coloured packaging. Products were given names such as Helena Rubinstein's famous "Regimental Red" lipstick and other brands gave their lipsticks patriotic names, such as "Victory Red" and "Fighting Red".

As the war went on shortages and rationing kicked in, people ran out of things and women had to get creative on how to still look glamorous despite not being able to get hold of products. Beetroot juice was used as a stain for the lips, and gravy browning used on legs to mimic stockings with a pencil-drawn "seam" at the back of the leg.

American GI's supplied silk stockings, chewing gum and lipstick, and the black market thrived. Women were actively encouraged to look the most glamourous they ever had and told they needed something to keep them feeling confident, feminine and in control. Articles encouraged them to eke out their precious supplies, like the last scrape of their lipstick.

The Government even used the image for recruiting land girls with an attractive lady wearing bright red lipstick and mascara. Beauty is a Duty was promoted as a means of keeping up morale, and short films were made to encourage women doing "dirty" jobs, such as factory work or working on the land, to stay safe and still look pretty!

It was the first time that middle and upper class women started going out to work to do "their bit" taking on male roles and occupations in the workplace. Women wanted to stay feminine and the iconic 1940's look was born. Hair needed to be kept away and off face for doing the work on land and in the factories, so the iconic "Victory roll" hairstyle was born. Hair was curled and rolled away from the face, under a net or scarf but still looked glamourous. The name for the iconic look was taken from the downward spiral of an enemy plane shot down.

Hope you have enjoyed reading this. Thank you to the generation that sacrificed so much so that we have the freedom and liberty we have today as a nation. We are able to make any choice of makeup, hair style and colour and I know am grateful!

Information found online via these articles: The Telegraph [Sandra Lawrence], La Riviere Distribution

Why ESPA and Jessica?
Lauren asked me this question the other day, and I thought it was a good idea to explain my choices to you. The simple answer is I wanted brands that represented quality, were known for their reputation and delivered results both for therapist and client, whether for the skin or the hands and nails.

Having worked at Champneys in Tring at the start of my career in the beauty industry I was aware of both brands and had first-hand experience of the products and what clients thought about them. I also knew I had to 'believe' in the brands if I was going to invest financially in them and ask my clients to 'buy in' to them as well.

I particularly liked the fact that ESPA was a British brand, designed, developed, researched and made in the UK. There are so many brands out there that are from further afield and at the time I started the salon I felt ESPA were small enough that they understood me and what I was aiming to achieve with my business. Even the letter 'E' in the name stood for education and as I also had been a Beauty Therapy lecturer, passing on knowledge and expertise to clients to help them best meet their skincare needs was important to me. I could phone head office at any time and even Susan Harmsworth, the lady who founded ESPA, could be on the other end of the phone to offer advice or help.

Those that know me also know how important standards are to me. Our industry is still unregulated and there are plenty of people out there offering treatments that are not 'qualified' other than attending a weekend course, or don't have the correct insurance in place. We are working hard as an industry to push for stricter legislation and this will come, I am sure of it, but in the meantime as a business we all ensure our training is as up to date as it can be and that we are at the top of our game. Each member of the team holds the highest level of Beauty Therapy training you can have and we do continuous CPD throughout the year, all supported by the brands we use with in the salon.

My choice to use Jessica was pretty much based on the same reasoning. They were and still are one of the top known brands for natural nail care and although it comes from the States, the distribution company in the UK, Gerrard International were, and still are, known for their high standards with training, keeping therapists up-to-date, and results from the products.

I love the results we get with Jessica, and when Viv, our Area Manager visits us each month the team and I are like kids in a sweet shop with all the colours! So, my choice was influenced by my knowledge already in the industry and wanting results for our clients, a firm belief in high standards and the importance of ongoing training and support and the quality of the ranges.

I know a lot of you love ESPA and Jessica as much as we do and I look forward to many more years of working with these brands in the salon. Don't forget to take advantage of our special discount codes during lockdown if you wish to purchase anything from either of these companies, email me if you can't find the link on our FB or IG page,

Take care and thanks for reading!
Liz xx

The Importance of good skincare
I have been thinking about this and it isn't rocket science but sometimes we need to be reminded so we can keep our skin in tip top condition. You don't need to have a 10 step skincare routine to have great skin but you do need to use good products and spend (a little) time on it, not forgetting the SPF! Here are the 4 key steps:

  1. Preparation is everything so cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser (No Wipes) to remove make-up and grease so that your skin is primed and ready to absorb whatever you apply next.

  2. Tone your skin to ensure make-up is completely removed, pores are closed and skin is prepped for moisture. Choose a toner depending on your skin type is the best advice but don't miss this step out.

  3. Next, treat your skin with either a serum or oil to treat a specific skin concern. Usually only a few drops of the product and press it onto the skin (rather than rub) and allow a little time for it to sink into the skin. If you don't have time then you could mix it into your moisturiser.

  4. Finally and most importantly, moisturise your skin. Whatever your skin really needs, but essential this will hydrate, nourish, protect and repair the skin. Choose one to suit your skin type or ask us for advice on which one you should be using at home.

Easy to follow and should only take 5 minutes each morning and evening. Don't forget your SPF and NEVER go to bed with your make-up on!

Hope that helps, Liz

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