With fans including Kourtney and Kim Kardashian and Kate Best (aka J-Lo’s make-up artist), silk pillowcases are the industry’s worst kept beauty secret. Devotees promise this simple change to your sleeping habits will fight sleep lines and even prolong your blow dry.
But do they work? Here's what we found....
It all starts with choosing the right pillowcase. Yours should be 100% silk, ideally a long strand mulberry silk with a traditional charmeuse weave, as that’s the smoothest. Prices start at as little at £20, but invest in the best you can afford.
Then be realistic. The finest pillowcase in the land isn’t going to help if you aren’t getting enough sleep. Lack of shut-eye can make you look tired, pale and older than your years, as well as leading to stress, a big no no for your complexion.
For true beauty sleep, turn your bedroom into an oasis of calm, with no smartphone phones or TV once you hit the hay. If you struggle to wind down? Try a warm bath (not too hot or your skin won’t thank you) with one of our gorgeous scented candles .
At night, your skin is in repair mode so it’s the perfect time to give it a helping hand? Remove your make-up and the effects of a busy day with a gentle cleanser and then apply your Night Cream before touching down on your soft silk pillow.
For the best results try to elevate your pillow to allow fluid to drain from the face, reducing puffiness under your eyes and ideally you should be sleeping on your back to avoid creasing the skin.
The claim is that as silk doesn’t absorb in the same way as cotton does, a silk pillowcase won’t dry out your skin the way a cotton pillowcase does. Silk is also said to pick up less pore clogging bacteria than cotton.
Expect your new pillowcase to feel refreshingly cool against the skin – perfect on a muggy summer night! The jury is out on whether it will truly fight long term wrinkles, but it will help to prevent sleep creases - and you can rest assured that you’re lovely moisturiser will be able to works its magic on your face rather than being sucked into your pillow case.
Jetting off to sunnier climes? Pack like a pro with our guide to your fashion and beauty essentials...
Less is More
Rather than tossing every summer separate you own into your case, think about how what pieces actually work together and how many complete outfits you’ll need.
The Guardian’s Fashion Editor, Jess Cartner-Morley recommends a 24 hour ‘cooling off’ period after packing so you can remove that ill-judged sale purchase you’ve never actually worn from your case!
Maxi dresses are perfect for taking you from day through to night. French Connection have some gorgeous options in their sale right now or if you want to blow the budget check out these Matches lovelies.
Accessories can steal a lot of space in your luggage and, in the case of shoes, add weight too. Be strict. A single pair of flip-flops or sliders for your daily lazing by the pool, some trainers or loafers if you like to cram in some sight-seeing and some sassier sandals should see you through your break.
Throw in an old pillowcase to bring your laundry home in too (and a few empty ziplock bags for wet swimwear or leaking cosmetics) and you'll be giving yourself a big pat on the back when you get home.
Summer 2017 is all about the statement earring, so leave your valuable jewellery a home. Pop in a pair of eye-catching shoulder grazers like these and you’ll be bang on trend every night.
Sun, sea and sangria might be a winning combination for a relaxing break, but not so much for your hair and skin...
Sun exposure, salt water, and sweat all pull moisture from your hair. Woven straw sunhats never go out of style and can go some way towards protecting your locks. Try a water resistant sun protection spray like the fabulous Kerastase Micro Voile Protecteurl
It goes without saying that you’ll be slathering on a high SPF (no lower than factor 30) suncream every day. At night, help sun parched skin to recover with CULT51 Night Cream. Not only will you benefit from the 51 anti-aging properties, but it’s also ‘humidity adaptive’ - so it’ll work even harder to maintain moisture levels in synthetic environments. Perfect for that air conditioned hotel room!
Make up-wise, a holiday is a chance to let your skin breathe. Travel light. Base-wise, all you need is a lovely dewy moisturiser, concealer and highlighter.
A tinted brow gel will tame sun bleached eyebrows and a waterproof mascara should prevent you emerging from the pool with panda eyes!
In terms of nails go for tangerine orange or bright blue if you prefer one colour, but if you’re feeling bold, 2017 has seen a huge trend for more individual nails, in rainbow stripes, geometric designs or with metallic tips...
Complement your tan with a bold red lip and you’re good to go!
Try rolling your clothes, not folding them. Trust us, it’s a magical space creator (and should also save on creasing).
Or watch how this woman fits a whopping 200 items in her suitcase!
Doesn’t help with the weight limit though. Bet she still gets the ‘heavy’ sticker of shame on her case!
Heading off on holiday this summer? We'll bet you're investing plenty of time ensuring you look your very best for the beach, but have you put any thought into how to make sure your complexion looks just as good come September?
We asked Cosmetic Doctor Natalie Blakely for her summer vacation skincare tips so that you can be confident that your 'healthy glow' is actually as healthy as it looks.
Time For Take Off
Cabin air can dry out your skin, so it needs a hydration hit before you board. Opt for a deeply hydrating day cream that will increase moisturisation levels and help to maintain the moisture levels in the skin. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water while on board too.
To ensure that you are looking fresh-faced the moment you touch down, apply some Immediate Effect Serum 15 minutes before you landing. The serum quickly brightens dark circles while minimising fine lines - just perfect for hiding the signs of a long flight or an early start!
With limited suitcase space, you have to choose your skincare products wisely when heading on your holiday. That’s why I recommend the multi-tasking CULT51 Day Cream. Not only does it prime and perfect your skin, it also protects it against future damage. Combining SPF with anti-oxidants, this moisturiser helps minimise free radical damage caused by UV rays.
As many of the signs of ageing are the result of UV exposure, it is vital that you stay safe in the sun. So don’t forget to invest in a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and, of course, plenty of sunscreen. Your skin will thank you for this caution in the future!
Back On Home Soil
Now is the time to start thinking about those skin quality treatments which can quickly and effectively boost collagen production and reverse the signs of ageing for healthier, stronger skin.
Tixel is a phenomenally powerful and highly effective way to do this. Using pure heat energy, Tixel is a highly-customisable treatment which we can use to tackle pigmentation, photo damage and wrinkles.
Led by renowned Cosmetic Doctor Natalie Blakely, the Light Touch Clinic is a multi-award winning clinic based in Weybridge, Surrey, which specialises in anti-ageing medicine, body contouring and wellness.
SKINCARE MYTHS EXPOSED: MEN’S SKIN HAS SPECIAL NEEDS
Men have thicker skin than women. It’s not a sweeping generalisation about guys' ability to take criticism. It’s a fact.
Men’s skin is 20% thicker than women’s and as a rule it is also more oily, but does that mean it needs different skincare? No it doesn’t.
“Men’s skincare is often created from women’s skin care with added astringents,” explains CULT51 founder Richard Mears.
“Add a more masculine scent, more manly packaging and a carefully targeted marketing campaign and you have a male grooming product.”
So can a unisex moisturiser cater for men’s skin too? Of course it can - if it gives it the antioxidants and the hydration that the skin needs.
If the skin is oily, it’s due to producing too much sebum. So applying a product that is going to dry it out (which is what astringents do) is counter-productive because it will upset the balance and the skin will naturally produce more sebum to compensate.
By focusing on the intra cellular layer (the stratum germinativum if you want to get technical!), a high-quality multi-tasking moisturiser is going to sort the cause. Your skin’s in-built management takes over and you have a longer term solution – whether you are male or female.
What Does Men’s Skin REALLY Need?
You can read more about a man’s skincare needs here but it all comes down to four pretty basic - and universal - needs:
Healthy skin needs plenty of hydration both outside and in.
A Healthy Diet
Nuts and seeds, particularly walnuts, are perfect skin foods or discover the other super foods for super skin here.
A Cleanser (no, that doesn’t mean soap!)
: You wash your clothes to remove the dirt and pollution that gets built up during the day and the same goes for your skin.
A Multi-Tasking Moisturiser:
Choose one with high quality ingredients that is going to have a long term lasting effect (prevention is better than cure); protect against photo ageing; dramatically hydrate and energise the skin.
You’ve probably heard that Immediate Effect Serum was created for an A-List Celebrity who needed to look red carpet ready in just 15 minutes. But as a mere mortal – who doesn’t hit the red carpet too many times in an average week - you may be wondering why you need it in your life. These are 5 times when you’ll be saying a hearty Hoorah! that you discovered Immediate Effect Serum.
1) When You’re Headed To The Gym
Time was, you could pull on some ratty old leggings and a faded tee and you’d be good to go for your workout. But thanks to the rise of gym selfies and even gym dating you’re now expected to look your best on the treadmill. Trouble is, wearing make-up to work-out seriously clogs up your pores and can also trap sweat against the skin, worsening any dry areas. Instead, cleanse your skin before your workout and apply Instant Effects Serum 15 minutes before you hit the gym to mask those fine lines and keen your skin hydrated and protected while you feel the burn. Add a tinted lip balm and a slick of Instant Effects brow gel and you’ll have the natural workout look nailed.
2) Before You Step Off The Plane
It’s no surprise that dry cabin air and travel stress can wreak havoc on your skin. But even just being at high altitude can result in a dull complexion, due to reduced blood-flow to the skin. Fight back by applying CULT51 Night Cream before you take off, drinking LOTS of water on the plane, stretching your legs when you can and applying Immediate Effects around an hour before you touch down. While you search for your hand luggage the super charged serum will be working hard for you, smoothing creases, diminishing wrinkle depth, firming, brightening, lifting and fortifying your skin. Happy holidays!
3) The Morning After...
Alcohol drains the skin of moisture and vital nutrients, leaving it taut and lacking brightness. While drinking in moderation and taking on board lots of water throughout the evening is clearly the ideal solution, if that ship has sailed, there are things you can do to ensure your hangover isn’t written all over your face. Light exfoliation will remove dead skin cells and increase circulation, jump starting your complexion. Then apply Immediate Effects Serum for an instant lift. Not only will it disguise those tired eyes, fighting wrinkles in the delicate eye area, but you’ll have 5 anti-inflammatory agents in your corner, a cocktail of powerful antioxidants to ward against the ravages of photo-ageing and free radical attack and an innovative new ingredient which is 99% pure collagen. Bet you’re feeling better already!
4) When You’re a New Mum
Fluctuating hormones, sleepless nights and a serious lack of time for any kind of beauty regime can leave you feeling less than radiant in those first few months. Immediate Effects Serum has a dramatic effect on dark circles, bags and deep set lines. You’ll notice a brighter skin tone and an improvement in texture in just 15 minutes, however, full effects can take up to an hour as it stimulates elastin production and reduces sagging. Best of all, it has a cumulative effect, so the anti-aging benefits build up with time. Apply as a pick me up before meeting up with your new mum friends at baby yoga or keep it in your changing bag for an emergency pick me up on the go.
5) When You Need to Look At Your Very Best
Hot date? Big night out? Lessen the visibility of deep set lines, dark circles, bags and wrinkles while lifting, firming and enhancing elasticity. Use as a primer before you apply your make-up and you’ll find that this lightweight treatment is readily absorbed, closes pores and lines and creates a perfect canvas so you’ll need less make-up and what you do wear will last for longer. You’re welcome!
Bulging wardrobe and make-up bag? Bathroom shelves groaning? Being surrounded by too much stuff can leave us feeling stagnant and overwhelmed and lead to disorganisation and stress (which may well be written all over your face and cause fine lines and wrinkles). Create a more restful space at home (and perhaps even a little more time in the morning!) with a beauty and fashion purge. Professional de-clutterer Jo Cooke shares her top tips...
Clean up in the bathroom
Make a real effort to use up the dregs of your last shampoo or shower gel before buying another.
Look at every item and ask yourself whether you like it, need it and use it. Are there multiple products doing the same job when one could do it better on its own?
Products don't last forever. If something smells odd or has begun to discolour or separate, it's time for the bin.
Not sure what to do with that lavender scented gift set from your Great Aunt last Christmas? Unopened products can be re-gifted or donated to charity.
Tackle your make-up bag
Water-based foundations last up to 12 months, oil-based foundations for 18 months. After that it’s time to say Adios.
You REALLY don’t want to keep mascara for longer than 6 months as out of date, contaminated mascaras can lead to eye infections. Yuck.
Lipsticks vary, with some lasting 1-2 years and others claiming a 4 year lifespan – though if it lasts that long it's obviously a shade you can live without…
If there’s a product you never use the answer is obvious: Chuck it out!
Clear out your closet
Set aside at least an hour or two and divide your clothes into 3 piles: Chuck, Charity and Cherish. Struggling to decide? You can also add a fourth ‘Dilemma’ pile. Put the clothes in this pile into a bag and store it away. If haven’t worn or missed something after 6 months to a year, it's time to let it go.
With each item, ask yourself: Would I miss it? When was the last time I wore it? Would I buy it again now? Will I really wear it again once you’ve lost weight or would I go out and treat myself to something new?
Don’t hang onto things out of guilt. As the old saying goes, if in doubt, throw it out!
Feeling sentimental? Take a photo to capture the memory of the outfit, then let it go.
The decluttering golden rule!
Tidy as you go. Never leave a room empty handed. Pick up that empty shampoo bottle for the recycling as you leave the bathroom. Little and often means things shouldn’t get overwhelming.
Jo Cooke is a member of the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (APDO) and owner of Tapioca Tidy . She is a director of Hoarding Disorders UK and the author of ‘Understanding Hoarding’ - Find it on Amazon
The CULT51 Day Cream and Night Cream duo has everything your skin needs to regenerate, revitalise and turn back the clock.
However, the very healthiest glow starts from within, so these are some of the superfoods you should be slipping into your diet to complement your skincare regime.
Bring on the superfoods for super skin....
Nutrition advice tells you to include some oily fish in your diet. It’s advice your skin will thank you for too. Omega-3 fatty acids are even shown to help protect the skin from sun damage.
Hurray for delicious and healthy dark chocolate! It combines calcium, iron and vitamins A, B1, C, D and E to help repair skin, while flavanols help your skin protect itself from redness, sunspots and other signs of damage from UV rays.
You’d be nuts not to include a handful of this super skin food in your diet. Their B vitamins are proven to help delay skin aging and they’re dark circle combatants too.
Did you know that vitamin C helps you absorb iron? As peppers are packed with vitamin C they’re a skin winner. It also helps collagen production while the beta-carotene has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
We’ve all heard the benefits of blueberries, but aronia berries are packed with a more powerful punch of antioxidants that helps to reduce inflammation.
With its combo of zinc and B vitamins, oats are oh so good for your skin. If you’re prone to acne, you’d do worse than kickstarting the day with a bowl of porridge. Mix in your Aronia berries for a super super skin hit!
SKINCARE MYTHS EXPOSED: WHEN SHOULD YOU APPLY YOUR SERUM
When do you apply serum to your skin? Before your moisturiser or day cream or as the last step of your skincare routine right before your make-up?
We’re willing to bet that you are one of the majority who have been tricked by the beauty myth and are getting this one WRONG!
Because, contrary to popular belief, applying serum before your Day/Night Cream is going to make it harder for your skin to absorb all the active ingredients in your moisturiser – which means you’re missing out on the benefits (and wasting your money!).
Conventional wisdom (and lots of marketing budgets!) have told you that you put the serum on first to enable the actives in the serum to penetrate the skin, but if the actives are too big to be absorbed into the skin, they’re always going to be too big to be absorbed into the skin.
“Imagine if you were trying to enter a hole, but you were too big to squeeze through, so you go and put a rucksack on, it’s not going to help you, is it?” explains CULT51 founder Richard Mears.
As a second dimension, serums are all film formers (to varying extents). They put a film on your skin to make it feel smooth. When you apply moisturiser on top of this film it’s going to make it far more difficult to penetrate.
Richard adds: “Think of your skin as a sponge. It can only absorb so much. If the sponge has already soaked up all the water before you try to add soap, you’re just going to end up with bubbles on the surface.”
If you’re using a well-formulated, multi-tasking moisturiser you don't actually need a serum at all - unless it is a specialist one that addresses specific complaints or problem areas (in the way that Immediate Effect Serum tackles dark circles and excessive puffiness).
If you love to multi-layer your products, have a think about why you’re doing it: is one product not giving you all the benefits that you need? And remember there are only so many active ingredients your skin can absorb - no matter how many products you use.
Award-winning beauty journalist Rosie Green tells you more about how streamlining your skincare really does benefit your skin here.
There's no excuse for not protecting your skin from the damaging effects of sunlight and yet way too many people do it. Male beauty and lifestyle blogger CJ explains why he's urging YOU to add a daily dose of SPF is essential for men.
Regardless of gender when it comes to using an SPF on a daily basis, there are still way too many people out there who think it’s something you only need to apply in the Summer or when you’re on holiday somewhere hot to stop you from burning. That simply isn’t true - it is an essential part of your everyday beauty routine.
Whenever there is daylight, the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays are penetrating your skin and you need to make sure you protect yourself, especially if you're working outside. I know many guys think they are too tough or thick skinned, but the sun doesn’t discriminate based on gender, everyone gets an equal helping.
UVB - these are the rays which you can feel as they are the ones which cause your skin to feel hot and go red, before burning, if you’re not protected.
UVA – these are the rays which penetrate the skin the deepest and cause the most damage to the lower layers of skin, causing it to prematurely age and can cause long term health issues.
There are many options available from gels, to creams and sprays so there really isn’t any excuse not to make sure you are protected, and if you've read my previous post you'll know that I believe all men should be wearing a moisturiser so why on earth wouldn't you choose one that has an SPF in it?
I don’t want to sound this like I am having a go at the male population, but I would like you all to take wearing SPF seriously, we all have one life and it’s important that you do as much as you can to protect yourself to live a long happy and healthy life.
It literally takes a couple of seconds to apply, so just add it to your daily routine and think of it as insurance for your skin.
CJ is a male beauty blogger who is frequently invited to share his wisdom in magazines and online.
You can read his blog and find out more here: www.desertislandskin.co.uk or follow him on social media: Twitter: @DesertIsleSkin FB and Instagram @DesertIslandSkin
The filtered world of Instagram and glossy magazines means we're being constantly bombarded with images of 'flawless' celebrities, but what does that even mean and how do they get that glow? Award-winning beauty journalist Anita Bhagwandas reveals all.
Flawless. It’s a word that get’s bandied around relentlessly in beauty, but it’s most commonly attributed to how our make-up looks. Which is weird, actually, because when we’re aiming for flawless, what we’re really after is that skin-finish that looks like we’ve spent our entirely lives mainlining green juices and avoiding dairy/gluten/sugar like it was actually Satan. This look doesn’t come from your make-up – no matter how brilliant your foundation is – it actually comes from a killer skincare regime.
Rehauling your skincare routine doesn’t have to be super complicated. Firstly, nail the right skincare kit for you and keep it simple.
Invest in a great cleanser that suits your skin – heads up, if you’ve used the same foaming one for over 5 years, that’s probably a sign it might be out of sync with your skincare needs. Use it once in the morning, if you need to. But use it twice in the evening to remove make-up, and then again to remove pollution, excess sebum and bacteria. That’s non-negotiable.
Next, apply an ingredient-packed serum that contains ingredients like caffeine, and antioxidants to rev up your skin’s renewal and target free radical damage form environmental pollution, stress and junk food.
Serums contain smaller ingredient molecules, so they penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin to create longer-term change.
Finally, finish with a small daub of moisturizer to target the upper layers of the skin and improve your skin’s barrier function. For daytime minimum – this is legitimately all you need. Really.
There’s a few add-ons you might want too – for example, a nourishing eye cream, a chemical exfoliator used a maximum of twice a week (scrubs irritate the skin and stretch the pores – avoid), plus a potent night cream. Look for one that contains peptides, natural oils and actives to kickstart your skin cell renewal when your body is on its nighttime repair mode.
Above all – becoming your skin’s own expert is the difference between average skin, and beautiful skin.
Keep it simple, work out what your skin needs (just by pressing the skin and feeling it’s texture every morning before you whack on a tonne of products it probably doesn’t need), a brief facial massage as you cleanse and tonnes of sleep.
Flawless skin, isn’t about make-up, it’s entirely about your skincare routine.
Anita has made her name creating thought-provoking, culturally relevant and agenda-setting journalism that’s real. Currently working as a freelance Beauty and Features journalist, she was formally at Marie Claire, Women’s Health, and Stylist.
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