During the last week, the news has been atrocious, depressing and I have lost my words for what we are witnessing. The reality is brutal and overwhelming, so I just want to move my attention from things that I cannot control, to more simple, mundane and pleasurable things. And share it with the girls.
One disclaimer before you continue reading this post.
I am going to speak about beauty, so if you are male and don’t work in the cosmetic industry, you will probably won’t find out anything that you would like to know more about. You have been warned. And I am going to sprinkle it with the ugly truth: staying young and look young is a fight, it a quest to fend off mortality. And the stakes are high: our face, our hair, our body. It costs time and money. I am no beauty blogger but I am a discerning consumer with a very developed sense of smell and I hate getting ripped off. I believe that quality needs to be rewarded, but I do not want to pay for the global advertising campaigns of the products I put on face, hair and body.
A purchase of a cosmetic item is never a simple purchase, it is a trip to hope land. I feel more excited buying a lipstick than a new scooter, to put this in perspective.
I believe, like Helena Rubinstein, founder of the eponymous brand, was used to say that “there are not ugly women, only lazy ones”. As a non lazy woman, every time I buy a new product, I expect it is going improve my life. I do not buy cream, I buy hope in a jar.
Growing up the world of cosmetics was divided into two main and simple categories: good stuff, which you buy in fancy perfumeries and pharmacies and costs more than a casual dinner out, and not so good stuff, available in the supermarkets or shopping centres. Now things have changed, there are probably 250 more brands than when I was a teenager, cosmetic surgeons have their line of creams and large multinationals like L’Oreal and Coty own the majority of the products available, so options and prices, are endless. To make things even more subtle and confusing the packaging has also evolved and brands carry values for each client segment.
Let’s start with the face. I am a fan of Sarah Chapman and nearly all her skincare range. I also love doing facials and I try to do a weekly mask at the very last. Despite liking the idea of treating myself to one of her amazing facials in Sloane Square, I do not fancy the idea of parting from 150 quid plus every six weeks. So I discovered an alternative, which is her facial in a box, the Sarah Chapman Sunday Night signature’s facial. It comes with easy-to-follow instructions and a leaflet that explains how to massage your skin, that can be repeated on a daily basis using other creams too. The best thing is that contains the material for two facials, and you are left with a bit of extra cream. The result is great. I did it during a week when I wasn’t sleeping very well, went out a bit too much but people were complimenting me how well I look. The skin is left with a lovely glowing light and the texture is firmer.
Now, this is the time of the year when, if I was still living in Italy, I would probably go for few massages, releasing toxins trapped under my skin and make my cellulite appear less scary. Since the age of 12, trying the first swimming costume of the season is a disappointing experience. In London finding a masseuse that can do some lynfodrenage massage or slimming massage is like finding the Holy Grail. When you type it in Google, they direct you to some sauna and non-recommendable environments, unless you are a man in search of Thai pleasures. and if you think I am joking, check out this video. I have done everything it shows. You do not need to speak Italian to understand it.
Having done a bit of research beyond the first page of Google and spoken to a fellow Italian during a gym class, I found out that, in order to smooth the skin, loose few centimetres and get rid of fat cells, the place to go is Marylebone, just around the corner from Hayley Street. I headed to the Cosmetic Skin Clinic, where there is an extensive menu of non-invasive cosmetic treatments, and devoted a couple of relaxing hours to the capable hands of a lovely therapist and a machine called Cool Sculpting. It is the bread and butter of the clinic and I am sure there are busy right now, with summer approaching, freezing and massaging lots of women (and men).
The procedure is simple. You lie on a bed and the machine works on the selected area, freezes the local fat for about 20 minutes in each localised area. After that, a skilled therapist massages it for few minutes and then your fat dissolves in the months to come. Forever. No collateral effects, no special rules to follow, just don’t put on weight. Different rules apply if you are working on other areas, such as tummy or face. While the machine works on your selected spots, you can read, watch TV or browse your phone. I was so relaxed and comfortable that I even fell asleep during the treatment, as the noise produced by the machine is quite soothing.
I did one treatment for upper legs. When I went to the clinic for the first time, I discovered people do it for much smaller areas such as chin, arms (see bingo wings), and stomach. It works best on selected area and, mainly if you are not fat but have some targeted areas where diet and exercise fail. Like old school massages, with the difference that you do it once and then you are done. Now, I do not think I will ever be asked to model for bikinis or underwear, but the look and consistency of my skin have definitely improved, and I believe it is there to stay, and possibly improve even further in the months to come. The sort of thing that is priceless for your self-confidence. Now I have a tights gap and more definition is visible, and I am optimistic!
When the tights come off and the sun is out, I suddenly want bronzed and healthy limbs. Now, I am afraid I haven’t found a good self-tanning lotion for the body or one I can apply skilfully without orange lines, but the good news is that I have the solution for the face. And the best thing is, it smells lovely. It is from James Read, and works as an overnight mask. The tan mist compliments it nicely, adding an extra layer of colour. Plus it is refreshing, in case you might want to use it in a warm place.It is super moisturising, very forgiving and builds up nicely in two or three days. I do not love sunbathing, do not want to invite new wrinkles on my face and always wear a hat and sunglasses, so I find this perfect for the holiday and not only that. As soon as the summer arrives, I want to look tanned and healthy.
And last but not least, on the “best ideas/ products to share” an oil that I discovered by chance. It was in the goodie bag of the Chelsea Flower Show, alongside other plants and flower related creams and soaps. It is the Dr Jackson’s Baobab and Rose oil. The instructions couldn’t be simpler: put it where you like. I have been using it for my lips and I love it. A Very little amount goes a long way. Sometimes useful discoveries come by chance.
An honest post cannot spare something not quite perfect. I have one beauty regret, which is another lip product. I splashed way too much money on a lip product by Lancer, another “new and groundbreaking ” brand.
The purpose of this lip balm is to moisturize, stimulate collagen production and increase the volume of the lips. The only thing I can say is that it stings, dries my lips and the cap doesn’t work very well, so I had a lot of product, which looks and feels like glue, spilling in my makeup bag. Not a winner.