Monday, 15 October 2012

Best Bath Bits

By Michelle Allan for The 'I' on Saturday

Sanctuary Relaxing bath oil:
Creates a silky vail of oil on the top of the water making the perfect bath time retreat. The jojoba, primrose and almond oils moisturise your body while the fragrant spices relax and sooth your mind.
£5.00 250ml,;

Radox Herbal Vapour Therapy Bath Salts:
Contains Eucalyptus to clear the head and mind, and mineral rich salts that ease tired and aching muscles. Simply sprinkle in and soak away aches and pains in a dreamy dip.
£1 from Boots, Sainsburys, Tesco and chemists;

Decleor Relaxing Bath Gel:
Helps relaxation and promotes a sense of wellbeing by eliminating impurities and neutralising the effects of hard water giving you a soothing soak.

Lush Luxury Bath Melt:
This luxury bath melt will help to send you off to dream land with its blend of lavender, chamomile, jasmine, sandalwood and ginger, while the cocoa butter and almond oil moisturise.
£3.15 for 112g,;

Simple Relaxing Bath Milk:
For those sensitive skins, simple’s bath milk cleans, soothes and moisturises your skin with no harsh chemicals.
£2.00 for 400ml,;

Laura Mercier Crème Honey Bath :
Makes a foamy bath full of rich bubbles to leave you relaxed and calm while the shea butter and vanilla extracts leave your skin velvety smooth.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Night Cremes

Michelle Allan for Independent
1// Nivea Regenerating Night Crème
Contains organically grown Aloe Vera, which is renowned for its rejuvenating properties, and Argan oil, a natural anti-oxidant, both work together to sooth and replenish skin overnight.

2// Olay Anti-wrinkle Sensitive Night Creme
All dies, perfumes and oils have been removed from this product so it’s great for sensitive skin. It provides deep hydration and gently reduces the appearance of wrinkles while you sleep.  

3// L’Oreal Youth Code Rejuvenating Anti-wrinkle Night Crème
Designed to promote youthful behaviour by improving cell activity within the skin, Youth code aids in skin recovery at night, helping skin look and act more youthful.

Estee Lauder Time Zone Night Anti-Wrinkle Crème

The powerful formula including amino acid and Tri-hyaluronic night complex, work together to replenish collagen and combat night time dehydration to promote radiant younger looking skin.

5// Origins Make a Difference Night Skin Rejuvenating Gel Crème
Packed with vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants it replenishes skin and gets rid of old cells, leaving the skin protected and ready to fight free radicles throughout the day.

6// No.7 Restore and Renew Night Crème

Has an intensive nourishing complex with an optimum blend of lipids which immediately start moisturising skin to strengthen its resilience to future dryness.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Freaky is finally in fashion

By Michelle Allan

Fetish wear has finally crossed over in to mainstream, causing a stir on this seasons catwalks. The weird and wonderful however does not stop there with PVC and latex effects transcending on to the make-up and beauty scene. The industry has finally tapped in to a trend which has grown in popularity over the past few years brought to the forefront of press attention with the rise of lady Gaga and her prosthetic horns, blue lipstick and Cruella Deville hair styles.

Spring and summer make up looks are a mixture of high shine PVC doll looks, natural skin and some heavy lips inspired by the 50's and 90's pop art. Most of the definition is concentrated on the eyes with a glossy wax effect on the lids.

In New York Alexander Wang’s catwalk was dominated by natural skin and nude lips with smudged greasy looking eyes. Black eyeliner was smudged upwards around the eyelid, away from the eye lash line, and outwards. Gloss was then applied to the inner corners of the eye to produce a wet look.

Jason Wu Jason Wu used bold red lips for his New York fashion show. This was combined with natural coloured gloss on the eyelids and a thin liquid line above the lashes to make them look thicker. To finish the look black mascara was applied to thicken the lashes.

London’s catwalks stuck with the strong lip trend with ASHISH Georgina Grayham using Black lipstick to create a strong look. The eyelids were pressed with pink glitter which was dragged below the eye from the outer corners to the middle of the eye, this was then sealed with Vaseline and lashes were covered with black mascara.

Mary Katrantzou kept her makeup looks simple using strong pastel colours on the lips. Greens, blues, pinks and purples were intensified by using white underneath to bring out a strong pastel shade.

In Milan the out there trends took it to a new level. Fendi used gold and silver leaf dotted on the eye lids and brows to create shiny metallic look. This was combined with nude skin and lips to create a look fit for space.

Paris catwalks followed this out there trend with Minx nail foils stuck to the eyebrows of models with nude faces. While Mugler used glitter on the eyebrows to create a high shine effect and mixed this with neon glitter green and yellow lips.

The Beauty industry has also adopted the rubber trend as one of its own releasing new beauty products and treatments regularly.

Illamasqua have released their ‘Theatre of Nameless’ collection which has a new kinky rubber look finish to their chip resistant hard wearing nail varnish. There are four colours to choose from ‘Kink’ which is green, ‘Vice’ is a deep red, ‘Faux Pas’ comes in Purple and ‘Taint’ a deep brown. The caps of the bottles are also rubber rather than a hard plastic making them easy to work with.

Bliss have started to sell a ‘Fabulous Skin-Reviving Mask’ which clams the skin and evens out its tone and texture. Its main ingredient is Algin, which is an extract from Algae, this helps the mask to set in to a rubberized mask and allows for absorption of all the other ingredients. Seaweed is notoriously porous and draws out impurities from your skin whilst exfoliating, Billberry another ingredient soothes and nourishes and the vitamin C brightens the skin.

So this summer embrace the inner Freak.

Friday, 27 January 2012

New year, New Skin.

Michelle Allan

A guide to how to look after your skin in the new year.

We start the new year with resolutions, undoubtedly broken half way through, but this year why don’t you start with a new skincare regime and stick to it. Around the winter our skin really does suffer, all that time out fighting the cold, wind and rain combined with the late nights and early mornings; not forgetting the piled on make-up and alcohol consumption leaves skin dry and dehydrated.

The skin is one of the largest organs of the body, it gives us clues to its own health and reflects the health of other body systems this is why it is important to keep it healthy. It varies in thickness on different parts of the body, for instance it is thinnest on the eyelids and lips and thickest on the soles of your feet and palms of your hands, it is imperative to take care of the skin on your face because it is light and sensitive. The skin can be divided in to two parts the epidermis and dermis.

The epidermis is the surface layer of the skin these are the outermost skin cells which are constantly lost through wear and tear. There is no blood supply to these layers and so all the cells are dead. The only living cells are those right at the bottom where nourishment is provided by a blood supply from the dermis. The cells in the bottom layer keep producing daughter cells which are pushed upward towards the surface where they die and are rubbed off. The epidermis consists of five layers which all do different things. They let the sun through giving us Vitimin D, produce Keratin a protein that protects the skin, and they contain the pigment Melanin which gives us our skin colour. The Dermis is under the Epidermis, this is called the true skin it contains blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles, sweat glands and oil glands. It is made up of elastic connective tissues and has the main job of holding the skin in shape, giving it the ability to resume its original position that’s why it will return to shape straight after you pinch it.

Daily you should cleanse, tone and moisturise using specific products for your skin. All brands cater for different skin types and it will say what type it is on the bottle. Do not wash your face with soap or baby wipes these will push dirt in to your pores and clog them, causing spots. Start by getting some cotton pads with a dab of cleanser applied to them. Use this to cleanse your face, using warm water to open the pores and get all the dirt out. Next wipe your face with a plain cotton pad soaked in warm water. Now to tone, use cold water on the pad, add some toner and wipe your face, the cold water will close the pores ready for the last step, moisturising. This should be done every morning and night, never go to bed with your make-up on and always moisturise to protect your skin.

Weekly you should give yourself one or two facials. First cleanse your face by putting boiling water in a bowl, put your face over the steam and cover your head and bowl with a towel let the steam gently open up your porse. If you have oily skin put a few drops of Tea Tree oil in the water, for sensitive or dry skin try some rose oil and for combination skin try witch Hazel. Next step in our facial is exfoliation. If your skin is dry, exfoliate twice a week to rid the layer of dead cells. If you have oily skin exfoliate once a week but be gentle if you are too rough it could cause your sebaciouse glands to produce more oil to protect the skin. If you have combination skin exfoliate your whole face once a week and exfoliate just your dry patches on the second facial of the week. After your exfoliation you should apply a face mask. For oily skin you should use a tea tree clay mask apply it generously to the whole of your face and let it dry for 10 minuets before washing it off. Dry skin reacts better to a moisturising face mask that doesn’t dry try a Sink in Vitamin E mask. An Aloe Vera or chamomile and rose protective mask would be best for sensitive skin. For combination skin you should use the tea tree mask on the T-zone and a moisturising mask on the dry cheeks. Lastly to complete your facial moisturise using a cream specifically designed for your skin type and always apply in an upward motion.

Skin Type:
Normal - Has an even healthy colour over the face and neck, Your skin has a smooth texture without blemishes. This skin is the easiest to look after, you can use products for normal skin.

Dry - Generally even colour although cheeks are prone to redness. The texture is usually a little rough and uneven. It has small pores and is not producing enough of its own oil to keep the cells moisturised. For this skin you should gently exfoliate twice a week and use heavy moisturisers.

Dehydrated - If your skin is rougher and pinker than normal you are dehydrated. People who are dehydrated think they have dry skin but that is not the case. It is not getting the moisture from inside so drink more water.

Oily - The surface of your skin is shiny from sebum or oil.The colour is dull and pores are larger making you prone to spots and black heads. You should use products specifically for oily skin that are not greasy.

Combination - Combination skin is a mixture of different skin types. Usually people with combination skin have an oily t-zone which is your forehead and nose and dry cheeks. You can buy products for combination skin but you should use different face masks on the different skin types.

Sensitive - Skin is red and sore, you may develop irregular patches of dryness and irritation, any skin type can be sensitive. Skin changes every several years so you may gain or lose sensitivities during your life. You should use products made specifically for sensitive skin that are not perfumed.

Handy tips to survive Uni

Michelle Allan

So, here you are at the beginning of your university life. Time to make a new start, a new you and here are a few tips to help you cope on your way.

1. Hung over from Fresher’s week?

To recover quickly from the night before, set your alarm for an hour before you are due to get up for lectures. When the dreaded alarm rings take a paracetamol with a glass of water containing a vitamin tablet replenishing any lost vitamins and minerals (Berocca £4.99, is preferred by many). Go back to sleep for an hour but, don’t forget to reset your alarm. For breakfast have bread, butter and golden syrup this replenishes potassium, sodium and fructose speeding up recovery. Avoid coffee as it’s a diuretic and will cause further dehydration. Also avoid aspirin and fizzy drinks as they may upset the stomach.

2. Running late with Bed Head?

For quick and easy clean looking hair, spray it with a dry shampoo (Batiste £3.04, is the best, it caters for all hair colours so dark hair won’t be left looking white). Part your hair and apply some volumising powder to your roots and massage in to your scalp with your finger tips giving automatic lift without having to back comb (GOT2B Schwarzkopf £4.07, is good and affordable). Now give your hair a good brush out and if more volume is needed back comb the roots and give it a quick squirt of hairspray (Silvikrin £1,01, is great and cheap). If your ends are looking a little dry, rub a dab of straightening serum (Pantene Pro-V ice shine serum £4.51) in your palms and run through the ends of your hair.

3. Looking pale and tired?

The eyes are the main focal point of the face if they look sore, and puffy your whole demeanour will look tired and run down. So start by placing either an ice cold slice of cucumber or a cold camomile teabag to the eyelids for 10 – 15 minutes, this will brighten the whites of the eyes and lesson puffiness. Now cleanse your skin by mashing up a cucumber and brushing it on your face leave for 10 minutes, cleaning and closing pores, then rinse it off. Lastly smother your face with a daily moisturiser (Oil of Olay complete care £7.65, is a good affordable option and also contains SPF 15 protecting your skin from the sun).

4. Want to hide behind make-up?

Sometimes when we look tired it is easy to pile the make-up on, but this can make you look worse. Simply apply some liquid foundation to the face and some concealer under the eyes and across the cheek bones, making your face look brighter (Bourjois brush concealer £7.49, is perfect). Next lightly brush a bronzing powder on top and finish with mascara and lipstick. If you don’t have time to apply a whole face of make-up just pop on a red lipstick this will pull the attention to the lips and make you look sassy and natural. Lastly to keep your make-up on all day give your face a quick squirt of hairspray.

5. Hand Bag essentials:

A few items can help you get through those hard days, first a small tin of Vaseline (Lip therapy with Aloe vera £1.39) this always comes in handy in the winter to combat chapped dry hands and lips, and in the summer to protect the skin, it will also stop frizzy hair if you pull a little through the ends with your palms. Nail varnish not only helps with chipped nails but also stops a run in your tights and it can reinforce a loose button by applying it to the breaking thread. Plasters are a must have in any bag, they can help with minor accidents, also if you have a unravelling hem use a plaster to hold it in place, and if your shoes are flopping on and off you can stick a plaster or two in the heel.

6. Other Quick tips:

These quick and easy tips will help you while on the move. If your hair is limp half way through the day use some hand sanitizer on the roots to remove the grease. Forgotten your lip gloss? Use some honey, not only will your lips be shiny but the natural ingredients will leave your lips smooth. For an important date curl your eyelashes, you can use a spoon by placing the concave side on your eye allowing your eyelashes to curl upwards around it. If you’re in need for a Smokey eye and have no make-up you can light a match, blow it out and when its cooled down drag it across your eyelid for a Smokey line, the matchstick boxes scratchy strip also works as a emery board.

*all products can be purchased at Boots, prices may vary:

DIY Winter Wonders

Michelle Allan

With the approaching winter wind the nightmares of chapped hands, dry lips and limp hair will inevitably make an unwanted reappearance. Skin that is unprotected from the harsh cold needs a bit of pampering and with Christmas just around the corner who can afford to visit a salon? Not me! That is why I have been in search of easy treatments you can do from home using products that are, most probably, lying in the back of your cupboard.

Hair gets dry and tangled during this season so a good conditioning treatment is needed.

Try the egg conditioner by mixing an egg yolk and teaspoon of olive oil together, add a cup of warm water. Apply this to your hair, wrap in cling film and leave for ten minutes before rinsing well.


Your face takes the brunt of the harsh weather during the winter as it is exposed to the elements try soothing it with a facial.

To start, cleanse the skin with a big bowl full with boiling water, bend your head over the bowl and cover it with a towel so there are no gaps. Allow the steam to cleanse your face.

Next, mix together 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of almond oil. This paste is the perfect exfoliator, rub it lightly over the face to get rid of dead skin cells.

Lastly to complete your facial mix three ounces of barley flour and one ounce of honey. Beat this up with the white of an egg until hard. Apply this mask to your face and leave it on for as long as possible. Finish off the whole facial by moisturizing.


Hands dry out and get chapped easily, it is very important to take good care of them during the winter months.

Soothe chapped hands by washing them with oatmeal instead of soap. Afterwards dry your hands carefully and rub them with a little dry oatmeal.

For a great hand moisturiser, mix equal parts of glycerin, lemon juice and rose water. Fill a bottle with the mixture and leave it near the hand basin, every time you wash your hands apply a drop to them and rub it in.

To get shiny nails and healthy cuticles combine two teaspoons of salt, two teaspoons of caster oil and one teaspoon of wheat germ oil, pour the mixture in to a bottle and apply to the nails, leave it on for five minutes.


Lips need to be kissably smooth with Christmas is just around the corner and all that mistletoe nocking about.

To exfoliate your lips, get an old toothbrush and apply a little petroleum jelly to the bristles. Now, gently rub the toothbrush bristles over your lips for a silky smooth appearance.

To make a great lip gloss put a little petroleum jelly in a microwavable bowl and melt it. In a separate bowl mix together one teaspoon of water and a powdered drink mix of your choice until it is completely dissolved and then add some food colouring. Add it to the petroleum jelly and dispense in to a pot. This will also make a great stocking filler.


On those cold days nothing is better than pampering yourself in a warm bath.
Take a handful of the ingredients of your choice (listed below), wrap it in a square of muslin cloth and secure with a rubber band. Now it’s ready to use in your bath, for a better look use ribbon around the band.

Rose: Lifts spirits Lavender: Relaxes
Camomile: Calms and soothes Rosemary: Clears the mind

Responsibility deal isn’t very responsible.

Michelle Allan

There has been so much hype surrounding alcohol and the dangers of its consumption lately in the news with six leading health organisations refusing to sign up to the governments new “responsibility deal in England”. The full details of the deal have not been unveiled yet but there has been some speculation on what changes it may entail for the alcohol industry. Among these assumptions is the rise of the cost of alcohol, taking cheap alcohol off the shelves, putting health warnings on bottles and more education on the effects of alcohol given to schools.

Health professionals say this will only promote alcohol and increase the problem, but studies show these sorts of measures have worked in other countries such as France. But will these measures stop alcohol abuse here in the UK?

According to the NHS website ‘Student life can seem to revolve around alcohol, with the student bar and local pubs often the centre of the college social scene’ so, who better to test this theory on than you? I spoke to a number of students around the UK as well as a detention officer, who deals with alcohol abuse daily and got similar responses from each of them.

Four out of five students don’t know the recommended safe limits of alcohol. This is 21 units of alcohol a week for men but no more that 4 units in a single day, and 14 units of alcohol a week for women but no more than 3 units in a single day. Many of you guys didn’t even know how much a unit of alcohol was and so couldn’t give a rough guide of how much you drink a week. Basically a unit is 10ml of pure alcohol or one unit per shot. There are roughly 9 units in a bottle of 12% wine and 3 units in a pint of premium strength lager. Another way to calculate how many units are in a drink is the percentage is the amount of units in a litre, so a 6% beer will have 6 units per litre, two pints go in to a litre which makes a pint 3 units.

Despite the lack of knowledge we students have on our alcohol units the majority of people that are taken in to a detention sell overnight for alcohol abuse are in their late twenties to early thirties. “There is no point in educating the people who come in to prisons for being drunk, most of them are well aware of the risks and don’t care. I see the same faces day in and day out” a detention officer told me.

Most students don’t class themselves as binge drinkers but social drinkers instead, and don’t feel that their drinking has become a problem. The price of alcohol wouldn’t make a difference to their drinking habits at all and if the price increased even more it wouldn’t stop them from going out and having a drink. “The problem with this idea is that the people I have to deal with don’t care about the cost most of them are alcoholics and steal the alcohol, they will get it anyway they can” the source said. It seems that this part of the governments ‘responsibility deal’ won’t help to stop drinking either.

The other hypothesis, that the government plan to put safety warnings on bottles, also had no effect on the interviewed students. Most said it would be annoying but wouldn’t stop them from drinking. They all said that they are aware of the dangers of alcohol already and it doesn’t affect how much they drink and neither will a health label. Many brought up the safety warnings on cigarette packets and said that didn’t stop them from smoking but the overexposure to health warnings desensitised them to the problems they can cause.

“It's frustrating for us detention officers” my source told me “you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped, everyone is offered treatment but 90% of the time they don’t want it. Our jobs are put on the line every time someone comes in intoxicated it is the highest risk of death in a custody sweet, and still people continue to do the same thing”.

All in all it is understandable that the health organisations did not sign the ‘responsibility deal’ as it seems that it is giving alcohol more publicity and the deterrents will not work.