The Ugly Truth about your Facials

The Ugly Truth about your Facials

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There are some alarming new facials coming out and we want to give you the lowdown on what you should be looking out for before having the latest insta-fad or trending TikTok facial.

Many dermatologists have seen a rise in skin conditions and damage that is occurring as a direct result of ill-informed clients, poor training and ill-advised products and are now having to ‘repair’ damaged skin.

Your skin is a precious, living organ and it needs to be treated right so I asked facial expert, Joanne Howard to give us the lowdown on what you should be looking out for.

‘When choosing a therapist for your treatments, particularly advanced treatments that can be more invasive, think about not only qualifications and insurance but expertise and knowledge of the skin.

Considering these aspects and choosing a reputable therapist or skin specialist will help you reach your skin goals, but much more importantly it will keep you safe. Invasive treatments performed by an unqualified therapist using the wrong tools can have disastrous consequences including infection, damage to the skin leading to hyperpigmentation and scarring as well as compromising the skins barrier function which is the thing that keeps our skin healthy and protected.

A good skin specialist will not only know the best tools and products to use but will also know when it is safe or unsafe to perform a treatment on your skin, even small things like diet, previous illness and different medications can have an impact on your skin and your immune system and you may be advised to wait before receiving any advanced treatment.

Safety and hygiene come first in all of my treatments but this is especially important when doing treatments such as peels and microneedling. I will only ever work with companies that supply completely hygienic, sterilised and safe equipment that is proven by outside authorities such as the FDA. I also have my own responsibilities to keep the equipment sterile and up to standard and work in a suitable environment for the treatments I perform.

Don’t feel afraid to ask questions including those about qualifications and insurance, I suggest booking in for a consultation before committing to having a treatment. This way you will meet the professional that will be performing the treatment and it gives you an opportunity to ask any questions and get a feel for the place you have chosen.’

Before you jump on the latest fad, remember, your skin has a job to do and you should never compromise it!

Normality – why some of us are dreading it.

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It’s been a tough year for so many reasons and I thought that the first sign of light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel would have me jumping with joy.

With the governments roadmap to getting us back to normal life being announced, surely I should feel elated?

So why do I feel anxious? Why do people I know feel the same?

I’ve gone from working full time in my salon, training at the weekends, juggling family life, fitting in photo shoots and session work events and working the aesthetics clinic on my day off, to nothing.

Nowhere to be.

Nowhere to go.

And all the time in the world to enjoy the simple life.

And if the truth be known, the thought of going back to ‘real life’ seems exhausting.

The past year has been an emotional rollercoaster, from enjoying the simplicity of life to feeling completely helpless because nothing makes sense.

I’ve gone from complete highs to the lowest lows.

I’ve experienced loneliness for the first time in my life to enjoying the solitude and simplicity that lockdown has brought.

I’ve been thankful for friends keeping in touch and been close to falling out with others ‘for not following the rules’.

I’ve got into heated debates with people I love for not taking things seriously or for listening to (in my opinion) conspiracy theories on social media.

And I just wanted everything to go back to normal.

But what is normal? My normal would mean rushing about, sitting in traffic, endlessly marketing my business to try and reassure people we’re safe to visit? Praying the ‘lost clients’ come back? Cooking slow-cooker meals at 7:00am so the kids can grab their tea before I get home from work 12 hours later? Doing laundry at 11pm?

And I know it’s not just me.

Life is busy for so many of us and the pressure to hit normal life head-on seems a scary thought.

Mums stressing, trying to get their children ready on time for school, the endless after-school activities and craft projects.

Feeling like you have to say yes to every invitation because you’ve been stuck in the past year?

Or the worry that you won’t be invited anywhere?

In a way, many of us have been blessed to have this time off with financial support from the Government (thank goodness for furlough) and I feel for those that have had to carry on regardless through all of this. The Mum’s trying to homeschool, whilst doing online meetings, the ones with no families close by, those that have struggled with childcare. The ones that got no financial assistance. I’ve worried about the elderly, my team, the little ones, my family and everyone in between!

But I feel like I’m cocooned. Safe in my world, with none of the stress that my normal life brings.

And my safe, quiet life will be over very soon.

It’s a scary thought and one that fills me and others with anxiety.

Like I said earlier…it all seems exhausting and overwhelming.

The best I can come up with at the minute is to start easing myself back into society gently. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it?

I’ll organise the work diary so we’re not completely bombed out from Day 1, I’ll plan our social media in advance so I don’t have the pressure to ‘post something’, I’ll try and go easy on myself and I’ll keep cooking those slow cooker meals. Thank goodness my boys are teenagers!

For now, I’m just trying my best not to overthink everything and second-guess what might happen in the future. It’s all I can do to ease the anxieties.

For anyone that’s feeling the same, I get it.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about and you’re ready to hit the morning traffic running – credit to you.

Love and blessings,

Julie x

Is your nail biting a nightmare?

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Nail biting (onychophagy) is a habit many would like to stop but a difficult one to break.

There are thousands of children and adults in the UK suffering this and according to American Psychiatric Association, nail biting is now recognised as a sub-group of OCD.

One of the first steps to quitting is recognising your trigger. Think about when you bite your nails. Is it when you’re anxious, bored, hungry or stressed? Knowing this and addressing it can be the first step to stopping.

I recently conducted some research on this subject, asking former nail biters to tell me their triggers and top tips for quitting which are listed below.

It’s a fact that due to constant stimulation, nail biters nails grow faster than non-biters so if you can keep your fingers out of your mouth long enough you’ll really notice them grow. The secret is then keeping them beautiful without eating them! According to the book ‘Psycho Cybernetics’ first published in the 1970’s, ‘it takes 21 days to break a habit’ so there’s hope!

Based on the results of my research, here are the top ways to put an end to your nail biting.

Book a manicure. A good, thorough manicure would involve tidying your nails, softening and cleaning up your cuticles, exfoliating and massaging your hands and arms and buffing your new nails to perfection. Treatments can be added to upgrade your manicure for a bespoke service. Make sure you go to a natural nail care specialist who can advise you on the best course of action and come up with a treatment plan

Paint them a colour Ok so they might look ridiculous at first but stay with me here! Psychologically, the brighter the colour of the nails, the less chance there is of you putting them in your mouth.

Grow one at a time if you have to. As a small child I was a nail biter. The promise of my first gold ring was the push I needed. I decided to only bite my thumb nail and eventually stopped that too. Allowing myself just 1 nail to nibble on was enough and eventually my bad habit was broken forever!

Foul tasting treatments All nail biters remember the taste of this stuff, but how many have actually tried Mustard on their nails?! Yes, mustard was mentioned several times from the contributors and it worked for them! Surely it’s worth a go? ( unless you LOVE the taste of mustard, like me!)

Regular gel polish/acrylic appointments While this worked for many, I would also imagine the urge to pick off your enhancements and causing horrendous damage to your nail plate) too tempting. The contributors said the ‘thickness’ of the gel polish and acrylic deterred them from biting.

Wearing a hair band to play with was also suggested by many of the army of ex-biters. Flicking and fiddling with a hair band around their wrist was the ultimate distraction for some.

So where do you go from here? These simple suggestions are from the very people who stopped biting their nails, so take note! Try one suggestion at a time, try them all, choose 2 at a time, whatever you like but give them a go – you have nothing to lose.

And if you manage to break the habit, get in touch. I’d love to see your results!

Good luck and much love,

Julie x

‘No gimmicks, no nonsense, just beautiful, bespoke treatments’

How to choose the perfect foundation

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With make up sales at an all time high, it’s hardly surprising that many of us are buying products that we don’t ever use! We’re lured by clever advertising to buy the latest foundations without having the basic info we need to make the right choices. I’ve put together 5 easy steps to help you get it right…


1. Know what you want your foundation to do

Do you want to let those freckles shine bright or do you want to cover your broken veins? Foundations come in a variety of coverages and finishes. Know what you want it to do before you hit the nearest make up counter. A good consultant should be able to help with this by asking you some key questions such as ‘what sort of coverage do you like?’ There’s full coverage foundation for covering scars and birthmarks, medium coverage that you can ‘build’ and light coverage that can be ‘barely there’. Add to that the different formulations such as cream, powder, mousse and mineral and you’re forgiven for getting it wrong for so long! Decide what you want it to do and in which formulation.

2. Testing Testing

Your foundation isn’t a mask. Nor should it be a different colour to your neck. It’s not your foundations job to change the colour of your face so it should blend seamlessly. If you’re having to colour your neck to match, chances are you’ve got the wrong colour.


Tone it down

Knowing your skin tone is where most people go wrong. Have you bought foundations in the past and wondered why they just don’t look right? You thought you’d found the perfect colour only to get it home and it just looked weird! Take a really good look at your skin. You’ll have a pink undertone (cool) yellow (warm) or a mixture of both (neutral) Check out the inside of your wrists. Do your veins appear blue or green? If they look blue/purple, you’re cool-toned. If green, you’re warm-toned. If you have trouble telling, you’re probably neutral. Once you know this it can help with everything from knowing the colour of clothes, jewellery and hair colour that suit you

3. Lights, camera action

How many times have you got a foundation home to find it’s totally wrong? Department stores and shops often have unflattering fluorescent lighting and you might find that what looks good while you’re there doesn’t look so great when you get home! Ask the consultant to put some on you (usually on the jawline) and go to the windows if there are any. If not, ask for a sample or put some on and go outside to check. Remember, we’re trying to match it to your neck. Many high end foundations aren’t cheap so you need to know the colour is EXACTLY right before parting with your hard-earned cash. If you’re buying off the shelf, this can be even more difficult as you’re on your own!

4. Add colour

Ok so this isn’t necessarily about foundation but I wanted to add a word about colour. Foundation alone can look flat. It’s the job of your blusher and bronzer to add colour to your face, not your foundation.

5. Added extras

Formulations for foundations are becoming more and more sophisticated and many now have light reflectors, sun protection, moisturising properties, anti-wrinkle agents to name but a few. Go back to no.1 to decide what it is you want your foundation to do for you to help you decide.

So there you have it! A quick guide to choosing the perfect foundation. Hopefully this will help you in your buying decisions and stop you wasting your hard-earned money on products that aren’t right for you.

Happy shopping!

Much love

Julie x

No gimmicks, no nonsense, just beautiful, bespoke treatments


5 tips to grow your natural nails

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french manicure

Do you wish you had beautifully groomed nails?

Your nails say so much about you! We spend so much money and time on our hair, make up and clothes but often our hands and nails are neglected. Don’t let your digits let you down. Follow these simple tips to help grow and groom your nails

  • Choose the right file! Files come in a variety of grits (just like sandpaper) Minimise damage and over-filling by trimming your nails first with nail clippers and then filing the shape with the pale side of an emery board. For an oval nail, file from the side to middle. Never saw! Throw away that metal file you got in a Christmas cracker 20 years ago. It’ll shred through your nail and cause damage.
  • Wear rubber gloves especially for washing up or when using detergents. Modern cleaning products are far too strong for your natural nails to be immersed in. Protect them when doing ‘wet’ jobs. The secret here is to buy a size that fits and a pair for every room you’re likely to need them in (the kitchen and bathroom.)
  • Oil, oil, oil Did I mention oil? It helps keep the nails flexible which helps absorb shock. It’s great for your cuticles*, can help with peeling and will nourish your nails. Try solar oil or Dadi oil. They’re beautiful!
  • Try a nail treatment. We advise all our clients to wear a nail treatment specific to their problem. A beautiful treatment for post-gel or acrylics is Lavender Base by Bio Sculpture. Take a look at the OPI range too at have a plethora of fabulous treatment to keep your nails in check.
  • Look after those cuticles!That skin around the base of your nails (which isn’t actually cuticle but we’ll save that for later) has an important job to do. It keeps nasty germs from entering the ‘living’ part of your nail (the matrix) so it’s important to keep them supple and moistured. After soaking your nails in warm water, gently push back the cuticle* with an orangewood stick or cuticle pusher. Don’t be tempted to cut it off! There are lots of cuticle removers on the market but I suggest doing a trial nail first as many of these contain potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide which could cause an allergic reaction.

And there you have it. 5 simple tips to help keep your nails groomed. Ideally you should be visiting a reputable salon for professional manicures, but these are all easy things you can do at home to do help to keep your nails strong, tidy and ready for painting.

Love Julie x

* the true cuticle is a white substance on the nail plate that is often seen when the eponychium (that was previously thought to be cuticle) is pushed back.

Living with a skin condition

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img_4780-1.jpgThe first sign of psoriasis on my body was when I hit puberty. My mum took me to a dermatologist that first thought I had ringworm.

It spread like wildfire covering my elbows, knees and scalp. Like my changing body wasn’t enough to cope with I was now covered in silver scales and sore, red patches. Add to that the constant taunts from school kids and I felt pretty shit throughout my teenage years. Actually, often adults were the worst with their stares and grimacing.

Normal things like swimming and choosing an outfit to hide my scaly skin became a nightmare. People would glare, some would ask if I’d been burnt, literally hundreds would tell me their tales of someone they knew who had it and what they’d used to clear it up. Fast forward 35 years and I’ve had pretty much every topical treatment on the planet but now add to that the arthritis and rosacea that came to join the party! Oh the joys of auto-immune disease.

My nose is constantly red with rosacea. If one more person asks me if I’ve burnt it, I won’t be responsible for my actions. Some days (especially in winter) my face feels like it’s on fire if I even put moisturiser on it. Some days I can barely sit still because the arthritis burning deep in my hips hurts so much. Who would have thought my psoriasis, rosacea and arthritis could all be linked? But they are. So do you know what I do? I wear fabulous foundation to hide the redness (Clarins Everlasting foundation to be exact), take pain relief when I need to, ignore stupid comments and wear what the hell I like and it’s working a treat!

Sufferers – I share your pain!

Love Julie

No gimmicks, no nonsense, just beautiful, bespoke treatments.’

Lash Growth Myths

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I’m seeing so many people on social media asking if there is anything to make their lashes grow faster. This is often after they’ve taken their semi-permanent lashes out.

Before we start, we need to address this. Semi permanent lashes don’t ruin your natural lashes. Pulling them out does. Having ones that are way too long for your own lashes to handle does. Having ones that are too ‘heavy’ for your natural lash to carry does. 

Lashes are essential hair. They go through a 3 phase growth cycle like the rest of the hair on your body. By rights, your semi permanent lash should shed naturally with your own lash (if it’s been attached properly) with a new, healthy lash right behind it. This is the natural growth pattern. They fall out, they grow, they rest, they fall out. Over and over again. Renewing all the time. You also have a set amount of hair follicles. 

I for one look almost foetal without my lashes. Blank, soulless, empty, piggy, ugly eyes. Ok, so I’m being a touch dramatic but those that have experienced this trauma will know exactly what I’m talking about! I put this down to the fact that my once dark, beautiful, voluptuous, long (fake) lashes are no longer and I’m back to the fine, spindly, pale ones that I was born with. Nothing to do with the lashes ruining my own. 

So I read with interest internet suggestions of how to grow your lashes. Better still, advice on posts given by Susan up the road or Carol who’s married to your milkman recommending everything from duck fat to petroleum jelly, castor oil to cod liver oil and everything in between!

So here are the most common miracle lash growing recommendations:

Coconut Oil/Castor Oil– people swear by oiling their  lashes. There is nothing at all to prove using oil will make lashes longer. I agree it can condition them, which will help with breakage, but make them grow longer? Seriously? Plus an absolute no-no if you’re wearing contact lenses or have sensitive eyes. 

Serums/Conditioners – again, these will condition your lashes and are highly recommended after a lash lift or tint of any sort (just imagine having your hair tinted or permed and then not using conditioner!) But do they make lashes grow faster or longer? Sorry, no. How COULD they? 

Petroleum Jelly – Nope. Still doesn’t make them longer!

If any of these ‘miracle hair growth cures’ actually worked – there wouldn’t be any bald people on the planet or people with short hair that wanted it longer. They’d just rub a bit of coconut oil on their bald patch or a dab of Vaseline on their short hair and hey-presto! If only. 

As far as I know, there is nothing (apart from some medicines) that can have any effect on the length or growth of your hair at all. If Susan, Carol or any companies out there would like to prove me wrong, please get in touch and I’ll gladly provide a balding friend or my own fine, whispy horsehair for your trials. 

In the meantime, beware of any products that claim to lengthen, thicken or grow your lashes. It’s nonsense.

If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is! 

Just don’t forget to condition your lashes. Daily!

Love Julie x

The Nail & Beauty Lounge

‘No gimmicks, no nonsense, just beautiful bespoke treatments’ 

The Humble Manicure

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I fear for the humble manicure. In a world obsessed with decorating and embellishing their acrylic and gel extensions, I worry that the basic manicure is being left behind. Care and knowledge of the natural nail should be paramount to any tech offering nail services, but while everyone is racing off to learn the latest technique in embedding, 3D art and paint techniques, the little old manicure is left trailing behind. Now don’t get me wrong, I love all things nails and avidly watch my nail heroes creating talons that were the stuff of dreams 10 years ago. But what about in-depth knowledge of the natural nail, it’s structure, function and anatomy? Surely this should be the first building block in any nail career before diving into the latest fancypants technique? The only answer as far as I can see is a manicure course as a pre requisite to ANY other nail course. In an un-governed industry such as ours. I doubt this will ever happen, so it’s up to us as nail professionals to take responsibility for our own training, keep up to date with advances in our field and go back to basics to discover newfound knowledge and skills. Pass that knowledge on to your clients, treat their natural nails with care and respect, (whatever nail treatment they’re having) and they’ll hopefully keep coming back for years.