Monday, 22 April 2013

Priceline selling grey market fragrances

Today I was sent a press release from Priceline which included a gift guide for Mother's Day. Ordinarily, I quite like these press releases as it gives me some good ideas about what to write about. Amongst other beauty items, the press release contained four perfumes - from Lancome, Estee Lauder, Juicy Couture and Marc Jacobs. You might have seen my little rant yesterday about how I was pissed off that Priceline sold grey market Orly polishes. In light of this, I decided that I would contact the PR's from each of these brands to find out whether Priceline was an authorised stockist for the perfumes. This is what I found out from the PRs:

Priceline is NOT an authorised stockist of Lancome.

Priceline is NOT an authorised stockist of Estee Lauder.

Priceline is NOT an authorised stockist of Juicy Couture.

Priceline is NOT an authorised stockist of Marc Jacobs.

This means that Priceline are also selling fragrances sourced from the grey market.

What is so bad about grey market fragrances?

I have gone into the whole issue of grey market cosmetics in much more detail here, but basically grey market fragrances are fragrances sourced from a non-authorised seller. This means that the authenticity of the fragrance cannot be guaranteed. So, you might be buying a cheaply made fake perfume or a genuine perfume that has been diluted to make it go further, or a genuine perfume that has been sitting in a warehouse for the last 10 years. This is bad, not only for the consumer who might end up purchasing a fake perfume made with dodgy ingredients that could cause a reaction, but also for the brands. If someone buys a perfume that they believe is genuine and it smells terrible, or has really poor staying power (due to being diluted), or worse case scenario they have a severe reaction to the dodgy ingredients, then they will never buy that perfume again. They will also most likely complain to their friends, or complain online.

StrawberryNet are probably the most well know seller of grey market cosmetics. I don't think that any brand would authorise them to resell their stock. However, when you purchase from them most people do so knowing that they are taking a risk that they may end up with a sub-par product. The problem with Priceline selling grey market cosmetics and fragrances is that the majority of people would believe that they are buying genuine products from an authorised reseller. Now, I am not saying that Priceline are selling fakes. I don't know know whether the fragrances they sell are fake or genuine - but that there is the problem - I don't know if they are fake but then I also don't know if they are genuine as they have not been sourced from an authorised distributor.

I am not trying to bad mouth Priceline here as I have happily shopped there for years. However, I do believe that we have the right to know whether we are buying genuine stock or not. As long as you are educated and are happy to take the risk of buying grey market cosmetics and fragrances, then go for it. But, I would hate for people to end up disappointed with their purchases and not know why it was not as good as they were expecting. Not all the fragrances in the press release I was sent were cheap. One was selling for $140, which is a lot of money to spend on something that cannot be guaranteed to be genuine. Up until yesterday I had no idea that Priceline sold grey market sourced goods, so I suspect that many other people would be similarly blinded to this fact.

Anyway, I am not saying don't shop at Priceline. Just trying to educate. If you are looking to purchase genuine fragrances, your best bet is Myer and David Jones. Or, if you are in doubt, go to the website for the brand of fragrance you are purchasing and it will either provide a list of authorised stockists or a customer service number that you can call.


Has this changed your opinion of Priceline at all? What are your thoughts on the grey market? Do you prefer to steer clear and spend your hard earned cash on genuine products or do you prefer to hunt down a bargain?






Sunday, 21 April 2013

Orly Purple Crush + Be Brave...I'm very much in love

I attended the Maxted Thomas beauty blogger event yesterday and, along with other great brands, the Orly team were there doing manicures. I left the colour choice up to them but just told them I love brights and/or fluoros and I love glitter. They came back with Purple Crush with a Be Brave glitter top coat.

The first step of the manicure was to apply Bonder. This is Orly's hero product. It is a rubberised base coat that grips the nail allowing greater flexibility of the polish so that it doesn't chip as easily and lasts longer. I had actually never heard of this product prior to my manicure but will now be going straight out to buy it I am usually too lazy to bother with a base coat but if it helps the polish to last longer then it is a winner in my books. You can buy it for $19.95 (18ml) or $10.95 (9ml).

Purple Crush is spectacular! It is from Orly's Hot Neon range and is a real neon purple. It hasn't photographed as well as I would have liked - it looks more pink in the photos below but it is a definite neon purple. It takes two coats to become opaque. Man I love this colour!

Be Brave is a glitter top coat with long thin sprinkles of glitter. It is from the Flash Glam range. The sprinkles are hologram so the final result is subtle but super sparkly. The glitter disperses easily - only one coat was used in this mani. I love that it doesn't detract from the base colour but instead enhances it.

I have to say that I am quite in love with both of these colours, especially in combination.


With flash

With flash (out of focus to show sparkles)

No flash, artificial light

No flash, artificial light

More flash, another angle!

No flash, sunlight

No flash, sunlight


Be Brave

Purple Crush

Now I need to have a bit of a rant. The rant isn't directed at Orly but at Priceline. I was chatting with one of the Orly reps and she mentioned that Orly isn't currently widely distributed but that is about to change as it will soon be stocked in all Terry White Chemists. She happened to mention that Orly wasn't stocked in Priceline. Hang on...I had bought Orly at Priceline. In fact, I had bought 2 bottles for $5 and used them in a blog giveaway. She then asked me whether I had heard of the grey market as that is where these polishes would have come from. If you haven't heard the term 'grey market' before, have a read here for an explanation. I wrote a post on the dangers of buying grey market cosmetics - basically they are stock bought from a non-authorised distributor. It may be old stock or could possibly even be fake stock (last year Target got stung buy selling MAC cosmetics sourced from the grey market that turned out to be be fakes - MAC then went on to sue Target for selling fakes).

It really pissed me off to find out that Priceline was selling grey market stock. Most people know that stock from places like StrawberryNet are grey market, and so knowingly and willingly take the risk of buying old or fake stock. However, I suspect that most people would assume that they are purchasing legitimate stock when shopping at Priceline. I know I did. I prefer to pay more and know that I am buying genuine stock than to get a bargain but potentially be buying fakes or old stock. It pisses me off to find out that I have bought off the grey market as I didn't buy the products for myself. They were for a giveaway. That means, at worst I might have potentially given away fake Orly or at best it was probably old stock. Obviously I didn't test the polishes before giving them away so don't know the quality but there is a very good chance that the quality would be sub par. If the recipient hadn't previously used Orly, this could potentially turn them off the brand. I you might be thinking 'well, if you paid two for $5 for Orly then you should expect that they are fakes' but the thought just wouldn't enter my mind when shopping at Priceline. Myers only sell stock that they are the authorised distributor for and they often have products greatly reduced in the bargain bin. I assumed the same was happening at Priceline.

Brands hate the grey market but their reason is not loss of revenue. It is the damage that can be done to their reputations. If people are buying stock that they assume is genuine and fresh and then it doesn't perform as expected, it can really turn them off a brand.

Anyway, that's enough ranting for a Sunday! Orly polishes retail at $18.95 and can be found in Terry White Pharmacies, Salons and Spas. If you are not familiar with Orly then you will be pleased to know that they are 4-free (they do not contain formaldehyde, formalin resin, toluene and DBP - nasties that you don't want on your nails).


Are you hoping that the neon trend goes on forever? I know I am!


All opinions are my own and I received no remuneration for this post. Be Brave and Purple Crush were provided to me by the Orly Team at the Maxted Thomas Blogger Event for consideration.

Winner of the SpaQ Facial announced!

Thank you everyone who entered my SpaQ Facial giveaway. This was my first time using Rafflecopter and from my end it worked really well - I would love to hear what you thought of it.

Anyway, that's not what you are here for...you want to know whether you won, don't you!

The winner of the SpaQ QT Facial Giveaway, as drawn by Rafflecopter is:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats Carlie! I will now email you to let you know that you were the winner.

Thanks everyone for entering. Make sure that you come back next Sunday as I will be launching my biggest giveaway ever (think - a beauty product for just about every part of your body!).

Thursday, 18 April 2013

DOVE REAL BEAUTY SKETCHES: How you see yourself vs how others see you

I have little white dots under my eyes. I think that they might be milia but maybe it is just my skin. In high school, for some reason, it really bothered me. I remember smothering thick layers of moisturiser on the skin in the hope that it would smooth it out. In hind sight, if it was milia, then that would have just made the problem worse. Now I have accepted that is just how my skin looks.

Other little things also used to annoy me about my skin - the presence of pores, an uneven complexion and the like. Some time in my mid 20's I had two light bulb moments. The first one was that I realise that when I study my skin in the mirror to find imperfections that annoy me, I do so at a distance of about 15cm. When I talk to someone it is usually at a distance of at least 2 metres (unless they are a damn close talker!). I then stood 2 metres away from the mirror and check out my imperfections and they really weren't that noticeable. I also realised that when I talk to someone I stare at their eyes or mouth - I really couldn't tell you what the rest of their face looked like. As I soon as I realised that, it occurred to me that they would be doing the same to me.

The second light bulb moment I had was that I had been comparing myself to air brushed models in magazines (I wrote a whole post on how Photoshop distorted my perception of normal). As soon as it occured to me that no one's skin is that flawless I finally fell in love with myself and became comfortable in my skin and much less critical of my perceived flaws.

Dove has released a really interesting campaign highlighting just how harshly we tend to view ourselves. They did a global beauty study and found that only 4 % of us regard ourselves as beautiful. To prove how distorted our views of ourselves have become, Dove did  little experiment with a FBI trained forensic artist. Without realising that they were being drawn, women were asked a series of questions to describe their features. From these descriptions the artist drew an image of what the woman would look like. The women were then paired up and sent away to get to know each other. They were then called back in to the artist and were again questioned but this time about the woman they had just gotten to know. Finally, they were presented with the two images - how they saw themselves and how others saw them. The woman's reaction to the images is very moving and you can see it in the video below (it goes for 3 minutes).





If you have 6 1/2 minutes to spare then the extended video is below:





Finally, you can view each woman's reaction to her sketch.

Here is Melinda's video:


Kela's video


Florence's video:


Gil Zemora, the forensic artist, describes his experience with the Dove capmaign



What are your thoughts on these videos? How do you view yourself? Are you in the 4% who think that they are beautiful or are you too critical with your appearance. I have to say that I do think that I am beautiful. I am realistic enough to know that I couldn't make a living from my looks but I am very happy with how I look.


Aveda hair cut-a-thon to raise money for clean water

I just received this in my inbox and thought that it might be of interest to some of you. Aveda are holding a worldwide cut-a-thon to raise money for clean water. Australia is kicking off the cut-a-thon and have 3 salons which are participating:

Mien - Fitzroy North VIC
www.mien.com.au

Prema - Surry Hills, NSW
www.premalove.com.au

Robertson and Kirkwood - Rozelle. NSW
www.robertson-kirkwood.com

Haircuts will be $40 with all proceeds to be donated.

If you are in need of a haircut then now might be the perfect opportunity! The cut-a-thon will be running for 24 hours on Monday 22nd April.



Monday, 15 April 2013

Winner of the Aphelia Skincare Set

Thank you everyone who entered the Aphelia Skincare Giveaway. There were 18 entries and I used random.org to pick the winner:


The winner is Tracy Boulter! Congrats Tracy. I will email you now.

Don't worry if you didn't win this one, I still have a voucher for a facial of your choice up for grabs. This giveaway closes on 21/4/13 so get your entries in ASAP.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Why detoxes are a waste of your time and money


I repeatedly see people asking advice on forums as to which is the best detox to do. Whenever I see this question I want to scream at the person 'no, don't do it. It is a waste of your time and money'...but I don't. I don't want to cause a scene, or start a barrage of backlash from people claiming that it worked for them. Instead, I will present the facts and let you decide for yourself if it is worth doing.

Before I start, I just want to clarify that when I am referring to detox I mean the ones that you buy where you have to take a million various tablets a day and stick to a very restricted diet. If you are going to 'detox' by simply eating healthily then all power to you. That will most definitely do wonders for your body. These detox kits won't. They will produce results; however, the results will be temporary.

Why detoxes don't work

Firstly, the companies who are marketing the detoxes talk about removing toxins that have built up in the body. So, what are these toxins? They don't say. They remain vague and just leave you to let your imagination run wild. Do they mean chemicals, waste products from digestion, bacteria? I guess I imagined it as the waste products from digestion but it would be interesting to hear what other people perceive as the 'toxins' in their bodies.

I read an interesting article on British Beauty Blogger about how Veet gave Chinese women a problem they never had. Chinese women naturally have very little body hair so hair removal products have always been poor sellers. Therefore, Reckitt Benckiser (who own Veet) devised  a marketing campaign to convince Chinese that any body hair is unsightly and released ads equating hair free skin with health, confidence and "shining glory" (the full marketing concept can be read here). I feel that this is the same as what is happening in regards to detoxes. The marketers of the products have convinced us that our bodies are full of these so called 'toxins', from our unhealthy lifestyles, that need to be removed with a detox.

Toxins don't build up in your body. We have a liver and kidneys to filter out waste products. That is their job. If toxins were to build up in your system you would be incredibly sick, and most likely on dialysis. It would be a sign that you are in end stage kidney failure. You would not simply feel sluggish or have dull skin.

EDIT: one of my readers has correctly pointed out that there are certain cases where toxic chemicals can build up in your system. She gave the example she gave is a condition called MTHFR where the body lacks an enzyme making it unable to break down B vitamins. Another example is that some people are unable to break down iron and so it builds up in their livers. Also, exposure to heavy metals can lead to heavy metal poisoning. These are all very serious cases with serious implications (my reader had 5 miscarriages before her toxic condition was discovered), but are easily diagnosed with a simple blood test. If you suspect that toxic chemicals are building up in your body, don't go on a detox. Seek medical advice as you will most likely medical intervention to treat your problem.

Claims

The marketers will claim that you will lose weight after doing a detox. That is true. In fact, I  guarantee that you will lose weight. I also guarantee that you will put the weight straight back on.

Why do you lose weight? Two reasons: firstly, the the detox will likely have a laxative as one of the tablets that you have to take. Our intestines contain a few kilos of fecal matter, water and food in various stages of digestion. A laxative speeds that out of your system so, essentially, your intestine are empty. In addition, the detox will often be liquid based so you are not refilling the intestines with food to digest. This will also give you a nice flat stomach. However, the second you resume eating solids and quit taking laxatives your intestines will refill (as they are meant to) and hence, your weight will go up. Late last year, thanks to The Crazy Kid, I got a nasty case of gastro. I spent 12 hours being violently ill from both ends followed by another two days of being very fragile and unable to eat much at all. After three days of this I had the flattest stomach and looked like I had lost a tonne of weight (we don't have scales that work). I have to admit that I was a bit excited that I had finally shifted the last of the baby weight who was carrying. Well, my new post detox gastro body lasted all of a week. Thanks to the gastro, my intestines had been totally emptied of all of their contents giving me a flat stomach. As soon as I resumed normal eating, out popped the tummy and I realised that I hadn't actually lost any weight - well not any fat, anyway.

The second reason you lose weight is that the detoxes often put you on a low carb diet. When carbs are stored in you body to be used as energy at a later time, they are also store water with them. Therefore, when you go on the low carb diet, you will use up your stored carbs and release the water that is stored with them and, voila, more weight loss. You will probably notice that you need to urinate often whilst on the detox. This is partly due to the stored water being released. But, again, once you resume eating carbs your body will exactly what it is programmed to do and will store them to use as an energy source and when it does it will also store water with them; hence, the weight will come straight back. 

Another claim you will hear associated with detoxes is that it will make your skin glow. Again, I can pretty much guarantee this will happen but it isn't really due to the detox but more to the amount of fluid you consume. You will often have to drink litres of fluids whilst on a detox and that is always going to do wonders for your skin. The best my skin has ever looked was just after having The Crazy Kid. In hospital, the nurses were forcing me to drink a 500ml bottle every hour or so and when I got home I just continued doing this. My skin looked amazing. It glowed like it never had before and was so plumped out and fresh looking. When I had Kiki I wasn't as diligent at drinking so much water and I never ended up having the same amazing glowing skin. 

Another claim marketing angle often used with detoxes is to give your liver/kidneys a break from processing toxins. This is ridiculous. You would never say to yourself, I must lie in bed for 3 days and avoid exercising to give my heart a break from pumping; or, go on oxygen to give your lungs a break. Obviously, if you are abusing your body by consuming excess alcohol or other poisons then yes you should cut back but the detox kits are unnecessary.

You won't do yourself any harm being on a detox (as long as you are not on it long term), and I guess if you want a flat stomach quickly for a special event it is a way to do it; however, you have to be aware that you will be cranky as all hell as you would not have been consuming enough kilojules; you will most likely be headachy and you probably won't be feeling great at all. Plus, in a few days time you will go straight back to how you were before the detox. I guess you have to weight up whether it is worth it (if you are planning on doing this before your wedding then I would STRONGLY advise against it - your wedding will be the happiest day of your life but also one of the most full on days and you need to have a good energy reserve to get through it. The last thing that you want on your wedding day is to have a rip roaring head ache or be woozy due to lack of energy). 

If you feel you need to ‘detox’ then, rather than spend your money on one of these kits, you are better off eating as clean as possible. Eat foods as close to their natural state as possible and rather than do this for a couple of days make it part of your life style (easy for me to say whilst I munch on an Easter Egg as I type this!).

The majority of the info in this article I learnt at uni. I did try searching the internet for facts to back up what I was saying and was bombarded with website after website offering dodgy detox ‘facts’. A few sites claim that there is such thing as ‘mucoid plaques’ which are faecal deposits on the linings of the intestines that could be from food you ate years and years ago. They claim that if you do their detox you will release these plaques into the toilet (they provide pictures that are quite disgusting – long snakes of poo). There is no such thing as a mucoid plaque. The long poo snakes come from the bulking agents, such as psyllium husks, in the detox. It is very tough navigating the internet to find trust worthy information that.

What are your thoughts on detoxes? Worth the pain and discomfort or a load of crap?

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Need some pampering? Win a 60 minute facial of your choice at SpaQ QT Hotel

The other day, I experienced what was perhaps the most amazing facial that I have ever had, at SpaQ QT Sydney. I am pretty sure that I floated out of the spa! If you missed my review then you can check it out here.

I have some great news! Thanks to SpaQ QT one lucky reader will win a 60 minute facial of their choice at the SpaQ at either the Sydney, Gold Coast or Port Douglas QT Hotels. You can check out the various facials they offer here and start day dreaming about which one you would choose. Will you keep the facial for yourself or give it to Mum for Mothers Day? (Sorry Mum, but I would keep it for myself!).




For this giveaway I have decided to use Rafflecopter to make it a bit easier ( I hope). There are six different ways in which you can enter (and you can enter as many or a few ways as you like), plus you can tweet about the giveaway each day to gain bonus entries.

The giveaway will run until midnight AEST on 21/4/13. The giveaway is open to anyone but you have to be able to make it to the SpaQ in either Sydney, Gold Coast or Port Douglas. The winner will be randomly drawn.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 8 April 2013

Jen D'Arcy's Archibald Prize portrait of Julia Morris painted using only OPI lacquers

As a brand, OPI seems to me like it has a good sense of humour: the colour names are usually amusing, the colour range is extensive and pushes the limit and stars are lining up to collaborate and create their own lines. It is a fun brand. So, it was perfectly fitting that artist Jen D'Arcy would choose OPI as her paint medium to do a portrait of comedian Julia Morris. Jen D'Arcy consumed over 1071 bottles of OPI (16 litres of nail lacquer), painting directly from individual OPI bottles, to complete the portrait. OPI offers over 300 different shades, so there was never a concern in terms of providing the right colour palettes.

Commenting on behalf of OPI, Bill McKendrick Managing Director of OPI Australia said “We were thrilled to be part of such as quirky, creative and innovative project. OPI is all about colour, being creative and innovative, so this project spoke volumes in terms of what OPI offers as a brand.”



Obviously, as a comedian, Julia Morris has a wonderful sense of humour. “I am a massive fan of Jen D’Arcy's. work, so when she approached me with her genius idea of using nail lacquer to paint my portrait, it really appealed to my sense of humour. In fact, as young people would say; it made me LOL!"





When I head about the idea of this portrait I imagined it to be quite small, but it is massive - larger than life size. No wonder it took over 1071 bottles of OPI (16 litres of nail lacquer) to complete.


If you have ever wondered why OPI needed so many different shades of red, you now have your answer!


It is phenomenal to think that Jen D'Arcy painted the entire artwork directly from the bottle using the OPI brushes. I guess, if she made a mistake then a dab of nail polish remover would fix it right up! 






The finished product


FYI: The Archibald Prize is one of Australia’s oldest and most prestigious art prizes. It’s awarded to the best portrait painting, preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics. The Archibald Prize was first awarded in 1921. In establishing the prize, JF Archibald’s aim was to foster portraiture as well as support artists and perpetuate the memory of great Australians. Over the years some of Australia’s most prominent artists have entered and the subjects have been equally celebrated in their fields. The Archibald Prize winner will be announced: 22 March 2013, whilst the People’s Choice winner will be announced on 16th May 2013. The Archibald Prize 2013 exhibition will be shown from 23rd March until 2nd June 2013.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

SpaQ QT Sydney ADVANCED REPAIR CORRECTING FACIAL

I was invited to try a freshly picked treatment of my choice at SpaQ at the QT Hotel in Sydney. I'm a sucker for facials so thought that the choice would be easy...until I studied their extensive treatment menu. I was tossing up between their Signature Caviar Facial (because it intrigued me); a Mastery Massage (as I have been having issues with my back thanks to lugging The Crazy Kid and Kiki around); or the Coffee and Sea Kelp Contour Wrap (mostly because I have never had a wrap before and would love to try it but also because the skin on my stomach is still loose from pregnancy so I'd love to firm it up). I finally decided to go with their signature caviar facial (told you I was a sucker for facials!). Now, the only reason I chose the caviar facial was because it sounded so unique and I wanted to review an experience that you couldn't get at another salon. I imagined them pouring a jar of caviar on my face and popping the little pearls - I was partially intrigued and partially concerned that I would walk out smelling all fishy. I needn't have worried, though, as I was advised that the caviar facial is for mature skin types and that the Advance Repair Correcting Facial would be more suitable for my skin concerns. I decided to heed the expert advice and went with this facial. Also, in case you are wondering whether you do have a jar of caviar poured on your face during the caviar facial - it turns out you don't. The facial is actually performed using Kerstin Florian products that are infused with caviar!

When you have a treatment at SpaQ you are entitled to use their Turkish Hammam inspired steam room prior to your treatment. It is advised that you arrive 45 minutes before your scheduled treatment to take advantage of it. I highly recommend that you do as I left the steam room feeling so deeply relaxed, it felt as if my muscles had liquefied  It is a unisex steam room so make sure that you take your swimmers along. It gets very warm in there but it never got unbearably hot (like it can in a sauna). The steam becomes so thick that can't see in front of you and I did find it a little hard to breathe - the high humidity made me want to cough. However, it was never bad enough that I wanted to get out. Within minutes, water was dripping off me. I thought it might have been sweat dripping off so I licked my arm to check (as you do!) and it wasn't salty, so water it was! Another lady joined me in there after I had been in there for about 15 minutes and we then spent the next 30 minutes nattering away and the time just flew. You can see in the photo below what the steam room looks like. I would like to pretend that this is me in the photo, but in reality my boobs now point south and my tummy would need a lot of photoshopping (or sit ups, but that ain't going to happen!) to look like that. 


I couldn't take photos due to the steam so got this image from their
 Facebook Page


When it was time for our treatments we were collected from the steam room and led to cosy waiting room where we were offered water or herbal tea. Minutes later my therapist arrived to take me up to my treatment room. You can see just how comfortable the treatment rooms are.


Another photo from their Facebook Page


Now, I am going to try and describe the facial as best as I can but I have a feeling that I lost consciousness during the procedure. I could feel myself drifting away but was sure that I stayed awake the whole time. That was until I tried to go through in my head everything that occurred in preparation for writing this review. There are a few black spots in my memory so I must have drifted off. Whilst the mask was on I was told there would be an intensive scalp massage but I just can't recollect it at all. Yet, my hair was a mess and there was product all through my hair, so clearly it did happen I just bloody well slept through it. I hope I didn't talk in my sleep, or snore, or fart....! I think I was just already so damn relaxed from the steam room that it wasn't going to take much at all to send me to the land of the nods!

I originally requested the caviar facial as I wanted a unique experience. Then, when I found out that I wasn't going to be having the caviar facial, I expected that it would be your stock standard facial. I can't tell you how wrong I was. Although this facial followed the usual steps of cleanse, exfoliate, mask then moisturise, massage and acupressure played a major part of the process. This took the facial to a whole other level. Not only was my skin being treated, I was being pampered and nurtured. Once it was over, I honestly don't think that I have ever felt so relaxed in my whole life. It felt like I floated out of the salon! This is how SpaQ describe the Advance Repair Correcting Facial

Age really is just a number. This 21st century treatment leaves you looking eternally fresh faced whatever your age. It is customised to your skin, whether your focus is hyperpigmentation, congestion, fine lines or premature ageing. Intense multi acid or enzymatic peeling renews the skin on the face, neck, décolleté and hands, while hyaluronic acid, vitamins, and glycolic acid, brightens the skin’s surface. Relaxation comes in the form of a circulation boosting massage and a balancing nourishing mask, which delivers skin back to its former glory.

The therapist put some lavender oil on her hands and held them over my face and asked me to inhale deeply three times. Once I had done that she ran her hands over my chest, up my neck and cheeks before massaging my temples then she ran her hands through my hair. The facial then started, as all facials do, with a cleanse. I think I might have had two cleanses, a cream cleanse followed by a foam cleanse. As mentioned above, the products weren't simply applied to the face but they were massaged in and the massage was quite firm, but heavenly. The facial covered my chest and face (of course!) and after each step a hot towel was placed on my chest then it was wrapped around my face and the product was wiped off. The therapist then rolled up the towel and pulled it across my neck in a kind of sawing motion. This is a terrible description but I can think how else to describe it but damn it felt good. I have just gotten all tingly thinking about it!

Next I had an enzyme peel. I was warned that this step does tingle and was told that if it becomes unbearable to let her know and she would remove it for me. It did seriously tingle/sting but was never unbearable. Once the enzyme was on, my therapist asked where it was tingling most (interestingly, it was my eyebrows) and brushed over that area with the brush she used to apply the enzyme. The brushing action soothed the stinging sensation and was what stopped it from becoming unbearable. She continued brushing all over my face until it was time to remove the enzyme with the hot towel. 

Here is where things start to get a little bit hazy in my memory and where I suspect that I fell asleep. I remember having the most divine facial massage but can't remember if this was done with the mask or with oils. What I think happened was a clay mask was applied and this was allowed to dry on my face and whilst it was drying I had the intense scalp massage. Whilst I can't remember the scalp massage I do remember having my hands and arms massaged as well and that was seriously relaxing. I think the clay mask was then removed with the hot towel and then my face was massaged with oil. It was a very firm massage and one that they a famous for. It is the massage that is key to the youthful appearance you are left with afterwards. Every single drop of tension is firmly massaged out of your face until you are left pretty much slack jawed you are in such a relaxed state.

The final step of the facial was the application of moisturiser. Then an eye-pack was placed across my eyes and slippers were put on my feet for me. I can't tell you how nice it feels to have someone put slippers on your feet for you! 



The final result was that I was left in such an intense state of relaxation it felt like I was floating. I literally have never felt like that before. I kind of wished I was staying at the hotel (QT Sydney) so that I could have gone back to my room, sunggled under the doona and slept for a few hours. Actually, over the Easter long weekend, the spa was open for 24 hours each day so you could have had a late night treatment then gone straight to bed to have, what I would assume would be the greatest sleep of your life.

SpaQ can be found on level M of the QT Sydney hotel. The hotel is located at 49 Market St, Sydney. It can be a little tricky to spot as it is just a little entrance way right next to the State Theatre. I had a little panic when I was walking up Market street as I couldn't see the hotel anywhere and suddenly thought that maybe I was meant to be elsewhere in the city but then saw the funky QT logo hanging from the roof and new I was in the right place.


As soon as you enter the entrance way to the hotel the decor is pure class. I know a spa shouldn't be judged on the hallway you walk down, but that is exactly what I did and I knew that I was going to be in for a wonderful treat.



After my treatment, I was shown the Kerstin Florian products that were used on me and had the opportunity to buy them (though no pressure was placed on me to do so). The sell the enzyme peel on pre-soaked pads that can be used at home. I would have been quite tempted by those but unfortunately they were sold out.




I will definitely return to SpaQ for another treatment, I loved my facial so much. Next time I think that I will give the Coffee and Sea Kelp Contour Wrap a go. I would have put a request to get this for Mothers Day but will actually be in Thailand at that time so I guess I will just have to wait until my birthday. Hubby and I haven't had a weekend away from the kids so perhaps this will be the perfect opportunity - not only could we get a treatment but then follow it up with a glorious full nights sleep!

There are three QT Hotels, each with their own SpaQ - Sydney, Gold Coast and Port Douglas.

What has been your best facial experience and what made it so special?


All opinions are my own and I received no remuneration for this post. This treatment was provided for consideration.

How To Repair Sun Damaged Skin


I have another guest post for you today. This one comes from Selina from Beautystorm. Beautystorm are proudly the cheapest stockists of Dermalogica products in Australia and provide online skin consultations with their in house Skincare Therapists. Selina will be giving us advice on how to repair sun damaged skin. Whilst we are blessed to be living in such a sun drenched country, here in Australia, as a consequence the majority of us will have sun damaged skin. Here are Selina's tips to repair some of the damage:

The severe, Australian suncauses a multitude of cases of serious skin damage every year. However, there are ways, to repair rough, dry, wrinkled skin that may also suffer from redness and brown spots.

The very first step to reverse some of that skin damage is some gentle cleansing. Never wash the face with an ordinary bar of soap. This will make the situation worse and cause severe dry skin.

In order to wash the sun-damaged skin effectively without causing further injury, use a gentle exfoliating facial cleanser. This will remove, not only dirt and oil, but also the top layer of dead skin cells, providing a nice glow. This will reveal fresh skin cells ready for treatment.

After cleansing the skin, follow with a mud mask or a facial mask made specifically for skin that’s been damaged by the sun. The purpose of a mask is to draw out impurities in the skin while adding key ingredients like moisturisers and minerals back into the skin.

After gently rinsing the purifying mask, a lotion, cream or serum containing key ingredients should be applied to the skin. The difference between the three is that a lotion is best for daytime use, worn under makeup or for those prone to breakouts. Creams are considered heavier and best used at night or for those with dry skin. Serums are usually highly concentrated formulas that can be used day or night, but a little goes a long way. Those with the most severe sun damaged skin should use them.

Any formulation, whether it is a lotion, cream or serum will work best if it contains a retinoid, CoQ10, vitamin C or collagen. Those with sensitive skin should stay away from high concentrations of both vitamin C or a retinoid. They may see better results with a collagen-based cream, serum or lotion.

What are all these formulations? A retinoid is actually a form of vitamin A. It prompts the skin cells to turn over rapidly, revealing fresh new cells. Vitamin C helps boost the production of something already in the body: collagen. Using synthetic collagen helps the body use more of what it needs for nice, firm, elastic skin. CoQ10 prevents oxidation of the cells, which leads to free radicals, which is toxic to our skin.

To supplement these steps to repair sun-damaged skin from the inside out should be a diet loaded with antioxidants from fruits and vegetables and full hydration with water to also help reverse the sun damage.
For more information on how to repair sun damaged skin and beauty products online, visit www.beautystorm.com.au.


Thanks Selina, the only thing that I would add to this article is to get your hands on either a serum or mask that contains hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid can attract 100 times it weight in water. It is a humectant - this means it draws and retains moisture. So, when it used in a mask or serum it draws moisture to your skin. Dermalogica actually have one of the best hyaluronic serums on the market in their Skin Hydration Booster. A product like this will produce instant hydration but needs to be used regularly to maintain this hydration.

Monday, 1 April 2013

WIN: Aphelia Cosmetology Skincare Pack

I have now brought you three reviews of the Aphelia Cosmetology acne products from three different guest reviewers. Here is: Andrea's review (age 33)Jenny's review (age 20) and Nalini's review (age 30).

The Aphelia Cosmetology herbal skincare range is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. Rather than rely on one 'hero herb' in an otherwise basic formulation, Aphelia Cosmetology uses a precise prescription of herbs to create a formulation that heals and nurtures your skin.
The acne range from Aphelia Cosmetology is truly unique - it is the world’s only acne solution with no Benzoyl Peroxide & Salicylic Acid that has been proven with independent in vitro (this means in a petri dish or in a test tube) tests to inhibit acne bacterium for 6 hours at 99.96% (I have a copy of these studies which I will go through in more detail in another post). This means that the acne range from Aphelia Cosmetology won't produce the side effects that Benzoyl Peroxide & Salicylic Acid may cause such as drying and irritating you skin.

If you think that this might be something that you would like to try then you are in luck - I have a pack of the Aphelia Cosmetology skincare to give away.

What your pack will include: Oasis Acne Solution, Classic Skin Purifier Cleansing Beauty Oil and the Master Cleanse.





To win, all you have to do is follow me by either GFC, Facebook or email and then comment with the answer the following question:

What is your worst pimple/acne experience?

The winner will be drawn randomly (so don't worry if your story isn't too horrific!).

Want to hear mine? It happened when I was about 14 and is a classic why you should not squeeze pimples story. I woke up one Saturday with a smallish pimple right on the tip of my nose. I had a party to go to later that night so wanted it gone. It had a white head on it so I thought that I could squeeze it but when I did nothing came out. So, I tried again. Still nothing. So I popped it with a pin. A little bit of gunk came out but it still looked like more was there but it just wasn't coming so I gave up and put some toner on it (that seemed the right thing to do in my 14 year old wisdom). Clearly it wasn't. An hour later it had tripled in size and was now yellow, so clearly infected. So, of course I squeezed it again but only water pus came out. For the rest of the day, each time it was allowed it scab over, within minutes it would be full of yellow pus again. It was hideous and now the surrounding skin was also bright red and swollen. In fact, it was so swollen the tip of my nose was now in my line of vision which just further irritated me and reminded me it was there. I spent the entire day putting a dab of every product I own on it every 5 minutes. In hindsight, none of these products were antiseptics so were never going to clear the infection - I think they just further inflamed it. By the time time the party rocked around, I had managed to get rid of the yellow infection but now had a rather large scab on the end of my nose plus my entire nose was very much Rudolf like. To say that it was noticeable is an understatement. The redness was actually so bad that my nose looked sunburned; however, it was the middle of winter so that was not possible. I remember people asking what happened to my nose at the party. For some reason, I recall being really embarrassed to admit that I had a pimple so made some lie up about hurting my nose. I have no idea why I was so embarrassed to have a pimple since, as the party was full of 14 year olds, I would say that every single person there would have had one on their face at that time! As a 32 year old looking back at my 14 year old self, I no longer feel that situation was embarrassing and am surprised how strongly I felt shame about that pimple. Teenagers are a funny species - one that we will never fully understand, even having had once been one!

Anyway, this competition will run until 8.00pm (AEST)on Sunday April 14th and the winner will be contacted by email. I have two methods of commenting below - if you use Intense Debate (the bottom comment section) there is no need to provide an email address as it gets sent to me with your comment. However, if you comment with Nuffnang X Conversations can you please leave your email address so I can contact you. This competition is open Australia Wide.