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Skincare & Cancer

Skincare & Cancer


Written by Nicola Meir Holistic Therapies

One in two of us will be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetime. It’s a scary thought, isn’t it? However, treatments are continuously developing which is really encouraging, giving lots of us huge hope for the future. Many of you may have heard that David, one of the co-owners / founders of Perfumery & Co, was diagnosed with throat cancer last year. He underwent some invasive surgery followed by six weeks of daily radiotherapy. He has now been given the all clear which deserves a huge celebration. However, it was unbelievably intense and, even though he was given a treatment plan, he understandably found it extremely daunting and anxiety inducing. He understands how utterly out of control you can feel once diagnosed and fully emersed in a treatment journey.  He was desperate to gain a sense of control in other areas of his life, no matter how small they seemed, and one such area was his skincare routine. Taking care of his skin allowed him to regain lost confidence and continue working which he loves. He has shared his experiences with me which I’ve incorporated into this article.


So here are some tips if you, or someone you know, has cancer and is wanting to claw back some control and normality into their day to day life. One small way of doing this is in the form of skin care. Think of it as creating a selfcare ritual, rather than a mundane routine. Something you choose to do, rather than something you have to do. A chance to take some time for yourself in order to look and feel just a little bit better. After all, when something becomes a ritual it is more enjoyable and the benefits are multiple.


It is important to say at this point that we advise chatting to your healthcare professional about making changes to your skincare and at any point where you may have concerns or questions about your skin. Both chemotherapy and radiotherapy have a huge impact on the skin and are ultimately killing cancerous cells and preventing them from reproducing and growing. In doing so, they affect our healthy cells leading to changes in our skin. Radiotherapy can cause skin, on the part of the body receiving radiation, to become dry, itchy and peel. It might turn red and darker. Chemotherapy can also leave skin sore, red, blistered, irritated and extremely dry.


So however you normally care for your skin, you will need to make some changes as the skin’s barrier becomes damaged. Everything you do needs to be about delicately rebuilding and strengthening the barrier as much as possible.  Your skin will no doubt feel out of sorts for a time but know that you can help it to look and feel better. Think of this time as building an additional skincare shelf at home that is all about protecting your skin from the outside in. 


Here are some tips on how to care for your skin during treatment:


Firstly avoid hot water on the skin, not only on your face but your body too. Hot water will irritate and dry out the skin making it uncomfortable and itchy, susceptible to scratching. Warm water is your friend here and gently does it when touching and massaging your skin too. Pat don’t rub when it comes to drying. Wear loose clothing to reduce any irritation and potential heat on the surface of the skin.


Keep your routine simple. Stick to the basics and do them well. Cleanse, tone, moisturise and apply sunscreen every day. Treatment products, such as soothing facial masks, repairing serums, nourishing oils and facial spritz, are also useful for added comfort and hydration. These are what are going to form the basis of your skincare ritual. If you feel up to it try to calve out a little time each day to really enjoy the textures and the feeling they bring to your skin in a quiet space.


Opt for products formulated for sensitive skin. Look for products that are calming, soothing, repairing, gentle, hydrating, and restoring with ingredients such as ceramides and glycerin. Avoid alcohol and lots of fragrance in products and give essential oils a wide berth at this time. Choose balms, creams and ointment textures over gels and lotions as these will tend to feed and calm parched and irritated skin with what it needs.


Stop using actives, for example, exfoliating scrubs or acids as it’s not necessary to exfoliate at this time. Vitamin C serums and Vitamin A serums (retinoids) are also not advised. They may aggravate the skin so it’s best to temporarily move them all to the back of your shelf. You may find you can’t tolerate your usual perfume or aftershave. It might be an opportunity to try something lighter. Actives and exfoliation can be reintroduced when treatment has finished.


If you normally wet shave it’s advisable to swap to a dry electric shave to minimise irritation. Use a cleansing balm beforehand so that the skin is well hydrated will reduce irritation.


Always wear a sunscreen SPF50 and cover up as much as possible. Some chemo drugs may cause more sun sensitivity and pigmentation so protection is key.


Nail care is important too. Some treatment can disrupt the nail bed making it easier for infections to occur. They may become brittle and break so keep nails short and avoid agitating the cuticles.


Lips may become drier and chapped so I’d suggest keeping a lip balm by your bed and in your bag or on your desk. Anywhere you can easily reapply to avoid lips cracking and becoming uncomfortable.


Hand sanitiser is also a must when out and about to reduce the risk of infection.


Here are a few products to consider:



Elemis Fig Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm

Clarins Velvet Cleansing Milk



Elemis Soothing Apricot Toner

Clarins Soothing Toner



Clarins Double Serum

Elemis SOS Emergency Cream

The Organic Pharmacy Skin Rescue Serum



The Organic Pharmacy Honey & Jasmine (This was David’s hero product during his radiotherapy treatment. He would apply a thick layer to clean skin every evening. It reduced the redness and discomfort and he is certain it was the reason his skin did not blister).

Clarins SOS Comfort Mask


Facial Oil:

Elemis Superfood facial Oil



Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream



Clarins Sun care


Body care:

Elemis Skin Nourishing Shower Cream

L’Occitane Ultra Rich Hand & Body Wash

L’Occitane Shea Milk Sensitive Skin Extra Rich Soap

Clarins Moisture Rich Body Lotion

L’Occitane Ultra Rich Body Cream

L’Occitane Shea Butter Organic Certified


Hands & Nails:

L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Balm

L’Occitane Nail & Cuticle Oil



L’Occitane Shea Ultra Rich Lip Balm


If you are going through treatment I know you won’t feel like your normal self, you may notice small changes in your appearance and your energy levels might plummet.  But even the smallest steps can help to gain a little control at a time when you might feel out of control. It’s time just for you. Five minutes to prepare you for the day ahead and five minutes to help unwind at the end of the day. Try to create that ritual rather than a mundane routine.  This certainly helped David through a difficult few months. Although I appreciate that everyone’s experiences will differ and that not all suggestions will suit every person reading this.  But I hope there will be a little nugget of info that may help. Remember, please seek professional advice if you need to. I sort advice from Macmillan Cancer Support when writing this article.


Book in for a consultation in store to discuss your individual needs. It’s such a warm and welcoming environment. The team would be more than happy to assist you.

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Brand Spot Light : Meet The Organic Pharmacy

Brand Spot Light : Meet The Organic Pharmacy

My first experience of The Organic Pharmacy was seeing a shiny new store appear in Chelsea, West London, about twenty years ago. I didn't venture in but how I wish I had! This was 2002 and was their flagship, their first store which has now been joined by outlets in Kensington and Primrose Hill. This is alongside select retailers such as Perfumery & Company, Selfridges and Fenwicks. Plus their products feature in spas including The Four Seasons Park Lane Hotel. They also sell to forty five countries all of which are supplied by their factory in West London. Now, I fully appreciate the brand which was the first pharmacy to offer all things organic and I love so many of their products.


Their spas, in the three London locations, are abundant with different treatments, from waxing to massage, non-invasiveadvanced facial treatments to food intolerance testing and so much more. They even offer courses to learn some of the treatments that they provide.


Last year they celebrated their twentieth anniversary and co-founder Margo Marrone, a pharmacist and homeopath, created the company with her then husband, and she has seen the brand grow and develop. She believed back in 2002, when they founded the company, that how we live has a direct impact on our health. She was totally focussed on healing the mind and body through natural and effective products and treatments. They are a 'one stop shop for health and skincare' as they also offer a fully stocked homeopathic and herbal dispensary, have skin clinics and spas.


They are a brand that marries performance driven organic ingredients with an emphasis on treating the whole person, of which topical treatments are a staple. All of their ingredients are of the highest pharmaceutical and cosmeceutical standards. Organic ingredients are used wherever available and everything is ethically sourced. Absolutely nothing is tested on animals.


Within their laboratory and factory in West London they describe how they combine 'nature and nurture' to get the best out of the ingredients they use. For example extracting the most potent part of a botanical to create the best formulation. When it comes to product testing their mantra is 'prove and improve' to ensure that everything is independently tested to clinically confirm the short term, medium term and permanent benefits of each product before it leaves the lab.


They are a conscious brand, keen to make a positive impact on the environment. They do this by always practicing fair trade, using natural resources responsibly, ensuring production and processing is environmentally friendly and providing recyclable and refillable packaging. But the list goes on and they work really hard on this. I love how they are a brand committed to giving back too. For 2023 they are supporting 'Women Supporting Women' which is an initiative that is part of The Princes Trust #changeagirlslife campaign. Here they are able to fund the support to nurture, empower and inspire vulnerable women to build a better future.


They offer a holistic approach to their customers - providing skincare, body care, make up, health solutions including supplements, spa treatments and training facilities plus their charity work. I find this pretty damn impressive.


Perfumery and Company have been chosen by The Organic Pharmacy to stock their products. Venture in if you are local or take a look at their website to see what products they have and receive some expert advice. The guys really know what they are talking about.


I've been testing some of the products for several weeks now and have used some others for a much longer amount of time. Here are my thoughts on each one.


Carrot Butter Cleanser

For all skin types

I've used many cleansing balms and this one didn't disappoint. It's 99.9% Organic, has the most invigorating yet soothing scent. We've got beta-carotene from carrot, rosemary, lavender and calendula to thank for that. It is a cleanser you could choose to not only clean the skin, but remove make up (including eye make-up). It balances and decongests the skin whilst boosting the skins circulation. Apply to dry skin, massage in and remove with a damp face cloth. It's a real pleasure to use.


Hyaluronic Acid Serum

For all skin types

This is a vegan 95% organic lightweight, easily absorbed serum. It works wonders on parched skin by delivering a hit of hydration to lock in moisture. What it's doing is effectively plumping the skin cells. This enables skin to appear more plump by reducing the appearance of wrinkles. One full dropper is enough for the face, neck and décolleté every morning and evening. It sinks in easily and doesn’t leave an oily residue. A personal favourite of mine!


Stabilised Vitamin C Serum

For all skin types

91% organic and vegan friendly. This light serum successfully brightens and evens skin tone. It gives a lovely glow. It’s a great choice for anyone who’s noticed a lack of radiance, dull complexion, some pigmentation or you just want a great antioxidant to help protect the skin against free radical damage. Apply one full dropper every morning. The organic Pharmacy suggest every evening too but you may decide to use a different serum instead. Another personal favourite of mine!


Antioxidant Face Gel

90% Organic

For all skin types

This lightweight gel boost collagen production, minimises the appearance of pores and tones the skin. Clinic results confirmed that it produces antioxidant activity which makes it an incredible protective serum against environmental aggressors. It has a subtle herby fragrance consisting of Rose Hip, carrot, lemon and ginseng. For optimum results The Organic Pharmacy suggest following this with the Antioxidant Face Serum. Use just in the morning on cleansed and toned skin or morning and evening depending on your skins needs.


Antioxidant Face Serum

For all skin types

98.7% Organic

Clinical results confirmed that this also produces antioxidant activity which is what many of us want from a serum. So not only will this help to protect against environmental stress, it will help to gradually reverse signs of sun damage, tone the skin and give the most radiant glow. It's been proven to be fifty times more potent than Rose Hip alone. This is impressive. And then imagine the uplifting scent of orange and grapefruit as you use this in the morning! It's heaven! This is definitely another one of my favourites. Use morning and/or evening after the Antioxidant Face Gel for best results. However, you could mix and match depending on your skins needs. I love this product!


Skin Rescue Serum

For dry and sensitised skin, eczema, psoriasis

98% organic

Think of this as your first aid serum for skin that needs calming, soothing, healing and hydrating. It’s a great serum for eczema and psoriasis. Once applied it restores some elasticity to the skin making it more comfortable and adds a layer of protection against external aggressors and the potential of water loss from within the skin. Apply between two to four drops up to one dropper full each morning and evening and whenever it’s needed. A light consistency which doesn’t sit heavy on the skin.


Four Acid Peel

Suitable for all skin types

90% organic and vegan friendly

This is a serum that gently exfoliates and brightens the skin to reveal a smoother complexion. It helps to fight blemishes and boosts the radiance of the skin. No need to wash off and no exfoliating particles. A combination of plant derived acids naturally dissolve dry dead skin cells including glycolic, lactic and citric acids. Super easy to use and a lovely lightweight texture. Can be used once a day but I would start off with a couple of times a week. We should be using sunscreen every day and even more so if we have used exfoliating products that contain acids. This is because they may make the skin more sun sensitive.


Retinol Night Serum

Suitable for all skin types

93% Organic and suitable for vegans

This is The Organic Pharmacy’s retinol offering for targeting signs of skin getting older i.e. fine lines, wrinkles, reducing enlarged pores. It speeds up the renewal of new skin cells. It contains an encapsulated retinol which means that the retinol is protected from degradation, increasing its stability and improving its delivery to the skin. The Organic Pharmacy suggest using one full dropper of this light textured serum on the face, neck and décolleté every night to clean skin. I’d say introduce it a couple of evenings a week, then every other evening and then every evening. This serum works well being applied after the Four Acid peel (which aids better penetration of products). But start by using them on different evenings and always wear your sunscreen the next day because retinol can make the skin sensitive to the sun.


Honey & Jasmin Mask

To Firm & Moisturise

Suitable for all skin types but particularly dry, dehydrated or stressed skin

This rich and luxurious mask is 67.15% organic. It has a comforting creamy texture containing honey, squalene and aloe which all help to nourish, soothe and hydrate parched skin. I personally love this product. Not only can it be used in the traditional way where it gets washed off after twenty minutes but a thin layer can be applied before bed and left on whilst you sleep. Your skin will feel like it is cocooned in the softest blanket. It has a light comforting powdery fragrance.


Enzyme Peel Mask

To Brighten & Exfoliate

For all skin types

This light cream/gel mask is 71.6% organic and suitable for vegans. It contains a cocktail of Vitamin C, passion fruit and lactic acid. It has a fresh and fruity mouth-watering fragrance. Due to the lactic acid enzymes which are naturally exfoliating you may experience a slight tingling when it’s on the skin but this is completely normal and shouldn’t be uncomfortable. The ingredients are nibbling away at the dead skin cells which in turn encourages cell turnover to increase. This helps to even out pigmentation and brighten a dull complexion. Because of the enzymes present, you won’t find any physical particles in this product.


Purifying Seaweed Clay Mask

To Purify & Rebalance

Suitable for oily, combination or congested skin

Containing spirulina, sage and eucalyptus this 58.7% organic aromatic mask is perfect for balancing the skin. It’s a cross between a cream and a very light paste in texture, very easy to apply and suitable for vegans. The clay means that the mask dries on the skin, helping to draw out impurities. But unlike some clay based masks it’s very easy to remove. The seaweed works its magic on any redness whilst Vitamin C restores a lovely glow. A brilliant product!


Tinted Beauty Cream

Suitable for all skin types

Certified 100% Natural

This is a sheer tinted cream that will instantly give skin a dewy radiant glow. It contains lots of skincare ingredients to treat the skin such as hyaluronic acid to hydrate, witch hazel to minimise pores in addition to colour adapting technology and light reflecting particles to give the skin glow. This isn't a foundation, it's a sheer tint with a very natural finish. It blurs lines and pigmentation and is a quick way to brighten and even the skin without applying heavier make up. I really like it.

Detox Body Oil

All skin types

This has such an invigorating blend of oils including juniper, fennel, eucalyptus and rosemary. Perfect for application in the mornings to deliver a shot of energy and moisture. This lightweight oil has been clinically proven to increase the skins moisture and elasticity after being applied once a day for a month. I’m always a bit dubious about products that claim to improve tone but I’ve definitely noticed the elasticity of my skin improve. Either apply directly onto damp skin after a shower or, as The Organic Pharmacy suggest, spray directly onto your dry body brush and then apply in long upward sweeping strokes towards the heart before showering.


10 Day Detox Kit

This is a complete programme of nutritional supplements along with a very thorough guide and meal plan. It's a ten day kit that aims to soothe the digestive tract, support drainage and liver function and metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids. It also helps to protect cells from oxidative stress. If you are looking to reset your body - perhaps you feel sluggish, tired, bloated, constantly craving sugar etc. then consider this kit. It’s a well-balanced detox plan where you actually eat! You don’t have to survive on juice, air or dust! This kit was awarded a CEW Beauty Award as voted for by industry professionals and experts. These are recognised as one of the most coveted awards in the industry. They recognise the ‘best in class’. So this programme is something to take note of.

On opening the box you will find four supplement bottles - Detox, Phytonutrients + MSM, Superantioxidants and Essential Fatty Acid +B Complex. Plus a detailed guide covering how the detox works, sources of toxins, what to expect from the detox itself and the meal plan. I’m not usually a fan of ‘detoxing’ but I would say that The Organic Pharmacy’s plan is not like a traditional detox. Following this plan myself has helped me to refocus my own eating habits and I do feel better.


So there you have it. My aim is that you've now got a sense of what The Organic Pharmacy is all about (if you didn't know about it before) and why it's a brand stocked by Perfumery & Company. I hope you've also found my product thoughts and recommendations insightful and useful. I've featured fourteen items here but there are so many more to choose from. There is indeed something for everyone.

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Brand Spotlight - Grown Alchemist

Brand Spotlight - Grown Alchemist


Grown Alchemist is one of the brands handpicked by the guys at Perfumery & Company to feature on their shelves in store. Within this blog I shine a spotlight on the brand and share my thoughts.


Grown Alchemist is an Australian cosmeceutical skin care brand founded back in 2002 by Melbourne based brothers Jeremy and Heston Muijs. Their background has been in design and product development where they ran their own international consultancy, developing products for many large global brands.  It was whilst working with one of their clients in the testing phase that they discovered how continuous use of natural active ingredients could directly improve skin cell health, optimising skin function and as a result reverse signs of skin ageing. This led to them launching Grown Alchemist, developing formulas that combined biology and cosmetic chemistry. Which in turn saw the birth of their trademark skincare system: Cleanse, Detox, Activate.


They have cosmetic chemists and research labs in London, Paris, Switzerland, Spain and Australian who continuously work to create the perfect formulas to apply topically to the skin, as well as offering nutricosmetics which are a range of advanced beauty supplements to take orally. A predominantly natural and holistic system under one umbrella for everyone.


Grown Alchemist have deservedly been featured in many publications, including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle. As well as working with the likes of Alexander Wang whose models were given Grown Alchemist facials before walking the runway at Paris and New York fashion weeks.


Grown Alchemist is owned by The L’Occitane Group who are a leading international retailer and manufacturer of sustainable beauty and wellbeing products and Perfumery & Co stock both of these brands. In fact, Perfumery & Co are in good company being stockists of Grown Alchemist because it’s also stocked in Selfridges, Harrods and very few other physical retailers. So it’s a real coup to have them adorn the shelves.


Grown Alchemist describe themselves as “A beauty company of the future.” Priding themselves on formulating high performance plant based products that are scientifically formulated, with cellular renewal and nutrient metabolization at their core. In simple terms they are interested in the way our bodies repair and how our skin regenerates itself. They focus on selecting natural ingredients which are compatible with our human biology and are very hot on ‘conscious skincare’ and “shopping for the health of your skin with clean skincare for all”. They are part of the ‘clean’ or ‘green’ beauty movement which has gained popularity over the last few years. In my opinion, a skincare brand which classes itself as ‘clean’ or ‘green’ is not better or worse than ranges that are not marketed in this way. However, I know lots of consumers are looking specifically for these sort of skincare products and I have been really impressed with Grown Alchemist. Personally I use a combination of  different brands as part of my skincare routine at home.


The range is extensive and offers something for everyone. I’m going to share my insight into a selection of their products and I would certainly urge you to pop some of them in your basket:




Hydra-Restore Cream Cleanser

Suitable for: Normal/Dry skin

A luxe, creamy texture with a botanical fragrance instantly transports you from your bathroom to a spa. Formulated with a blend of skin kind antioxidants such as olive leaf extract, vitamin B, zinc and yarrow extract which encourage an amazing glow, prepping the skin for moisturiser and leaving it feeling comforted. It’s effective at removing light make up to.

Massage into dry skin morning and/or evening and remove with warm water and a cloth.


Gentle Gel Facial Cleanser

Suitable for: Oily/Combination skin

A clean smelling light gel for the face. Effectively cleans by removing dirt and excess oil. Bergamot, chamomile and willow bark work to decongest and gently exfoliate the skin which helps blemishes and blackheads. A combination of polyphenols and cold pressed rose petals even skin tone whilst aloe vera calms.  It leaves the skin feeling refreshed.

Massage into dry skin morning/and or evening and remove with warm water and a cloth.




Balancing Toner

Suitable for: All skin types

A gentle, alcohol free refreshing toner containing soothing and hydrating antioxidant ingredients such as chamomile, aloe vera and ginseng. This brightening toner will not strip the skin’s acid mantle, which is our protective film on the surface of our skin, therefore helping to keep skin soothed, hydrated and comfortable.

Apply to a cotton pad and sweep over face and neck after cleansing/shaving. No need to rinse.




Age-Repair Eye Cream

Suitable for: All skin types

Bio-compatible peptides (peptides which work in synergy with our bodies), nutrient rich vitamins and lipids improve brightness, hydration and texture. Designed to slow down signs of skin getting older around the eye area.

Massage a very small amount morning and evening around the eye area after toning. No need to apply too close to the lash line. Instead concentrate on the bone above and below the eye. Don’t be tempted to apply lots of product, less is definitely more here.




Instant Smoothing Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Suitable for: All skin types

A concentrated lightweight serum which contains high, medium and low weight hyaluronan molecules that sink into the skin like water sinks into a sponge. These work effectively to draw moisture into the lower layers of the skin to hydrate, plump and smooth.

Massage a small amount morning and evening into face, neck and décolleté after applying eye product. It’s also effective as an intensive treatment to counteract the effects of sunburn, windburn and over exposure to heating or air conditioning.




Age-Repair Moisturiser

Suitable for: All skin types

A lightweight but robust moisturiser that doesn’t leave a greasy residue on the skin. Peptides, amino acids and potent antioxidants rejuvenate the skins appearance by improving elasticity, hydration and surface texture. Packed with bioactive botanicals known for their revitalising properties and repairing vitamins A, C and E. It effectively provides the skin with a hit of hydration and moisture without any stickiness.

Massage a small amount into face, neck and décolleté morning and evening after applying serum or facial oil.


Hydra Repair Day Cream

Suitable for: All skin types

Delivering a silky texture that’s slightly richer that the Age Repair Moisturiser. Like the Age Repair moisturiser it doesn’t leave an oily residue on the skin or excess shine. It works really well as a primer under make up. Allow a minute or so for it to dry down before applying foundation. This cream supplies the skin with plant derived actives including Aloe and Vitamin E to improve hydration levels. Mayblossom releases flavonoids which set to rebalance natural sebum levels and improve the appearance of skin pores.

Massage a small amount into face, neck and décolleté morning and evening after applying serum or facial oil.


Detox Night Cream

Suitable for: Normal/Dry Skin

A dreamy advanced formulation night cream containing all of the ingredients you would want from a night time treatment moisturiser. A blend of peptides, vitamins, hyaluronic acid and essential fatty acids that encourage the skin to detox and regenerate whilst we rest. A must have as part of your evening routine if your skin is showing signs of getting older to deliver a boost of nourishment.

Massage a small amount into face, neck and décolleté in the evening after applying serum or facial oil. 




Age Repair Sleep mask

Suitable for: Normal/dry skin

This is a super-rich heavy duty mask which has been designed to leave on the skin whilst you sleep. An eclectic mix of amino rich oligopeptides, aloe and helix-aspersa protein (a snail extract!) It’s perfect for rescuing dry, dehydrated skin with a smoother texture which helps with the appearance of wrinkles. If skin is particularly dehydrated or sensitised this is a great treatment.

Apply on to clean face and neck in the evening instead of moisturiser until it has absorbed. No need to wash off. Cleanse face as normal in the morning. This is a multi purpose hard working product. It will help sooth razor burn, skin that’s been over exposed to sun, dehydrated from flying, suffering from the effects of medication etc.


Body Care


Intensive Body Cream

Suitable for: All skin types apart from super dry

More of a lotion rather than a traditional cream texture which soaks in effectively and doesn’t leave a greasy residue. Pomegranate and cupuacu butter nourish the skin and  improve hydration levels, elasticity and smoothness. A beautiful light scent which doesn’t interfere with any subsequently applied fragrance.

Apply all of the body (including feet, knees and elbows) at any time. If skin is super dry this body cream may not be quite rich enough.


Age Repair Hand Cream

Suitable for: All skin types

I am very particular when it comes to hand creams and I’m happy to say that this one ticks the box for me. Surely a hand cream is a hand cream you might say. But this is not the case. The formula is brilliant in that it is a recipe of phyto-peptides which increase collagen and therefore plumpness and hydration. Sweet almond oil also features and like any good fatty acid it’s going to help keep hands moisturised and smooth. Hands are not left greasy which is a big plus for me.

Apply at any time of day and massage in an extra thick layer before bed.


Lip Balm

Suitable for: All skin types

A really effective lip balm that deeply nourishes dry lips, maintains hydration levels throughout the day, all delivered in a lightweight non greasy texture. Rough, chapped and dry lips are eliminated due to moisturising ingredients such as Shea Butter, Sweet Almond Oil and Jojoba whilst the extract and scent of fresh watermelon repairs damage caused by the sun, wind or cold weather.

Keep it in your pocket or bag and apply any time of day and add an extra thick layer before bed.


I have been really impressed with Grown Alchemist and already have a list of favourites.

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Winter Skin - Tips on looking after your skin during the cold winter months

Winter Skin - Tips on looking after your skin during the cold winter months

Many of us have been blessed with relatively mild weather of late. However, the colder weather has well and truly arrived. This wintery climate has the potential to wreak havoc with our skin. The change from warm to cold, from our centrally heated homes to the chilly outdoors, causes stress to the skin and can leave it feeling really parched, dry and dull. This is because cold air carries less moisture and it causes the water to evaporate from our skin.


Here are my tips to help relieve tight, dry and sensitised skin. They will work to encourage a more hydrated, comfortable and glowing complexion and maintain, or rebuild, the natural protective barrier on the surface of the skin.


Avoid harsh facial washes


Don't use harsh facial washes to clean the skin. No matter what your skin type it needs so much more moisture at this time of year and unfortunately many foaming facial washes strip the skin and leave it feeling dry and tight. Never aim for that 'squeaky clean' feeling. If you get that, you're using the wrong product for your skin type. Use luke warm water, not hot water as when the temperature is too high this will aggravate the skin. And the least said about facial wipes the better! Avoid at all costs! Instead, choose something more comforting and kind to your skin i.e. a cleansing balm, gel or milk. Any skin type will benefit from choosing these during the colder months. Aim to clean your face once in the morning and twice in the evening (a double cleanse) to effectively remove make up, dirt, sweat, pollution, sunscreen etc. (Cleansing once in the evening is fine if you haven't been outside, worn make up or applied sunscreen). Many problems start when we don't clean our faces properly. Thoroughly cleansed skin creates a beautiful clean canvas for subsequent products.


Introduce hydrating essences


These are like hydrating toners, often thicker in consistency which deliver a huge hit of moisture to the skin. Perhaps swap out your normal toner in the evening and replace with an essence. Apply to a cotton pad and sweep over the face and neck. The moisture these deliver will also help other products, that are applied afterwards, work more efficiently.

Exfoliate regularly

Our skin is continuously renewing and part of this process is the culmination of layers of dry dead skin cells settling on the surface. An exfoliator will remove some of these to reveal a smoother, more even complexion which is more receptive to subsequently applied products i.e. serums and moisturisers. If you are used to using scrubs that contain physical grains try a very gently one that contains natural particles. You don't want anything that is going to scratch or damage your skin. I personally prefer a liquid exfoliator containing acids such as Glycolic, Lactic or Salicylic acid. Don't be scared by the name, I'm not talking about harsh acids that leave your skin sore and irritated. These acids are often derived from plants etc and work well with our skin. They nibble away at the dead skin cells and help speed up cell turnover which, as we get older, naturally slows down. Apply them to a cotton pad and sweep over the face, neck and décolleté avoiding the eye area. They are generally more effective than physical exfoliators. The advice on how often to use them during the colder months varies but I'd say don't be tempted to overuse them. A couple of times a week will be enough and ensure you moisturiser and use sun screen afterwards every day.

Spritz and spritz again

Consider using a hydrating facial mist, one that contains hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid or glycerin, and spritz throughout the day. This may feel weird as you might associate facial spritzers with warm weather but they are incredibly hydrating and you will notice a difference within hours. Spray onto bare skin or over make up. I keep one by my desk, in my bag and in my fridge! I love them.

Apply a hyaluronic acid serum

Incorporate a serum that contains hyaluronic acid and apply after cleansing, toning/liquid exfoliator and eye product. This ingredient is one of the best ways to achieve hydrated skin. It occurs naturally in our skin but can be negatively impacted at this time of year.  It's estimated that hyaluronic acid can hold up to one thousand times its own weight in water molecules and has the ability to bind moisture to the cells within our skin. It's most effective in serum form and is therefore pretty lightweight, so perfect for any skin type (it won't make skin oily). I use a hyaluronic acid serum every morning at the moment before my moisturiser. If you love baths apply your hyaluronic acid serum after cleansing and let the steam and humidity work its magic.

Facial oils are your friend


Integrate a facial oil into your routine. Plant oils can bring great comfort to dehydrated, irritated and parched skin. There are oils available for all skin types, even oily. Using a facial oil on oily skin will not make it oilier, it will help to regulate oil production whilst hydrating. I love the feeling of an oil on the skin and tend to use one most evenings before or instead of a moisturiser. I sometimes use them during the day too if my skin is feeling particularly parched or I am out walking. You could add a few drops of your facial oil into your moisturiser, foundation, mask or hand cream for an extra hydration hit. 

Don't skip moisturiser

Always moisturise, even if your skin is naturally oily or combination. This helps to protect your skins natural barrier, acting as a shield against the negative effects of this cold weather and central heating. Therefore keeping our skin hydrated. Observe your own skin - is your current moisturiser being absorbed super quick once you've applied it? Is your skin still feeling tight, dry, uncomfortable? If you wear makeup do you feel like it disappears or slides off? If this is the case, it might not be rich enough. You could apply another layer of the same moisturiser once the first layer has sunk in or you could choose a richer cream. Look for ingredients such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid and fatty acids which will help to lock in moisture. You want to minimise trans epidermal water loss where water is lost from the skin and all of these steps will help to reduce this. Just be careful not to overload with too many heavy products (this is another reason why cleansing and exfoliating properly are so vital). 

Treat the skin

Using a hydrating mask a couple of times a week will not only feel like a real treat for your skin, it will provide a hit of much needed nourishment. Choose a hydrating mask instead of more clay based masks. Although if you do have oily, spot prone skin, apply a clay mask first and then follow straight afterwards with a hydrating one. It's quite common for oily skin to be dehydrated too. I often apply a mask and either get some chores done around the house whilst it's doing its magic or simply sit with a cup of tea before washing the excess off.

Other considerations

Avoid products containing alcohol

Avoid any products which contain large amounts of alcohol. When checking the ingredient listings you really don't want alcohol as one of the first on the list. There is an exception to this with exfoliating acids where alcohol is used to keep the formula stable.

Lip Balm


Don’t forget your lips. Keep a balm in your bag, on your desk, in your car for ease of application throughout the day and many brands offer lip masks which are richer and are ideal for overnight use.

Don't forget body care too

Don't forget to look after the skin on your body in addition to your face. This can become dry, itchy and generally more sensitive during the winter.

Opt for gentle body washes that don't contain harsh detergents such as Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS). This is used as a foaming agent and has the potential to irritate the skin.

Or choose a bath or shower oil instead. These are wonderfully comforting on the skin. Try not to have your shower or bath water too hot and if you can stand it blast your body with cold water at the end of your shower even if it’s just for a few seconds.

Gently exfoliate once or twice a week to remove dry dead skin cells which will allow body moisturisers to absorb more effectively.

Moisturise every day after showering or bathing. If you are short on time choose a body oil as these often absorb quicker than a cream or lotion.

Apply a rich hand cream before bed. If your hands are particularly dry apply another layer once the first has absorbed. Try to apply a lighter cream throughout the day and remember to exfoliate your hands a couple of times a week too. This will help dry skin enormously.

Key ingredients to look for

Ceramides - These naturally occur within our skin but skincare that contains ceramides will contribute to moisturising and preserving the protective barrier.

Hyaluronic acid and Glycerin - These are examples of humectants which work by attracting moisture from the air around us into the skin or keeping water from escaping from the skin. They are amazing sources of hydration.

Squalene and fatty acids - These are emollients which cover the skin with a protective barrier. They also help to reinforce the skins natural barrier.


Water & Supplements


Water - Don't forget to drink it. Even though it's cold we still need to keep our bodies hydrated and look after our skin (and everything else) from the inside. I find the easiest way to drink the required amount is to carry a water bottle around with me which I drink two or three times over during the day.


Supplements - Opt for omega 3 oils to support your skin from the inside. If you've never taken these before check with a healthcare professional first. You can include these in your diet too in the form of salmon, mackerel, walnuts, chia seeds, spinach, eggs, tofu, brussels sprouts, tuna, green leafy vegetables and avocados to name a few.

Perfumery & Company have an extensive range of skin and body care products which are perfect for winter time. I’ll show case a few within this blog but do pop into their stores, visit their website or give them a call. Being an independent business you are guaranteed to receive impartial advice tailored to your specific needs.


Skincare products:


Elemis Pro Collagen Cleansing Balm

All skin types

This is a cleansing treatment balm and by far my favourite on the market. It is Elemis’ best seller and for good reason. It will gently remove make up and sunscreen to leave skin soft, hydrated and importantly not greasy. It’s mineral oil free and contains Mimosa and Rose waxes infused with Elderberry, Starflower and Optimega Oils. I use a tiny amount to clean my face in the evening. I warm it in my hands, take in a few deep breaths (it smells like a spa in a jar) and apply to dry skin, massaging in circular motions. Remove with a warm flannel. It is a pleasure to use.


Other cleansing balms to try:

The Organic Pharmacy Refillable Carrot Butter Cleanser

Neals Yard Frankincense Intense Cleansing Melt

Elemis Superfood glow Cleansing Butter

Neals Yard Wild Rose Beauty Balm


Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Wash

All skin types

One of my go to morning facial washes or for a second cleanse in the evening. It’s a skin smoothing cleanser with a gel/light cream texture. It contains a patented formula of enzymes and antioxidants which gently exfoliate and remove dirt and pollutants leaving the skin brighter and smoother. It won’t disrupt the protective barrier on the surface of our skin either.

Massage one pump into dry or damp skin, add a little water and continue to massage and then remove with a warm flannel. Always apply sunscreen when using resurfacing products.


Other facial washes to try:

Elemis Pro-Collagen Energising Marine Cleanser

The Organic Pharmacy Rose Facial Cleansing Gel

Elemis Superfood Facial Wash

Clarins Total Cleansing Oil


Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Pads

These are skin smoothing pads which remove the dry dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. They deliver a measured dose of Elemis’ Tri Enzyme technology containing lactic acid and probiotic ferment complex to gently exfoliate the skin. Which in turn speeds up the skins natural turn over. This complex dissolving the glue that binds the dead skin cells together.  They can also reduce the appearance of pores and uneven skin texture and tone. There are no particles like a traditional exfoliator and are super quick and easy to use.

Use one pad and sweep over the face and neck avoiding the eye area. No need to rinse. Elemis suggest using every day morning and evening but I would suggest starting with once or twice a week. These pads are perfect for prepping the skin for moisture. They will allow serums and moisturisers and facial spritz to do their job on the skin. Always apply sunscreen when using resurfacing products.


Other exfoliators to try:

Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel

The Organic Pharmacy Four Acid Peel


Elemis Superfood Multi Mist

All skin types

My absolute favourite facial spritz/mist. A 4 in 1 facial mist. This effectively hydrates, tones, primes skin ready for makeup and sets make up. I love it! Containing antioxidant rich coconut water, Rooibos Tea and vegan Kefir ferment. It will also soothe and give skin a dewy finish. If your face is feeling parched after a cold winter walk or from cosying up near an open fire or central heating this is a quick way to feed the skin with a hit of hydration at any time of day. Close eyes and spray onto the face.


Other mists to try:

The Organic Pharmacy Rose Facial Spritz

Neals Yard Frankincense Hydrating Facial Mist


Elemis Superfood Priming Moisturiser

All skin types

This is an award winning illuminating moisturiser which I adore. It brightens, hydrates and nourishes. It is subtly tinted and therefore provides an incredible glow to any skin tone. It’s packed full of nutrients to energise and nourish. It can be worn as a moisturiser, over a moisturiser as an extra layer or under make up as a primer. It can even be used as a highlighter on the cheekbones, bridge of the nose and cupids bow.

Apply a pea sized amount every morning after cleansing/shaving.


Other moisturisers/illuminators to try:

The Organic Pharmacy Tinted Beauty

Elemis SOS Emergency Cream

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream for Men

Clarins Blue Orchid Facial Oil

Elemis Superfood Day Cream & Night Creams

Clarins Calm Essential Soothing Emulsion


Body care


Elemis Skin Nourishing Shower Cream

For all skin types

This is an extremely gentle but luxurious wash delivered in a cream consistency which washes, conditions and softens the skin. It can be used in the shower (You will use less if you apply it to a sponge) or pour directly under running water in the bath to create a sumptuous bath experience. The best way I can describe the fragrance is like a soft comfort blanket. It’s not overpowering, is perfect for morning and evening and will not influence any fragrance you apply afterwards. A great product to keep the skin on our body from feeling dry and flaky.


Clarins Moisture Rich Body Lotion

For all skin types

This incredible body lotion contains shea butter which is a complete winner for me. This means that it is super moisturising and nourishing. It’s as rich as some body creams but it’s consistency is more like a balm and therefore absorbs quickly into the skin. The fragrance isn’t overpowering so, like the Elemis Shower Cream, it will not interfere with your fragrance. This is a quick and easy way to keep the skin on your body hydrated every day. But remember to exfoliate once or twice a week so that your skin can truly benefit from this gorgeous lotion.

By building a skincare wardrobe containing different products for different issues, concerns and seasons, you can choose what to layer onto your face to keep it comfortable and at its best. So remember, during these colder months layer up your skincare much like you would your clothes. Look at your skin, feel your skin, is it drinking up the products you are applying? If so, apply a little more. This process will allow dry, dehydrated or irritated skin the ideal environment to heal, feel comfortable and glow. Which is just what we are seeking to do.


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How the Perimenopause & Menopause can change our skin

How the Perimenopause & Menopause can change our skin


How getting our skincare on point can help us to feel a little bit more ‘Meno-poised’

Perimenopause and menopause are massive life events for women. Seen as a taboo until very recently, discussions and awareness are thankfully welcomed more now than they have ever been. Yet these changes are still misunderstood, misdiagnosed and sometimes ignored. I am a Menopause Coach and my aim is to pass on some sound advice. If you are suffering right now or think you are at the beginning of this journey I want to empower you to recognise what is happening within your own bodies. Providing some confidence to seek help from your GP or a health specialist. Plus if you are reading this but not affected by the menopause personally I hope to arm you with some useful knowledge to be able to understand and support others around you.


In this article I’m going to talk about the difference between perimenopause and menopause. I’ll also discuss some of the changes we may experience in our skin and what we can do to alleviate these.


Almost every women will go through these changes which arecaused by long term hormone deficiencies. Ultimately, it’s when we stop having periods because our ovaries stop producing eggs and, as a consequence, our hormone levels of oestrogen and progesterone fall. But this is generally not a smooth transition because our hormones fluctuate rather than fall steadily causing all sorts of issues. It’s really important to say that we must recognise it’s not just women in their forties and fifties that will experience this. Those who are non-binarythat were female at birth, trans men who haven’t gone through gender re-assignment surgery, anyone who has had a hysterectomy (uterus removal) and/or oophorectomy (ovary removal) and in rare cases teenagers and even children can also experience these symptoms.


Research has shown that one third of perimenopausal and menopausal women in the UK wait at least a year to receive treatment for their symptoms and for one in ten it takes more than nine doctor appointments to make a diagnosis. This is all whilst experiencing a multitude of symptoms which can cause real suffering. Physical and mental health can decline during this time. We shouldn’t have to endure these changes just because it’s a ‘natural’ process that women go through. Withthe appropriate treatments and lifestyle changes it can be effectively managed and quality of life can be improved.


What is Perimenopause?

This is when we are experiencing menopausal symptoms due to hormone changes but we still have our periods. Even if these are changing in frequency and nature. The average age to start having perimenopausal symptoms is around forty five. Although everyone’s experience is different. The perimenopause can last for many months or years and can be a rocky road.



What is Menopause?

In Greek it translates as ‘month’ and ‘cease’ and is when wedon’t have a period for twelve consecutive months. The average age of menopause is fifty one and forty nine for BIPOC  communities (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour). But again this can be different from woman to woman. Most people concentrate on the menopause but it’s the perimenopause beforehand which can be really disruptive.


What is Post Menopause?

The time in our life after the period of twelve consecutive months with no period.


What part do Oestrogen & Progesterone play?

For many of us the hormones oestrogen and progesterone work in synergy to regulate the menstrual cycle and produce eggs. They are preparing our bodies for possible pregnancy every month and we experience a period when pregnancy doesn’t happen. As we approach menopause our ovaries make fewer of these hormones and our fertility decreases. Once we are post menopause we can’t become pregnant. Testosterone also has an important role to play in growth, bone mass and maintenance of the female sexual anatomy. So can cause problems when it too starts to decline.


Oestrogen is a big player in keeping our whole bodies running smoothly, not just our menstrual cycle. It directly effects our immunity, mood, muscles, hair and skin to name just a few. So when it starts to fluctuate during the perimenopause and menopause this leads to a deficiency resulting in a whole host of symptoms.


What are the symptoms?

There isn’t a test available that can give us a definitive diagnosis. If you are not feeling quite like your normal self, ‘out of sorts’, experiencing symptoms you haven’t noticed before I would suggest keeping a diary of your mental and physical health or better still use a menopause app to track what’s going on. There are nearly forty different symptoms associated with this period in our lives. It’s not just hot flushes and feeling a bit cranky! Below are many of them although this isn’t an exhaustive list:


Feeling tense/nervous
Trouble sleeping
Dizziness/feeling faint
Loss of interest in sex
Muscle and joint aches and pains
Difficulty concentrating
Irregular periods
Heart palpitations
Tiredness/lack of energy
Crying frequently
Feeling irritable
Stress incontinence
Skin becomes dry and itchy
Loss of interest in things
Hot flushes
Brittle nails
Numbness in parts of body
Vaginal dryness
Feeling unhappy
Body odour changes
Night sweats
Breathing difficulties
Memory loss
Mood swings
Breast soreness
Changes in body shape and weight gain
Recurrent urinary tract infections
Digestive problems
Hair loss


If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, keep a note of them and read what you can from reliable sources. Make an appointment to see your GP or a health professional armed with your evidence and knowledge.


How does the perimenopause and menopause affect our skin?

Many of us will see the biggest changes to our skin during this time. It may feel tighter, drier, itchier and rougher with a dull appearance. Rosacea and broken capillaries may develop. Fine lines will seem more prominent. We may even see a return of acne or experience it for the first time. Much of this isn’t exclusive to the skin on our face either, changes happen to the skin all over our body.


So why does this happen? Most of the cells in our skin have oestrogen receptors. Oestrogen has four key functions within our skin which, when depleting, will cause changes:


1.Oestrogen produces hyaluronic acid

This is a gel like substance produced just below the skins surface. It’s a natural hydrator and is able to retain water so it’s a real skin superhero. It gives the skin fullness, reducing fine lines and dryness. But as oestrogen declines, so does the production of hyaluronic acid. Therefore our skin finds it harder to retain moisture leaving it dry, dull and scaly. The natural shedding of dry dead skin cells slows right down too. The radiant glow we maybe once had seems to fade away. When skin cells don’t shed effectively skincare products that are applied cannot penetrate effectively and do their job.


Oestrogen stimulates the sebaceous glands

Therefore sebum (oil) is produced to keep the skin nourished and smooth. When this depletes skin becomes drier, scaly and rougher.



Oestrogen also builds collagen

This is a connective tissue that gives skin its strength and structure. When they decrease, stiffen and break apart this results in deeper lines, sagginess and loss of tone.


Oestrogen produces ceramides

Ceramides are a lipid that binds the top layers of the skin together so that it can retain water and protect from irritants.When these decrease the skin finds it harder to hold on to water. Again resulting in drier skin which can become sensitised due to its protective layer being compromised.


It’s been found that oestrogen levels start to decrease in the skin up to ten years before we are fully menopausal. So these symptoms of decreasing moisture and changes to the structure of the skin can creep up on us over a period of time. Testosterone can also wreak havoc by producing excess sebum which can lead to an oilier skin, blemishes and blocked pores. We can also see an increase in facial hair too. The rate in which our skin cells renew slows down massively. But help is at hand, we can tweak our current skincare routines to seepositive results.


What can I do to improve the health of my skin?

There are lots of small changes we can make to see and feel a difference in our skin. Healthy radiant skin is possible whatever our age and no matter what treatment for perimenopause and menopause we decide to take.


Start with reviewing your current skincare routine

Focus on the basics, don’t have an over complicated regime. Choose products that are gentle, nourishing and hydrating by looking for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides and squalene to support the skins natural barrier and moisture. Peptides and retinoids are collagen boosting ingredients and will help to combat loss of firmness and fine lines. Treat skin as ‘maturing’ skin and try to see this as a positive because it is. We are lucky to see our skin change and develop with age, even if it doesn’t seem like it at times.


Choose gentle cleansers such as balms, oils and milks which won’t strip the skin.


Always keep a facial mist to hand. These are wonderful hydrating sprays that you can use any time of day or night.


Opt for serums that contain vitamin C to brighten the complexion and hyaluronic acid to hydrate.


Use a gentle exfoliator to remove dry dead skin cells and encourage new cells to form.


Try not to over use acids and peels such as glycolic or lactic acid. They still have a place in many skincare routines to exfoliate, brighten and stimulate the skin but pare back a little.


Retinoids (vitamin A) are an incredible addition to an evening routine but if you haven’t used them before introduce themgradually. They can make a real difference to the appearance and texture of the skin.


Moisturise with a cream suitable for your skin. Don’t feel you have to use a super rich formulation if your skin isn’t particularly dry. There are lots of different textures to choose from for this age group.


Sunscreen should be a daily staple, even in the winter, and especially after applying retinoid the night before.


Don’t overload the skin with too many thick rich products.  Be mindful of how your skin looks and feels and if it needs more product you can apply it. I always suggest cleansing the face and applying your evening routine products several hours before bed. This way you can then see and feel if you face needs more moisture just before going to bed.


Treat the skin on your body much the same as the skin on your face. You may be experiencing dry, dehydrated, rough, itchy skin as hormone levels fluctuate. Use a gentle shower gel and moisturise daily. Use a gentle body exfoliator once or twice a week to remove dry dead skin cells. You don’t need to use harsh scrubs as this might make the situation worse. Many body care products contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and ceramides etc. So keep your eyes peeled for these if you have particularly dry skin.


Ultimately concentrate on feeding and nourishing the skin. Think of your new skincare routine as a real act of kindness to yourself.


And also think about:


Feeding the skin from the inside

Keeping hydrated with drinking water, feeding our body nutritious gut friendly food and reducing our sugar intake will not only benefit our skin but all systems of the body. A good quality Omega 3 supplement can make a positive impact.Omega 3 are a crucial component of the lipid membrane of skin cells. So this is also a good place to start feeding the skin from the inside out. Check with your GP before taking if you have any concerns.



Don’t treat the skin harshly if you experience spots and blackheads. There is no need to try to strip the skin of oil. This will only create further problems. Treat the area where the spots are rather than the whole face.



Keep a check on moles as it’s more common to find pre-cancerous and cancerous changes at this time.



We are more prone to bruising due to the falling levels of oestrogen but also simply because the skin is thinner.



Our skin is slower to repair and heal as we get older. We don’t have as many growth factors and stem cells to regenerate.



The route of all evil. If we are able to reduce stress in our lives this will have a positive impact on our perimenopause and menopause experience including what happens with our skin.


Below are some handpicked products stocked at Perfumery & Company which are perfect for perimenopausal and menopausal skin. However, they do stock many more items suitable for maturing and hormonal skin so do check out their website or pop in if you are local to them:


Clarins Super Restorative range

This range has been specifically designed for menopausal skin. Like a comfort blanket for the face. The day and night creams have been formulated to our specific needs at these different times of the day, protecting the skins barrier during the day and reactivating the skin cells at night. Containing organic harungana extract which is a tree sap with healing, soothing and revitalising properties. It’s known as one of nature’s retinols so is ideal for skin of this age. This range offers face creams for different skin types. I have been trialling the day and night cream for very dry skin. If your skin isn’t very dry you could opt for the moisturisers for all skin types.


Clarins Super Restorative Day Cream

Suitable for very dry skin (another cream is available in the range for all skin types and has a lighter consistency)

Containing vegetal squalene to rebuild and protect the skin’s natural barrier encouraging a smoother surface texture. What I love about this cream is that even though it’s for a very dry skin it isn’t too rich. It penetrates effectively into the skin so shouldn’t feel too heavy for someone with dry skin. Apply in the morning onto clean skin after serum. Always take the cream down the neck and onto the chest area.


Clarins Super Restorative Night Cream

Suitable for very dry skin (another cream is available in the range for all skin types and has a lighter consistency)

Along with organic harungana this cream contains a vitamin C derivative to brighten and organic sea lily to improveoverall hydration.  This is a super nourishing cream for dry to very dry skin. Apply in the evening onto clean skin after serums/oils.


Neals Yard Remedies Women’s balance range

This is a body care range featuring a specific blend of essential oils that smell like a spa in a bottle – Rose Absolut, geranium and frankincense that not only nourish parched skin but are clinically proven to bring about balance and harmony to mind and body. A lovely delicate fragrance. This range has been designed specifically for women’s natural cycles and life stages. They are a joy to use and help to relax and calm.


Women’s Balance Shower Oil

Suitable for all skin types

I love a shower oil and this one is no exception. Macadamia and sea buckthorn cleanse and nourish dry, dehydrated skin perfectly. Whilst the unique blend of essential oils definitely brings some calm and balance. Massage into wet skin and see it transform into a milk to provide hours of moisture.


Women’s Balance Massage Oil

Suitable for all skin types

This is a luxurious massage oil to use after a shower on dry skin. Containing the same incredible essential oil blend apply any time to restore feelings of calm. Warm a few drops in your hands and breath in the aroma. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths before massaging in circular motions all over the body. I like to use this in the morning after my shower as it doesn’t leave skin feeling greasy, it sinks in beautifully. But I’ve also used it at night, specifically to give myself a warming foot massage before bed. Remember to gently exfoliate once or twice a week to ensure the massage oil can penetrate effectively.


Body Cream

Suitable for all skin types

Containing hyaluronic acid to intensely moisturise, this rich body cream feels like a real treat to use and is perfect for dry skin. It will keep your body moisturised for up to twenty four hours. It brings immediate relief and comfort to skin that feels parched and itchy leaving it smooth and moisturised. Containing the same spa like fragrance as the rest of the Women’s Balance range, it has definitely formed part of a relaxing bed time ritual for me.


I really hope to have imparted some useful information about this much misunderstood stage of life and shared a few hints and tips on ways to look after your skin through this time.

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Men’s Skin Care Guide

Men’s Skin Care Guide

Firstly, I’d like to preface this blog by saying that men’s skincare is not exclusive to men and what is considered all other skincare is not considered a no no for men either. Choose and use what is best for you and your skin. However, I know that lots of men like to use products specifically designed for men’s skin, and often, for good reason.  Male skin is structurally different to women’s and therefore can benefit from the use of products specifically formulated for them. 


It’s not just the contents of the products that may be different. Packaging and the language used are often distinct too. Functional, easy to use packaging is partnered with language which is much more male orientated.  So instead of ‘anti-ageing’ (which, by the way, is a saying I loathe) a men’s skincare product may say ‘anti-fatigue’ or ‘energising’ for example. These products will encourage skin to feel fresh, give a healthy looking glow whilst providing comfort. And let’s not forget that they can pack a punch when targeting many skincare concerns such as fine lines, blemishes or pigmentation to name a few.


For many men, looking after their skin with a daily skincare routine is a relatively new phenomenon or it has passed them by completely. If we think about the main skincare priorities as a teenager they tend to be getting to grips with shaving and dealing with spots and for many the routine hasn’t changed a great deal. Washing faces with shower gel or shampoo whilst showering has been the norm for some, along with not moisturising or protecting skin from the sun.  The great thing is that, if this sounds like you or someone close to you, there are small changes which can make a real difference to the look and feel of the skin without costing the earth or taking hours to do. The tables are turning full speed because lots of men take their skincare seriously and the choice available now is better than ever. Our skin is the largest organ of the body, performing a multitude of functions, and as such needs a good deal of looking after.


I’ve written lots of blogs for Perfumery & Company and all are relevant to men’s skin so grab your favourite drink, find a comfy spot and have a read. I share lots of hints and tips about our skin, products to incorporate into your morning and evening routine plus the best type of products to choose and why. Within this blog I will be running through the differences between men’s and women’s skin, a little about skin types and conditions, plus the best ways of caring for your skin with a effective and efficient routine.


So how is men’s skin different to women’s skin?


A thicker skin

Testosterone causes an increase in skin thickness, resulting in a man’s skin being about 25% thicker than a woman’s. It is also tougher in texture too. So products need to be able to successfully penetrate those thicker upper skin layers.


Two facial zones

Men’s faces can be divided into two areas. The beard area from cheek bones down the neck which is well served by oil glands and benefits from their natural, age-protective action. Whereas the facial area, above the beard, may experience fine lines and wrinkles, especially around the eyes and fore head. Both areas may need to be treated differently. Above the beard men’s concerns are often similar to women’s.


Increased sebum production

Sebum (oil) production is greater too which tends to mean male skin is oilier and, in some cases, more prone to long lasting acne.  But this can also be an advantage as it might not show signs of ageing as much as a drier skin.


Hair growth

An obvious one but due to this fact there is an increased risk of ingrown hairs. This is where, instead of the hair growing out of the skin, it grows back on itself within the skin layers. This causes lumps, bumps, boils and general irritation. Shaving is a big cause of this problem.  


Higher collagen density

I think it is totally unfair that men have a higher collagen density than women! So with this in mind men’s skin generally doesn’t age at the rate that women’s does. However, where many men let themselves down is that they don’t use sunscreens so this ‘skin age gap’ is often not noticeable because sun damage causes premature ageing which outweighs the slower natural ageing.


Possible irritation

The nature of shaving means that every time shaving happens it’s an intensive form of exfoliation. The benefit of this is that it can give the appearance of a youthful skin but it can certainly heighten sensitivity and irritation including ingrown hairs and lumps and bumps.


What type of skin do you have?


Firstly, it’s important to try to identify and understand your own skin type as this will help you to care for it in the best way by choosing the correct products. This will also mean that you won’t waste money buying items that aren’t right for your skin.


Is your skin:


Normal/balanced skin

Clear with no issues or sensitivities. Unfortunately hardly anyone has this type of skin apart from babies and young children.


Dry skin

Can appear and feel flaky, itchy, rough with an uneven surface texture. Skin pores may be hard to see.


Oily skin

Tends to be shiny and greasy, with possible spots and blemishes and obvious looking pores.


Combination skin

This is where some areas (usually the cheek areas) are dry whilst other areas (perhaps the nose, chin and forehead) are oily. This will often happen if the protective layer on the surface of the skin is being stripped because a product is being applied that is too harsh. This can therefore create an imbalance of the skins natural pH level. For example, using shampoo or shower gel or a harsh abrasive soap to wash the face.


What’s the condition of your skin like?


Skin conditions are in addition to your skin type. They can come and go. So when considering what your skin is like think about the following - Do you suffer with any sensitivity, for example, redness or rashe? Or perhaps your skin is dehydrated. If you pinch your skin between two fingers and notice fine lines chances are it’s in need of hydration. If you apply product and it soaks into your skin straight away or your skin has a dull appearance these could also be signs of dehydration. Maybe you have pigmentation on areas of your face. This is where the colour is not even and you may have darker patches. This is usually caused by sun damage. If you have patches of redness mainly on the cheek or nose area this could be an indication of rosacea. These are some of the most common skin conditions.  And there are skincare products suitable for each of these.


So what can you do to look after your skin in the best way?


The basic elements of an effective skin care plan remain the same between men and women. But I’ve outlined here what a typical routine might look like for a guy, including shaving tips.


Pre Shave


Clean the face with a gentle facial wash or balm. This can be done in the shower or at the sink. Massage the product into dry skin and massage into the face, add a little water to give it some slip and remove with a warm flannel. This will not only remove excess oil, bacteria, pollution and sweat etc but it will also prepare the skin for shaving by warming the surface and lifting the hairs. Try not to use really hot water on the face as this can be an irritant.  Cleanse your face morning and evening plus after exercise.



Exfoliating the skin will encourage removal of dry dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. Not only will this aid shaving, making it easier for the razor to glide, it will also lift hairs ready for shaving and brighten and energise the skins appearance. By exfoliating each week you will also find that you don’t need to apply as much of the products you subsequently apply, for example, a moisturiser as it will be able to penetrate the upper skin layers much more effectively. Exfoliators are products that contain tiny particles. When massaged onto the skin they create a light friction which buffs away the dead skin cells. This only needs to be done a couple of times a week.



If you struggle with shaving you could invest in a shaving oil. Massage it into the skin before shaving. This encourages the hairs to lift and improves razor glide. All whilst helping to keep the skin moisturised minimising razor burn and rashes. You could use any number of facial oils for this. It doesn’t have to be a specific shaving oil. You could use the oil as your shaving product alone or apply it under a shaving gel or cream. This will moisturise and comfort the skin. It’s also a great skin buffer as many cheaper foams and gels will dry out the skin. If you can, choose the best quality products you can afford. Ones that are skincare led because they are specifically designed to calm the skin and provide comfort whilst delivering results.


Post Shave

Toners/Facial Spritz

Dry your face after shaving and then spritz the face with a toner or facial mist. Either spray directly onto face or on a cotton pad. Done every day after shaving will instantly cool the skin and prepare it for moisture. Really try to avoid traditional splash-on aftershaves which are heavily alcohol based. They will send you through the roof if you splash them onto your face directly after a shave. The alcohol can be extremely drying on the skin and sting like crazy. There are much kinder products to choose from.


Eye products

If signs of fatigue or dryness are a concern around your eyes then an eye cream or gel would be advantageous. Apply an amount the same size as a grain of rice to each eye with your ring fingers, being careful not to press too hard. Less is definitely more. If you are tempted to slather it on you may end up with puffy eyes and wasted product.



Serums are where the magic really happens. They are usually packed full of active ingredients which will give your skin a really boost and freshen the face. They tend to be of a light consistency so are easily absorbed. There are serums for all sorts of concerns including tired, dull skin, to increase cell turnover, dehydration, pigmentation, fine lines.  Massage a small amount on your face and neck after cleansing, toning and applying an eye product.



A moisturiser will soothe and bring comfort to the skin whilst keeping it hydrated. It’s an important step no matter what your skin type. There are oil free versions for oily or blemished skin and rich nourishing formulations for drier skin plus everything in between.  Massage moisturiser in after each of the previous steps.


SPF – Sun Protection Factor

Sun cream should be applied every day no matter what the weather. The harmful UV rays can even penetrate clouds and glass. Apart from helping to protect our skin against cancer, a sun cream will slow down signs of ageing such as fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation. Opt for factor 50 if you can and don’t go below factor 30. Apply two finger lengths full of cream for the face and another for the scalp if you are bald. Don’t forget your ears and the back of your neck. Apply before leaving home in the morning and reapply frequently. Wear every day even when it isn’t sunny. This is where a lot of guys undo all of the excellent benefits of having a higher collagen density. That healthy skin can very easily get negatively impacted by the sun. For best protection choose a broad spectrum sun cream which will protect against UVA rays (the ageing rays) and UVB rays (the burning rays).


Check the sun protection blog for more info and recommendations.


Face Masks

Face masks area a great way to instantly treat a skin concern, whether that be skin that looks tired and dull, dehydrated, excess oiliness, sensitivity or spots to name a few. These are mostly applied to the skin and left on for a few minutes before being removed with a flannel and water. They can give a natural looking glow, boost hydration or soothe sensitised or decongest skin.


Aftershaves, fragrance, colognes

Spritz these on arms, chest and back of the neck. Avoid the face, it’s not necessary. A word of warning - don’t use fragrance before sunbathing as it may cause pigmentation and increase skin sensitivity. Save your fragrance for afterwards.


Make up

I know it’s not for everyone but don’t rule out make up. There are some incredible tinted moisturisers and under eye concealers available and they are a subtle way of giving a healthy glow. Tinted moisturiser can even out skin tone whilst concealers with light reflecting particles can lift the eyes and help cover dark circles.


So, if all of this is new to you or you are wanting to switch up how you currently look after your skin, this blog is giving your permission to nurture your skin and in turn look after yourself in a small way. Your skin will thank you for it!


Below is a handpicked selection of some of the products available at Perfumery & Company (but remember to check back to earlier blogs for a wider selection). These would all make perfect gifts too:



Clarins Active Face Wash

Suitable for all skin types (including dry)

This is a gentle and comforting wash which effectively removes dirt, oil, sweat and pollutants whilst soothing razor burn.

Apply a small amount of this light gel to palms of hands and add some water to create a creamy foam. Then massage onto wet skin using light circular movements. Remove with cold water or a flannel soaked in cold water and pat skin dry. Use morning and night.


Neals Yard Remedies For Men Purifying Face Wash

Suitable for all skin types (especially oily/combination)

This is an energizing and aromatic face wash. Very efficient in removing daily build-up of impurities on the skin.

Massage this gel into skin, making sure to get in all of the nooks and crannies around the nose area, rinse with warm water and gently towel dry face. Use morning and night.


Grown Alchemist Gentle Gel Facial Cleanser

Suitable for all skin types (including sensitive)

A calming, delicately fragranced, gel which transforms into a light milk consistency that cleans without stripping. A beautiful blend of botanical extracts which leave the skin feeling fresh and clean.

Apply to dry skin and massage in circular movements whilst adding some water to create a light foam. Wash off with warm water before patting skin dry with a towel. Use morning and night.


None of these cleansers will create lots of bubbles and neither would you want them to as lots of lather can often be quite drying on the skin. If your skin is particularly dry you could opt for a cleansing balm such as the Elemis Pro Collagen Cleansing Balm. This is an incredible product.


Check the cleansing blog for more recommendations



Clarins Fresh Scrub

Suitable for all skin types (including dry)

A refreshing creamy facial scrub containing tiny particles of natural wood cellulose to effectively remove dry dead skin cells from the surface of the skin and lift hairs in preparation for shaving. Skin will feel smoother and softer.

Once skin has been cleaned apply a small amount to face with water, gentle massage around (avoiding eye area) and rinse thoroughly. Use up to three times a week after cleansing and before shaving.


Neals Yard Remedies For Men Revitalising Face Scrub

Suitable for all skin types (especially oily or combination)

Clay draws out impurities whilst ground rice and rosehip seeds buff away dry dead skin cells.

Massage into wet skin (avoiding eye area) and rinse with warm water. The particles are bigger in this scrub compared to the Clarins scrub so it may be better for oily, combination skin that isn’t sensitive rather than dry or sensitive skin.


Exfoliators are only for use two to three times a week. Not every day.


Check the exfoliating blog for more recommendations



Neals Yard Remedies For Men Close Shave Cream

Suitable for all skin types

This is a non-lathering cream which softens stubble whilst soothing skin. It’s a pleasure to use as it aids razor glide.

Wet face and massage into skin before shaving. Use this after cleaning the face (and after exfoliating on days that you exfoliate). Remove any excess with warm or cold water and pat skin dry with a towel. A little goes a long way so this tube will last quite a while.


Remember to check out the facial oils available as these can be a great addition to your shaving routine and will not make skin oilier.


Check the facial oil blog for recommendations



Grown Alchemist Balancing Toner

Suitable for all skin types

A toner is a gem within your shaving and skincare routine. Removing any last remnants of shaving product, balancing and comforting the skin and refining the appearance of open pores. It will effectively refresh, invigorate and soothe the skin.

Apply after shaving by either applying a few drops into the palms of your hands and pressing onto the face and neck or applying directly onto a cotton pad and sweeping over the face.  Use in the morning after shaving and in the evening after cleansing.


Check the toner blog for more recommendations


Eye products:

Clarins Energizing Eye Gel

Suitable for all skin types

A wonder product that will visibly revive tired eyes whilst delivering a hit of hydration. If you experience puffy eyes or just generally have tired heavy eyes this will revitalise the delicate eye area. The ball applicator dispenses the cooling gel onto the skin and helps the eye area to feel rested.

Apply after toning morning and evening.


Check the eye product blog for more recommendations



Grown Alchemist Instant Smoothing Serum

Suitable for all skin types (including sensitive)

Serums usually contain the most active ingredients compared to other skincare products. This is where you are most likely to see results/changes in our skin. This is the perfect product for combating fine dehydration lines on the face and neck, to smooth the surface and improve skins appearance. Think of a serum as a skin boost.

Apply this in the morning and/or evening after your eye product.


Check the serum blog for other recommendations



Elemis Pro-Collagen Marin Cream For Men

Suitable for all skin types

If you are looking for a typically masculine fragrance this is for you. It’s an incredible cream marketed as an anti-wrinkle moisturiser. Light in texture, absorbs effortlessly and delivers a much needed hit of moisture which all skin types need. It’s rich enough for dry skin whilst being light enough to absorb into more oily or combination skin types without being greasy or shiny. It gives the skin a real glow and smooth texture. A really effective cream.

Apply a pea sized amount morning and evening onto the face and neck after your serum.


Clarins Super Moisture Lotion

Suitable for all skin types (especially oily, combination and normal)

This is a lightweight delicately fragranced moisturiser that leaves a matte finish on the skin so doesn’t feel tacky or greasy. It provides much needed hydration to the skin leaving it smooth and supple.

Even though it contains an SPF20 I would still urge you to use a separate sun cream as, in my opinion, a sun cream within a moisturiser means that you would have to use a huge amount of the moisturiser to obtain the right amount of protection from the sun.

Apply in the mornings after your serum. Do not apply in the evening due to the SPF which will just be sitting on the skin whilst you sleep. Apply a different moisturiser in the evening.


Clarins Super Moisture Balm

Suitable for all skin types (especially normal and dry)

This has more slip that the lotion without being greasy. Perfect for drier skin types. Like the lotion it provides hydration to the skin helping it to feel more comfortable and healthy. This one doesn’t contain an SPF for sun protection which is no bad thing as a specific sun cream applied over the top of your moisturiser is much more effective.

Apply morning and evening after your serum.


Neals Yard Remedies For Men Age-Defying Moisturiser

Suitable for all skin types

This is a light and aromatic cream which can be applied to the eye area too. Just dot a small amount around the eyes (not too close to the lashes) and gently dab with your ring finger until it is absorbed. It will leave the skin looking rested, smooth and supple.

Apply to clean skin morning and evening after your serum. Don’t forget your neck!


L’Occitane L’Occitan After Shave Balm

Suitable for all skin types

A beautiful light balm with a typically masculine fragrance. A little definitely goes a long way and leaves a lovely sheen on the skin without feeling tacky. It has perfect hydrating and soothing ingredients to nourish the skin. Whilst anti-inflammatory properties ease skin from any irritation and tightness caused by shaving.

Apply to face and neck after serum morning and evening.


Grown Alchemist Hydra Repair Day Cream

Suitable for all skin types (including oily, combination and sensitive)

This is a nourishing, non-greasy light cream which is effective at leaving the skin smooth, soothed and healthy looking. It provides a good hit of hydration to feed the skin with what it needs.

Apply to face and neck morning and evening after serum.


If you spend a lot of time outside for work, exercise or hobbies a moisturiser and a sun cream are a must to protect against the effects of the sun, wind, cold and general elements and pollution.


Check the moisturiser blog for more recommendations


If you aren’t looking for a comprehensive regimen but would like to get started I would recommend the following products as being excellent staples (alongside your shaving products) They would be applied to the face in this order:


Cleanser (Morning & Evening)

Exfoliator (Two to three times a week after cleansing face in the morning)

Serum/Moisturiser (Morning & Evening)

SPF- Sun cream (Morning only)

Really consider investing in a serum as this is where the magic really happens


Everyone at Perfumery & Company are on hand to help and provide a level of service you don’t see in larger stores. I really hope this blog has been helpful.

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Body Care Spring Clean

Body Care Spring Clean

Normally at this time of year many of us are spring cleaning our homes, or perhaps our routines, relationships or finances. The weather is brighter and warmer and there is often an air of hope and optimism. But what else might we spring clean? I’ve written over ten blogs for Perfumery & Company about the skin on our faces and how best to look after it. But how about the skin on the rest of our bodies? Do you look after it as well as your facial skin? In my experience most of us don’t. Skincare routines for the face can be well established but these often stop at the neck. So during this blog I’m going to focus on our body skin and explain why now is the perfect time to start giving it a ‘spring clean’ if it’s been a little neglected.  

I would like to say at this point that this article isn’t about focusing on perceived ‘imperfections’ and looking for ways to change our appearance. Our bodies are amazing. They allow us to do so many different things and, importantly, we only have the one. We should be celebrating what we have and learn to feel comfortable in our own skin. Don’t fall into the trap of panicking about getting your body ‘beach ready’ in preparation for a holiday. I hate this saying as it creates so much pressure to look a certain way. Let’s show ourselves some love and attention. After all our skin is the largest organ of the body and as such needs support like any other organ. So if you are someone who has neglected your body, fear not, I’m here to show you some quick and easy ways to mindfully connect with your body through the use of body care products. These steps can be done all year round to encourage smooth, hydrated and glowing skin. The textures, fragrances and massage application play a large part in positively boosting our mood. But the benefits don’t stop there. These techniques will also stimulate some of our body’s internal systems, such as our lymphatic system. This is responsible for detoxification, almost like a spring clean. But more on that later.


Firstly let’s look at the main differences between facial and body skin:


Skin thickness: Skin is thicker on our body, compared to our face and it’s typically not as sensitive. The fat layer under the skin is thicker too. But our hands and feet have the densest skin, allowing for more resilience. However, this often results in increased dryness.


Dryness: The skin on our body has less sebaceous glands than our face. These naturally produce oil to keep skin soft and supple. So dryness tends to be more of a concern for many of us.


Skin cell turnover rate: The rate at which our skin cells turnover in the skin on our body is slower than on our face. It takes longer for skin cells to naturally renew, so the dry dead ones can hang around for longer which means that skin can appear and feel drier, more dull, thicker and have a scale like appearance.

 So what are my top body care habits?


  • Washing with a gentle body wash or oil every day
  • Dry body brushing once or twice a week
  • Gently exfoliating twice a week
  • Massaging in a body oil/cream/lotion/gel every day

 But the following are also extremely beneficial and should be part of our routines:

  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Moving our body every day
  • Limiting our alcohol and sugar intake
  • Eating the rainbow (a well-balanced colourful diet)
  • Getting good quality sleep
  • Trying cold showers (I turn my shower to cold right at the end but only last for about fifteen seconds!)


During this blog I will focus on dry body brushing, along with applying exfoliators and oils for the body. You’ll find several hero products featured here which you can find in store and online. These products are incredible and can be used on a regular basis. I urge you not to save products for ‘best’. I’ve spoken to numerous people who say ‘Oh it’s too good to use or too expensive to open” and they either never get round to using it or it’s out of date when they finally do. My advice is to use that beautiful body cream you were given for your birthday or that luxurious body oil you bought yourself but regretted. Invest in yourself, you are worth it!


A quick word about our lymphatic system


This is a subsidiary circulatory system entwined with the blood circulation and is responsible for filtering toxins in our body. It delivers fluid and nutrients around the body as it drains excess fluid from tissues and helps to fight infection. It’s our body’s way of spring cleaning itself all year round. The trouble is that it doesn’t have its own pump, like the heart does.  So in order for it to be stimulated and work effectively it relies on muscle movement, deep breathing and massage, to name a few. However, many of us will experience an impaired lymphatic system. Symptoms can be swelling of the ankles, feet and fingers, dehydrated and/or dry skin, sallow and tired looking skin, skin that is slow to heal, fine lines, loss of resilience and bounce and blemishes that take a long time to heal.


Dry body brushing and taking time to massage body care products into the skin will help muscles to relax, allowing lymphatic vessels to open and aid drainage. By taking deep breaths at the same time lymph flow will be stimulated which will also aid drainage. So by mindfully connecting with our bodies when we are using body care products means we are supporting the body’s way of spring cleaning itself. Other activities which will stimulate the system and encourage healing are walking, swimming or aqua aerobics for twenty minutes a day and elevating legs for twenty minutes at the end of the day or after long periods of standing or sitting to encourage a boost in circulation. Drinking plenty of water and reducing our salt intake are also a must.


The amazing benefits of Dry Body Brushing


I recommend body brushing to everyone. It’s such a quick, easy and cheap way to improve the look and feel of the skin whilst stimulating the lymphatic system. If you’ve not heard of body brushing before, it’s when we use a brush designed specifically for the body on dry skin.

  • It’s incredibly invigorating (Although don’t be tempted to use a body brush on the face, otherwise you’ll be rocking a red raw complexion!).
  • It will slough away dry dead skin cells on the surface of the skin and encourage the regeneration of new ones, leaving the skin soft and supple.
  • It will increase circulation to bring nutrient rich freshly oxygenated blood to the skins surface for better tone and elasticity.
  • It helps the body to metabolise toxins efficiently and discourages water retention.
  • By improving the circulation it encourages cell turnover and plumps the skin making cellulite appear less obvious. However this is only a temporary fix. (Cellulite is stubborn but is also completely natural).
  • It encourages ingrown hairs to lift up and keeps clogged pores at bay.
  • Overall it is a huge stress reliever and it only takes a few minutes.


How to do it:

  • Dry body brush in the morning before your shower (if you prefer a shower at night try to do it a couple of hours before bed otherwise it will be too invigorating and may not be conducive to a good night’s sleep).
  • Both skin and brush should be dry when you use it.
  • Start at the feet and ankles and use short sweeping motions in an upwards direction. Brush over legs (including the back of both knees), buttocks, arms (including wrists) and back. The stomach and chest area are usually more sensitive so go gently and avoid the breast and nipple area. Always move the brush in the direction of your heart and Don’t go over the same area more than a couple of times.
  • Don’t brush too hard, it shouldn’t scratch, hurt, burn or sting. Skin will have a pink appearance but it shouldn’t be red. It will feel tingly and alive.
  • Once finished take a shower. I challenge you to turn the temperature to cold for the last few seconds. I promise that you will feel amazing afterwards.
  • Pat skin dry and be sure to moisturise afterwards to prevent dryness. If using an oil apply to damp skin to maximise the benefits.
  • Clean your brush regularly according to the cleaning instructions.
  • B. Don’t dry body brush over eczema, psoriasis, rashes, wounds, sunburn, irritations or any severe skin condition.


*Perfumery & Co have Elemis body brushes available to order in store/via the phone.


Why do we need to Exfoliate?

You can moisturise your skin every single day but it will only have a minimal benefit if we don’t dry body brush or exfoliate to remove the natural build-up of dry dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. Once these are removed, any product subsequently applied will be able to penetrate more effectively and you won’t need to use as much of it. Otherwise anything you apply will just sit on the surface. Unless you have eczema, psoriasis, a severe skin condition or any of the other reasons previously mentioned you can exfoliate gently at least twice a week. This will speed up cell turnover by mimicking the skins natural shedding to reveal smoother brighter skin. The same application principles apply when using a body exfoliator as with body brushing although I always include my feet and hands too.


*Some of Perfumery & Co’s top body exfoliator picks are:


Elemis Sea Lavender & Samphire Salt Scrub

All skin types

This is a gentle but highly effective exfoliator. It has an incredible unisex fragrance which is so uplifting and invigorating. It is the perfect way to start the day. The particles are sea salt which brings about smooth and soft skin. Sea Lavender has been proven to deliver hydration to the skin and is known to be rich in antioxidants which help to protect the skin. Samphire has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. Effective at supporting the skins natural moisture barrier which often gets compromised. It is a gel like texture which is super easy to use.

Apply a pea sized amount to damp skin using circular motions before rinsing off. I sometimes apply it straight onto dry skin if I feel my skin needs it i.e. during the colder months or after I have been on a summer holiday.


Neals Yard Remedies Wild Rose Body Polish

All skin types

This is a certified organic product which is a pleasure to use. It has the most beautiful rose fragrance which is left lingering on the skin. Crushed organic wild rosehip seeds are mixed into a creamy texture which is really gentle on the skin and very hydrating. Skin is left soft and moisturised. I often use this on my hands and feet too.

Massage into damp skin using circular motions before rinsing.


Clarins Exfoliating Body Scrub

All skin types

Natural bamboo powders gently exfoliate whilst shea butter moisturises and nourishes the skin leaving it feeling smooth. This cream exfoliator is so easy to use and has a very subtle fragrance which wouldn’t interfere with any products subsequently applied.

Massage  into dry or damp skin. I prefer to apply this one to dry skin whilst standing in the shower before I turn the water on.


Neals Yard Remedies Geranium & Orange Body Scrub

All skin types

This is a hardworking buttery salt scrub suspended in organic soybean oil and olive fruit oil which leaves the skin soft and supple. It’s enriched with nourishing shea nut butter and is therefore particularly good for rough dry areas such as hands, feet, knees, elbows, tops of arms and thighs. Perfect if you are a keen gardener etc. Citrus and geranium essential oils create a subtle but refreshing fragrance suitable for anyone. Due to the high salt content don’t use this on freshly shaven or broken skin. Some exfoliators are most effective when used on dry or damp skin before stepping into the stream of water in the shower. But I suggest scooping this out onto wet skin to give it more slip as the particles are quite sizeable.


*All of these scrubs are designed for use on the body massaging in circular motions. Always choose a specific facial exfoliator for use on the face. I don’t advice using one for the body on the face. Be sure to apply gentle pressure. Don’t be tempted to go at it as though you are sanding a rough piece of wood!

Body Moisturising

These deliver a surge of moisture and nourishment to the skin. It helps to restore the hydrolipidic film on the surface of the skin to prevent further moisture loss. Aim to moisturise every day either in the morning after a shower or in the evening before bed (leaving enough time for the product to sink in before going to bed. Otherwise your sheets will feel the benefit rather than your skin!). If you are regularly body brushing or exfoliating you will find that you won’t need to use as much product as you were previously so you may not need to replenish them quite as often. I love to have a choice of products at home – sometimes I use a lotion, sometimes an oil, other times a cream. It depends on how I am feeling and what my body needs. Oils are my favourite as they tend to absorb quickly and leave my skin the smoothest. Always moisturise after body brushing and exfoliating and massage in firmly using circular motions all over (paying particular attention to dry areas such as elbows, heels and knees). On the mornings I body brush or exfoliate I always allow a couple of extra minutes to apply an oil, lotion or cream straight afterwards to nourish the skin effectively. Perfumery & Co have many body moisturisers where the textures and fragrances will lift your spirits whilst delivering results. I am putting the spotlight on body oils.

 *Some of Perfumery & Co’s top body oil picks:

 The Organic Pharmacy Detox Body Oil

All skin types

This has such an invigorating blend of oils including juniper, fennel, eucalyptus and rosemary. Perfect for application in the mornings to deliver a shot of energy and moisture. This lightweight oil has been clinically proven to increase the skins moisture and elasticity after being applied once a day for a month. I’m always a bit dubious about products that claim to improve tone but I’ve definitely noticed the elasticity of my skin improve.

Either apply directly onto damp skin after a shower or, as The Organic Pharmacy suggest,  spray directly onto your dry body brush and then apply in long upward sweeping strokes towards the heart before showering. 


Clarins Contour Treatment Oil

All skin types

I am a huge fan of Clarins facial and body oils. They never disappoint. This is a lightweight oil developed to strengthen the skin. It has a beautiful spa like fragrance comprising of essential oils of geranium, lemon and bitter orange tree and is always a joy to massage in. It is marvellous at reducing the feeling of heavy legs which many of us get if we stand or sit for long periods. I can see that my skin is well hydrated and the elasticity is better.

This is designed to be used before a cold shower in the evening. This would be the best time to do it if you suffer with heavy legs. But for me, I have found that it is more convenient to use in the morning on damp skin. Whenever you use it massage it into legs, hips and buttocks before standing under a cold shower. If you can’t bring yourself to stand under a cold shower just try to ensure the temperature is lower than you normally have it to stimulate your circulatory system.

Neals Yard Remedies Detox Toning Oil

All skin types

A beautiful warming aromatic fragrance containing essential oils of lemon, black pepper and frankincense. This soothing blend of oils is often used for lymphatic drainage by Aromatherapists. It helps to strengthen the skin and improve smoothness which I have noticed in my own skin. I’ve used it on some of my clients who suffer with fluid retention during leg massages. Although it can be used all over the body if you wish.

Massage vigorously in to skin daily morning or evening.

*If massaged in well and used on a regular basis all of these oils will help to stimulate the lymphatic system and aid detoxification whilst leaving skin smoother and more supple.

 I also wanted to draw your attention to a Detox dietary supplement programme available at Perfumery & Co:

The Organic Pharmacy 10 Day Detox

This is a complete programme of nutritional supplements along with a very thorough guide and meal plan.

This ten day kit will sooth the digestive tract, support drainage and liver function and metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids. It also helps to protect cells from oxidative stress.

If you are looking to reset your body - perhaps you feel sluggish, tired, bloated, constantly craving sugar etc. then consider this kit. It’s a well-balanced detox plan where you actually eat! You don’t have to survive on juice, air or dust!

This product was awarded a CEW Beauty Award as voted for by industry professionals and experts. These are recognised as one of the most coveted awards in the industry. They recognise the ‘best in class’. So this programme is something to take note of.

On opening the box you will find four supplement bottles (Detox, Phytonutrients + MSM), Superantioxidants and Essential Fatty Acid +B Complex). Plus a detailed guide covering how the detox works, sources of toxins, what to expect from the detox itself and the meal plan. I’m not usually a fan of ‘detoxing’ but I would say that The Organic Pharmacy’s plan is not like a traditional detox. Following this plan myself has helped me to refocus my own eating habits and I do feel better.

 *As always I spend a lot of time testing these products and give my honest opinion.

I hope you have found this body care blog insightful. As always everyone at Perfumery & Company are incredible at what they do so please reach out if you have any questions.

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Face Masks – The perfect mindful moment

Face Masks – The perfect mindful moment

Written by Nicola Meir Holistic Therapies

Facial masks are an incredible way to treat our skin. They aren’t an everyday skincare essential but an effective way to boost the skin once or twice a week.  In most cases they are a product that you apply to the skin, leave on for several minutes and then remove. They restore skin revealing a fresher, brighter, comfortable and more hydrated complexion. The choice is huge with products fulfilling many different skin types and concerns.  A good mask will deliver real visible results in just a few minutes. We should be able to look in the mirror afterwards and see a noticeable difference.  Whether that be, for example, a glowing complexion, calmed redness, or reduced oiliness.

I adore using face masks. They are a great way to carve out little pockets of time on a regular basis just for ourselves. The beauty of them is that once applied, they stay on the skin for an allotted amount of time (always check the product instructions for exact timings). This creates a wonderful opportunity to take time for ourselves. To grab our favourite drink, a book or magazine and relax whilst the mask does its magic. However, if you have a ‘to do’ list as long as your arm, apply the mask and carry on with your tasks! I’ve done this many a time.

It is easy though to forget about us, to create breathing space, time to relax. I try to work this into my daily and weekly routine and applying a mask can be part of this. It could become part of a Sunday morning ritual, or a midweek boost or you could even start ‘Mask Monday’. Whatever is best, it needs to work for you and around your schedule. When I am giving client facials it is an integral part of the treatment, extremely relaxing and beneficial to their skin.

However, don’t be fooled into thinking that you can get great results from using a mask once or twice a week whilst neglecting your daily skincare routine. Masks are in addition to those all-important skincare steps which act as your skins maintenance. In order for skin to thrive it needs consistency and this is why a regular morning and evening routine is so important.

What are the main types of masks:

Hydrating masks

These usually contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, glycerin, squalene, shea butter and plant oils (such as rose oil). These help to lock in moisture, stop moisture escaping and therefore hydrate the skin. They support the comfort levels of the skin and will generally feed it with the nourishment it is craving.

Pore cleansing and balancing masks

These often contain clay, salicylic acid, cucumber, honey and other refining and antibacterial ingredients to help draw out impurities, balance an oily complexion and minimise the appearance of pores. Although I will say that we need our pores, it’s not simply a case of closing them with a product if they are too visible. But a clay based mask will help to reduce their appearance. Check that the labelling says ‘non-comedogenic’ which means they are less likely to clog the pores and will therefore contain lighter ingredients. Avoid heavy components like coconut oil or shea butter.

Brightening masks/Exfoliating masks (without physical granules)

These generally contain acids such as glycolic or lactic to gently dissolve the upper layer of cells to kickstart the skin’s process of renewal. This can leave skin feeling and looking smoother and more evenly pigmented. Vitamin C is often a main element here as it works wonders to improve the skins radiance.

Sleep masks/overnight masks

These are designed to be applied at night and left on rather than washing off for a more intensive treatment.

Sheet masks

Avoid if you can. These single use products are bad for the environment and are essentially paper with a little bit of product soaked into them. However, there are a few companies who have launched biodegradable masks. But if in doubt don’t purchase.

Pore strips

These are another product to steer clear of. Don’t be swayed by who is advertising them. They are just awful for the skin.

When choosing a mask always select one for your particular skincare concern, whether that be blemish control, dehydration, lack of radiance to name a few. Skin can go through changes depending on the weather, central heating, medication, hormones, illness, poor diet and not drinking enough water so having a couple of different ones on your shelf is advantageous.

How often should I use a mask?

Always refer to the individual product instructions as these may differ, not only in how often to use them but the duration they should be left on the skin. As a rule of thumb once a week works well for most skin types and concerns.  Twice a week for a drier skin type.

Always apply to a clean dry face and when it comes to washing it off massage any excess into the skin (unless it is clay based). Then wash off what’s remaining with a warm cloth or flannel. If using more of a cream based mask rather than a clay based mask you may notice that when you come to wash off the excess there isn’t any to remove. This could be a sign that your skin is dehydrated. It’s been drinking up the product. If this is the case increase your daily water intake and perhaps start using a serum containing hyaluronic acid each day if you don’t already do so.

To really get the most out of your mask I suggest doing the following on the day that you are using it:

Double cleanse

Exfoliate (unless you are using an exfoliating mask)

Facial oil (massage into the face, neck and décolleté for a couple of minutes)



Eye product



For a special treat, apply your face mask whilst relaxing in a warm bath. It’s important not to have the water too hot though. The steam from the water will soften the skin, encouraging the mask to penetrate more effectively.

Where should I apply the mask?

All over the face apart from the eye area. Many brands have specific eye masks to choose from although these aren’t always necessary. Don’t forget to apply the mask to your neck and chest area too (décolleté) if they need it. There is also nothing stopping you using two different masks on your face. Perhaps one to combat excess oiliness on the forehead, nose and chin and a hydrating one on the cheeks and neck. Or after applying a skin balancing one all over the face, following this with a hydrating one. This is because some masks for oiliness can sometimes be a bit dehydrating depending on the ingredients used.

Below are a selection of facial masks available at Perfumery & Company. These options are a good place to start if you haven’t used a mask before or are looking to switch up your current products.

The Organic Pharmacy

I have been super impressed with every product I have tried in this range. If you didn’t catch my last skincare blog for Perfumery & Co. on serums you might not know too much about this brand. They are London based and were the first pharmacy dedicated to all things organic. They have been trading for two decades with a factory in West London.  Organic ingredients are used whenever possible and are sustainably sourced. Many of their products are vegan and none have been tested on animals. They fuse ‘nature with nurture’.

The Organic Pharmacy Enzyme Peel Mask

To Brighten & Exfoliate

For all skin types

This light cream/gel mask is 71.6% organic and suitable for vegans. It contains a cocktail of Vitamin C, passion fruit and lactic acid. It has a fresh and fruity mouth-watering fragrance. Due to the lactic acid enzymes which are naturally exfoliating you may experience a slight tingling when it’s on the skin but this is completely normal and shouldn’t be uncomfortable. The ingredients are nibbling away at the dead skin cells which in turn encourages cell turnover to increase. This helps to even out pigmentation and brighten a dull complexion. Because of the enzymes present, you won’t find any physical particles in this product.

The Organic Pharmacy Honey & Jasmine Mask

To Firm & Moisturise

Suitable for all skin types but particularly dry, dehydrated or stressed skin

This rich and luxurious mask is 67.15% organic. It has a comforting creamy texture containing honey, squalene and aloe which all help to nourish, soothe and hydrate parched skin. I personally love this product. Not only can it be used in the traditional way where it gets washed off after twenty minutes but a thin layer can be applied before bed and left on whilst you sleep. Your skin will feel like it is cocooned in the softest blanket. It has a light comforting powdery fragrance.

The Organic Pharmacy Purifying Seaweed Clay Mask

To Purify & Rebalance

Suitable for oily, combination or congested skin

Containing spirulina, sage and eucalyptus this 58.7% organic aromatic mask is perfect for balancing the skin. It’s a cross between a cream and a very light paste in texture, very easy to apply and suitable for vegans. The clay means that the mask dries on the skin, helping to draw out impurities. But unlike some clay based masks it’s very easy to remove. The seaweed works its magic on any redness whilst Vitamin C restores a lovely glow.

Clarins Extra Firming Mask

To soothe stress lines, firm and revive radiance

Suitable for all skin types

Clarins is a well-established, well regarded skincare brand. Glycerin and organic green banana help to hydrate the skin reducing the appearance of tension, stress and tiredness. This mask comes with a ‘pressure point’ application method which is explained on a leaflet inside the box. Even though this product is marketed as extra firming, I see it as a wonderful stress reliever. Apply using this method, breathing deeply and slowly and you’ll be sure to relax. It has the familiar Clarins light floral fragrance which is very agreeable.

The guys at Perfumery & Co have a wealth of knowledge and are incredible at what they do.  They are on hand to help you if you have any questions.

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Serums – The crème de la crème of performance skincare

Serums – The crème de la crème of performance skincare


Serums are the doer, the hard grafter of the skincare family, addressing specific skin concerns. We are lucky to have so many to choose from. Serums treat a plethora of different issues ranging from lack of radiance, pigmentation spots, dehydration, oiliness, large pores and spots, redness, fine lines and they can even exfoliate. Many will tackle more than one issue under the umbrella of ‘anti-ageing’. I’ve said before that I don’t like the term anti-ageing. Surely we want to live until we are old. This is the aim, right?! However, serums are designed to deliver a powerful hit of active ingredients, such as vitamins, peptides and high tech molecules, directly to our skin and can offer all kinds of benefits. This is why you will often find that they are of a higher price point compared to all other skincare steps. They cost more to produce because they contain more active ingredients. Think of your serum as having the biggest job to do. This is where you treat, repair and correct your skin. It’s stimulation for the skin. So if you are able to invest in the right one, your skin will thank you for it.


What types of serums are there?

Thankfully there are many kinds available, so you should find one to suit you and you may benefit from more than one. Below are the main ones:


Vitamin C

This is an antioxidant powerhouse, a true skincare superhero, that helps protect skin against free radicals which can cause damage. They do this by breaking down collagen and elastin production. Pollution, cigarette smoke and other factors within our everyday environment are nasty culprits but vitamin C fights back. It improves the look and feel of the skin by boosting collagen production and is glow giving . Vitamin C is recognised as an anti-ageing ingredient and I use it every morning without fail.


Vitamin A

Retinoids are a form of vitamin A and are the best topical treatment (a product applied to the skin) for long term reduction in fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage, along with many other skincare concerns. Some are able to reduce the appearance of pores, improve acne and psoriasis. They work by promoting skin regeneration and can be quite potent. So most need to be introduced gradually into your skincare routine as they can cause flaking and redness but this doesn’t last long. Always follow the instructions on the packaging. Don’t be tempted to slather it on. Less is definitely more to start with. Vitamin A products must always be used in conjunction with a broad spectrum sunscreen as the ingredients can leave the skin more sun sensitive. It usually takes several weeks to see a difference in the skin. It’s an investment and one that needs patience but don’t give up. The results can be incredible. There are many brands now triumphing natural alternatives which is wonderful for consumer choice. They tend not be quite as potent which might appeal to some. I use a Vitamin A serum every other night as part of my evening routine. When I first started I used it twice a week and built it up. I haven’t suffered any adverse effects.




Vitamin E

This is a skincare all-rounder.  It’s found naturally in the skin but when we are exposed to the sun and free radicals it diminishes.  It really helps to retain moisture, is an effective anti-inflammatory, a wound healer and can reduce redness. This is a great option for those with really sensitive skin.


Hyaluronic Acid

This might sound scary but if you’ve read my blog about acid toners you’ll know that there is nothing to fear. These products don’t contain harsh acids. Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance which is already present in your body. It has the ability to hold more than a thousand times its own weight in water. It will grab onto water in your skin and plump it up as well as brighten the skin tone. So by doing this it helps the skin to look and feel plumper and smoother. It’s widely used in serums as well as creams, foundations, body lotion, lip balms and can be used on any skin type. Perfect for this time of year when skin tends to be drier and more dehydrated than normal. I love it because results can be instant. I use this in the morning when I feel my skin needs it and sometimes in the evening.



These are collagen boosters that stimulate the skin’s stem cells. When collagen breaks down, as we get older, it releases peptides. By applying a topical peptide it encourages the skin to make new collagen. Copper Peptide is certainly a favourite. It accelerates collagen production and increases the skins natural moisturisation encouraging firmer more hydrated skin. I have a peptide serum which I use a few times a week when needed.



Also known as vitamin B3. It has been shown to work well for acne/blemish prone skin. It works by enhancing and strengthening the barrier function of the epidermis (the outer layers of the skin), therefore protecting against bacterial attack. It works well to soothe redness and irritation so it’s good for rosacea, hyper-pigmentation and fine lines. I keep a Niacinamide serum in my bathroom cabinet at home as I sometimes get a rosacea flare up on one cheek and will use it to calm the area.


When should I use a serum?

As a rule - every day. Don’t save them for best.  They are the boss of skincare products so weave them into your routine. As a general rule use Vitamin C in the morning after cleansing, toning and applying an eye product. Then follow with moisturiser and your sunscreen. Vitamin A can be introduced gradually into your evening routine after cleansing, toning and applying an eye product. Then follow with facial oils, night creams and blemish treatments. Hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and peptides can be fitted in as and when you need them. Try to always follow with a moisturiser because, even though they contain more active ingredients than a moisturiser, they don’t tend to contain enough moisture. Remember – use your serums every day. Make them your friend. Having said that, you don’t need to have every one of the serums that I’ve mentioned. Start with a vitamin C and use it in the morning. You can then add others to your skincare shelf as and when you want to.




How much serum should I use?

Most serums come with a handy pump dispenser or pipette (dropper) which makes them super easy to use as they dispense the correct amount. Always follow the product instructions but they will generally say one pump or half a pipettes worth. A little goes a long way to cover the face. They are normally light water based formulas which means that they sink into the upper layers of the skin easily and tend not to leave an oily residue. Massage in well to face, neck and décolleté, there is no need to gently pat the product in unless this is specifically stated (but even then I always massage it in).


In what order should I apply my serums?

If you are applying more than one serum, for example a vitamin C and a hyaluronic acid always apply the lightest consistency first. Although most serums are quite light, there is a mixture of textures available. They are designed to be layered under a moisturiser and will penetrate into the upper layers so ensure skin is regularly exfoliated with a physical exfoliator or acid toner. This will mean that the product will effectively penetrate rather than sit on the surface with the dry dead skin cells. We want those active ingredients to absorb well.  Your moisturiser then works predominantly on the surface of the skin.


Serums according to age:

Here is an outline of what you could use according to your age and the condition that your skin is in. It is a loose guideline as you will ultimately know your skin best.



A vitamin C would be great but a very gentle one. It doesn’t need to be too active or aggressive.



An antioxidant serum like vitamin C and niacinamide plus a hyaluronic acid serum. From our mid-twenties our cell turnover slows down, this is the start of the aging process. Skin will find it harder to retain water and oil, this is called trans epidermal water loss, and so Hyaluronic acid will really help to combat this.



A good antioxidant serum like Vitamin C and niacinamide. Use daily in the morning. Also a daily dose of a good quality hyaluronic acid to combat trans epidermal water loss which is quite common at this age and can get worse. From our mid 30s we can step things up with the use of peptides and retinoids too. Don’t leave these until you notice lots of signs that your skin is getting older, if you’d prefer to keep them at bay.


40s 50s 60s 70s 80s & 90s

A good quality antioxidant serum like Vitamin C. But you may also want to spend money correcting issues i.e. a good quality pigmentation serum, good quality hyaluronic serum, Vitamin A, these should be a staple as the skins cell turnover is very slow at this point and vitamin A will help to speed it up.


Perfumery & Company have lots of serums for you to choose from and lots of knowledge and advice to help you select the right one for you. Below is my review of several on offer:


The Organic Pharmacy

This London based brand has only recently been stocked in Perfumery & Company. They were the first pharmacy dedicated to all things organic and have been trading for two decades with a factory in West London.  They use organic ingredients whenever possible and are sustainably sourced. Many of their products are vegan and none have been tested on animals. They fuse ‘nature with nurture’. The best of both worlds.


The Organic Pharmacy Hyaluronic Acid Serum

For all skin types

This is a vegan 95% organic lightweight, easily absorbed serum that works wonders on parched skin. It delivers a hit of hydration to lock in moisture. This enables skin to appear more plump by reducing the appearance of wrinkles. One full dropper is enough for the face, neck and décolleté every morning and evening. It sinks in easily and doesn’t leave an oily residue.


The Organic Pharmacy Stabilised Vitamin C Serum

For all skin types

91% organic and vegan friendly.

This serum is effective in brightening and evening skin tone. It gives a lovely glow. It’s a great choice for anyone who’s noticed a lack of radiance, dull complexion, some pigmentation. Apply one full dropper every morning. The organic Pharmacy suggest every evening too but you may decide to use another serum instead. It’s a lovely light consistency.


The Organic Pharmacy Skin Rescue Serum

For dry and sensitised skin, eczema, psoriasis

98% organic

Think of this as your first aid serum for skin that needs calming, soothing, healing and hydrating. It’s a great serum for eczema and psoriasis. Once applied it restores some elasticity to the skin making it more comfortable and adds a layer of protection against external aggressors and the potential of water loss from within the skin. Apply between two to four drops up to one dropper full each morning and evening and whenever it’s needed. A light consistency which doesn’t sit heavy on the skin.


The Organic Pharmacy Four Acid Peel

Suitable for all skin types

90% organic and vegan friendly

This is a serum that gently exfoliates and brightens the skin to reveal a smoother complexion. It helps to fight blemishes and boosts the radiance of the skin. No need to wash off and no exfoliating particles. A Combination of plant derived acids naturally dissolve dry dead skin cells including glycolic, lactic and citric acids. Super easy to use and a lovely lightweight texture. Can be used once a day but I would start off with a couple of times a week.


The Organic Pharmacy Retinol Night Serum

Suitable for all skin types

93% Organic and suitable for vegans

This is The Organic Pharmacy’s retinol offering for targeting signs of skin getting older i.e. fine lines, wrinkles, reducing enlarged pores. It speeds up the renewal of new skin cells. It contains an encapsulated retinol which means that the retinol is protected from degradation, increasing its stability and improving its delivery to the skin. The Organic Pharmacy suggest using one full dropper on the face, neck and décolleté every night to clean skin. I’d say introduce it a couple of evenings a week, then every other evening and then every evening. This serum works well being applied after the Four Acid peel (which aids better penetration of products). All of these have a light texture that is really easy to work with.


Clarins Double Serum

Suitable for all skin types

This is without doubt one of Clarins hero products. It has a cult status as a fantastic comprehensive ‘anti-ageing’ product containing twenty one plant extracts. Improved radiance, firmer and plumper skin, smoother fine lines and skin texture and reduced appearance of pores. It has a light fluid texture which sits brilliantly under a moisturiser creating a lovely base for makeup. It can be applied morning and/or evening. The special rotating push button also delivers the correct dosage of serum. I can also be mixed with your foundation for a beautiful dewy look or under a mask for an extra skin boost. I love this product, it’s a great allrounder and can see why it gets so many rave reviews.


L’Occitane Immortelle Overnight Reset Oil in Serum

Suitable for all skin types

I am a real fan of L’Occitane’s Immortelle range. This is an overnight oil in serum which has a light gel texture, it contains 92% natural origin ingredients. It’s an effective night time treatment to encourage rested skin, improve radiance and reduced signs of tiredness. Some of the ingredients relax muscle tension whilst soothing skin from redness and tightness. The formula stimulates microcirculation and increases collagen production. It doesn’t leave the skin oily or tacky. Apply to cleansed and toned skin and follow with your regular serum and moisturiser.


So, make friends with a serum. They won’t let you down. They are a hard worker and your skin will be so thankful that you met.

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The Wonderful world of Fragrance

The Wonderful world of Fragrance

Fragrance is amazing, it has the power to evoke memories and emotions with one simple inhalation. Smells envelop us, circle around us, enter our bodies and emanate from us. We live in a world where we are constantly surrounded by scent. But it’s not a new phenomenon, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics illustrate that perfume played a part in life dating back as far as between 3500 and 3000 BC. It’s well documented about Cleopatra’s elaborate use of fragrance. When meeting Mark Anthony, her arrival was announced by clouds of fragrance before she came into view. Greece are credited with the art of making the first liquid perfume, although it was quite different from perfume as we know it today. They didn’t contain any alcohol and tended to be a mixture of fragrant powders and oils. However, it was Arabia who linked the past and present of the perfume industry. They created the process of extracting oils from flowers, for example rose oil.

 Fragrance really came into its own when Louis XIV took the throne in the 18th Century. He demanded a different fragrance each day! At this point perfume was a substitute for soap and water! I’m glad I wasn’t around then, I don’t think my nose could take it! Napoleon was another lover of scent and it’s been reported that he would get through sixty bottles of double extract of jasmine a month! His first wife Josephine favoured musk which was even stronger and it was reported that this fragrance lingered in her boudoir sixty years after her death! Wow, that must have been strong stuff! In early America the first scents were colognes and scented waters and at the turn of the 20th Century perfumes were single flower fragrances, for example rose, violet, lily of the valley. Floral bouquets were introduced towards the end of the first decade and after this fragrances continued to develop in complexity, including the introduction of many synthetic notes which were made in laboratories. Fragrances today are crafted by well-trained perfumers often referred to as ‘Noses’. In the past twenty years the use of technology has increased in the development of perfumes to find the best odour molecules that will activate the desired smell. Fragrance is both an art and a science.


Let’s go back to basics - How do we smell?

Without knowing it we smell a wide variety of odours throughout the day and night. Breathing in and out as we go about our daily lives, a myriad of chemical molecules interact subliminally with our odour receptors. It’s only when an odour is pleasing to us, or irritates, triggers a warning or jogs a memory that we take notice.


When we breath in through our nose air swirls up through the nostrils to a ‘sheet’ the size of a small postage stamp. This contains millions of receptor cells. It’s called the olfactory epithelium. Each of these receptor cells has minute filaments which stick out beyond the surface and contain proteins. They grasp the fragrance molecules as they float up our noses. A process then takes place whereby these sensory cells are stimulated. An electrical activity takes place to send messages to the olfactory bulb in the brain which determines the smell.  As we get older our sense of smell diminishes, just like our eyesight and hearing. The number of receptor cells and olfactory bulb nerve cells decrease.



Why use fragrance? Here are some of the benefits:

Nowadays it is more than a fashion accessory and depending on the type we choose they can be increasingly used to enhance our daily lives:

  • Elevate mood and positivity
  • Promote relaxation
  • Reduce stress
  • Enhance self-image
  • Retrieve memories
  • Improve concentration


Personally I have about six different perfumes on the go throughout the year. I will make a choice on which one to wear based on how I’m feeling that day, what time of year it is, what I’m doing that day and I’ll wear some kind of scent pretty much every day. I don’t keep fragrance for ‘best’. Best should be every day. We are worth that!


Fragrance and emotions

Our sense of smell is often referred to as our most primitive sense. As we have evolved we no longer need to spend so much time on survival which has made way for us to notice and enjoy the great outdoors – nature, flowers, plants, woods, herbs etc. The reason that fragrances stimulate our feelings is that our brains have been designed so that emotions and the sense of smell anatomically overlap.


Many of us have experienced that unexpected hit of nostalgia on smelling a particular scent. The memories of fragrance are generally associated with closeness or social events and are linked to the emotions we felt the first time we experienced it. In no time at all we can be teleported back to another moment in time – our nan’s house where her favourite soap filled the air, our mums kitchen with the smell of cake baking in the oven, a warm embrace with an old friend, an old book that we loved to read. Now this may sound bizarre but every time I smell tinsel (who knew it actually had a smell!) it instantly transports me back to me childhood Christmases. Such a wonderful memory. So every Christmas you’ll catch me sniffing any tinsel I can find!


What’s the basic construction of fragrance?

Have you heard of fragrance notes?

No musical notes involved here! But you may have noticed that if you smell fragrance as soon as you spray it on your skin it can smell quite different to smelling it once it’s been on your skin for several hours. This is because fragrances are complex, they are not a fixed object, they develop over time.


There are two types of main fragrance constructions.  The first is a classic horizontal formula (as described above). This is where the fragrance evolves as it warms and develops on your skin. The fragrance ‘notes’ – the top, middle and bottom ingredient notes are all separate. But as they merge and mix together the true scent appears.  Many perfumes follow this transition from top note to middle (heart) note and then to bottom (base) note.


However, the second type of fragrance construction is a vertical formula. This is where it has been purposely created to remain the same from the first note to the last note so they do not have that transition through a series of notes. There are even some formulas that have one solid dominating note all the way through.


Top notes

The important first impression when you initially spray the fragrance. Top notes are usually made of the most volatile ingredients. These are often fresh, citrusy, fruity and light. They quickly blend into the middle notes which is the second part of the fragrance


Middle notes

This is the heart of the fragrance and what classifies it into the right fragrance family i.e. floral, green, woody, chypre, spicy, oriental. Fragrance families are used to categorise fragrances. It usually takes between ten to twenty minutes for these heart notes to fully develop on the skin. They bring harmony and balance to the composition and they will often be flowery notes to provide the ‘bouquet’.


Base notes

These are made up of the underlying tones of the fragrance and are responsible for its lasting qualities. These tend to be warmer less volatile components that are woody, musky notes. It’s important to say that perfumes should not break up into three stages. If it is well balanced the transition should be impeccable. A perfume that falls apart is badly constructed.


So this is why, when choosing a new fragrance, we should spray and leave it on the skin for a few minutes to allow the scent to develop before making a decision. Try not to test more than three fragrances at one time as this will overwhelm the nose. A little tip is to smell the inside of the elbow to neutralise the nose before smelling the next fragrance, as long as fragrance hasn’t been sprayed here before.


Why can perfume be expensive?

The combination of exceptional ‘noses’, the long development process and the price of the raw materials are all very costly. So much expertise is involved in creating fragrances. They are like works of art. I like to break down the cost of my fragrances as a daily use cost which makes it more justifiable and like I’ve said before fragrance should be enjoyed every day. A pleasure to wear.


How can I get the most out of my fragrance? What’s fragrance layering?

Do you feel like your scent disappears throughout the day? Most fragrances will need to be sprayed during the day and/or evening. They won’t last all day if only spritzed first thing in the morning. Usually the more expensive the ingredients, and the higher the perfume concentration, the longer the fragrance will last. But there are ways to give it some longevity.


It’s important to note that fragrance doesn’t like dry skin. It needs moisture molecules to hook onto in order to stay put. If our skin is dry and dehydrated it’s not going to last. Ensure that skin is moisturised before spritzing.  This is where fragrance layering comes in. It’s when we use two or more fragrance forms together. Perhaps starting with a body wash or bath oil in the chosen scent, followed by the matching body lotion or cream and finishing with the perfume. This layering effect ensures the fragrance takes on a much softer character and stays around for longer. Ultimately this is a more economical way of wearing fragrance as, even though the initial outlay may be more, we will use less in the long run.


Where are the best places to spray fragrance?

Aim for pulse points (wrists, crook of the elbow, behind the knees, inside the ankles) But avoid the neck and chest as this can cause damage, pigmentation, blemishes and premature ageing. It is designed to be worn on the skin, to be warmed by the body and develop into a wonderful aroma. Don’t spray onto clothes as not only can this distort the scent but can damage the fabric too.


How should I store fragrance?

Although many fragrances come in the most beautiful bottles it’s best to keep them in their box and store in a cool dark place like a wardrobe or drawer. If kept in this way they will last six months to a year or even longer depending on the ingredients. My best advice is to use it little and often.  Don’t save it for best. Spritz yourself every day. You will know if a perfume has gone off or spoiled as its colour will have dramatically changed and it will smell different.


What are the different fragrance strengths?

The concentration of a scent is determined by its ratio of base (pure fragrance) to the dilutant (alcohol and water). Incidentally, alcohol is needed in a fragrance for longevity on the skin. It’s not like dousing ourselves in fragrant vodka. It’s a different kind of alcohol. The higher the concentration of base the more lasting the fragrance will be on the skin. Parfum is the highest concentration and will only require two or three dabs onto the skin. Eau de Parfum is next and can be applied more but not too liberally. Think less is more. Eau de toilette contains less parfum which makes it light to wear but can still be long lasting. Eau de Cologne is very light and can be applied liberally and often. There are also lots of other concentrations on the market which tend to be quite subtle in strength, for example, body spray, body mist, aftershave, perfume veil. Long gone are the days of only being able to choose from perfume for women and after shave for me. Nowadays there is an abundant choice with tonnes that are suitable for everyone.


How much fragrance should I use?

This is completely personal and will depend on what strength of fragrance is being used. As a general rule no one should be able to smell your fragrance if they are more than an arm’s length away from you. We don’t want to overpower those around us. If anyone enters our personal ‘circle’ they should be able to smell it. As a side note, many people think their fragrance disappears because they can’t smell it. However, our noses become desensitised to the scent. It’s not gone away and other people can still smell it. So there’s no need to dowse ourselves in a bucket of perfume throughout the  day.


Perfumery & Company offer an extensive range of fragrances in their store and on their website. I’d like to spotlight one particular fragrance range of theirs  – L’Atelier Parfum. A unique, creative and long lasting collection of scents within their Opus 1 Le Jardin Secret range. I believe that there is something for everyone to choose from. The team select natural high quality ingredients that are ethically sourced locally in France and the rest of Europe to limit their carbon footprint. Made in Grasse, the perfume capital of the world, their essences are formulated by excellent French craftmanship who endeavour to include up to 90% ingredients from natural origin. They are vegan containing no animal components and they don’t test on animals.


There are seven Eau de Parfum fragrances in the range and, depending on taste, are not gender specific. I’ve highlighted some of the notes within each to try to paint a picture of how each might smell:


L’Atelier Parfum


Coeur de Pateles

A luxurious floral fragrance with notes of bergamot, rose, raspberry and almond. A subtle cheerful scent that evokes memories of spring.


Arme Blanche

With notes of neroli, orange blossom, jasmine and sandalwood this is a delicate floral fragrance which reminds me of a gorgeous bouquet of flowers.


Verte Euphorie

A light and fresh invigorating citrus scent containing blood orange, grapefruit, petit grain, carrot and white cedar. I love a citrus fragrance and this doesn’t disappoint.


Rose Coup de Foudre

With notes of Turkish rose, patchouli and amber this is a rose fragrance like no other.  It’s captivating, sensual and dynamic whilst not overpowering.


Belle Joueuse

This is a modern sexy chypre, containing raspberry, ginger, rose, tonka bean, vetiver, and a soft amber. An understated elegant fragrance.


Douce Insomnie

With notes of pink berries, cappuccino accord, jasmine, vanilla, patchouli this is an intense and passionate perfume perfect for an evening out.


Exquise Tentation

A powdery sweet sensual fragrance full of opulence, containing bergamot, blackcurrant, rose, lily of the valley, almond and vanilla. A dramatic and heady spicy vanilla scent.


All fragrances are available to try in store.

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