Top Tips For Festive Beauty

29th November 2008

Would you be surprised, asks Mary Linehan, to learn that there are some 290,000 websites offering tips on how to avoid Christmas stress?…

There are tips from top chefs: how to make sure dinner is a success and on time. Make a list. There are tips from mental health organisations: make 2 lists – what you find easy/
difficult to achieve. Buy the right gift? Make a list of whom to buy for.

In short, if I want to avoid Christmas stress – I need to make lists…

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that by this time I was indeed making lists. There seemed no other option. And I actually found two inspirational tips:

1. Find time to relax

2. Create a new tradition

That certainly switched my (Christmas) lights on! How, I’d often wondered, had a friend breezed through the last four Christmases? Answer: She makes lists, she shops early – plus (and this is crucial) she books a series of salon treatments in the run up to the festive season. Thus she makes time to relax and she has created a new tradition for herself that makes her look good and feel great. I got her list, and I offer it both as a solution to seasonal stress and an ideal regime for party preparation.

Top is a deep cleansing facial to help combat the excesses and late nights. Decleor, Elemis, E’Spa, Environ, Susan Molyneux and Dermalogica are some of the most familiar and best-loved product ranges and treatments – and the benefit that going to a salon gives is that professional touch. Maria of Maria Elena in Rickmansworth explains that a good therapist will monitor your skincare needs and adapt your treatments accordingly. Maria believes it’s important that a therapist builds trust with a client to ensure the most effective results from the experience.

She also advises that you should invest in a key product from your treatment ‘to help maintain the benefits between visits’.
Next is Ayurvedic massage, based on Ancient Indian philosophies. Dr Shiney Joseph at Ayur Beauty explains: ‘This deeply relaxing massage improves the function of the nervous system, relieves tension, enhances sleep, tones muscles and imparts a glow to the skin. When the temptation to overdo it overcomes you, it improves circulation and helps the body expel toxic wastes.’

Number Three on the list is getting into that little black dress. Sarah at Bare Beauty Salon recommends Thalgo Slim & Sculpt Treatment (£82). ‘One client has a party every week – she’s pre-detoxing (!) to get into her dress.’ Slim & Sculpt is a deep tissue drainage treatment that detoxifies the whole body, tackles cellulite and any wobbly bits. Says Sarah, ‘It’s a really intense treatment. Hard work for the therapist, but for the client the effects are sensational. And there are psychological benefits, the ingredients target tricky areas, even the arms, so you see results and the fact that you have made every effort to get into that dress gives a sense of achievement.’

Four. ‘Hands and the neck are the areas of the body that most obviously show signs of aging.’ Karen at Bliss Beauty comments, ‘The current trends for dark nail colours and bright reds draw attention to the hands, so the last thing you want is for them to look dry and chapped.’ She recommends the deep moisturising and conditioning OPI Rejuvenating Treatment (£25), which comes with or without polish.

Talking nails, Michelle Kindell at The Courtyard Beauty & Wellbeing suggests a BioSculpture Gel treatment. ‘Biosculpture Gel is a non-chip nail colour overlay that will last you three weeks without chipping or smudging… a fantastic treatment to have in the run up to Christmas, which will take you right through the festive period.’ Biosculpture has four new right-on-trend shades for the party season including the dynamic, fire truck Royal Red. For those with a penchant for all things Goth, there’s the deep purple Royal Turban, plus Amethyst, a slightly brighter metallic shade, and Golden Silver, a gunmetal silver.

Finally, a visit to the hair salon is already on most people’s to do list in time for the festivities. Cut, colour and styling are generally the three things you think of first. Celeb stylist Verona White (clients include Jordan, Abby Clancy and June Sarpong) of VW Hair Designs says that condition is critical. ‘Blowdrying and product overload are the most common abuses. Our Special Treatment (£65) is a fantastic permanent hair repair, which in most cases repairs any damage in only one treatment, taking it back to its virgin state.’ She advises avoiding damage in the first place. ‘Use a leave-in softening conditioner with thermal protection, such as Nioxin, if you’re washing and blowdrying your hair more than usual. Also, make sure brush bristles are not curled as this can snag the hair, causing breakage.”

When it comes to product, Verona advises, ‘Minimise the use of gels and sprays containing alcohol. They dry the hair out, making it brittle.’ Verona suggests ‘the attraction of opposites’ for a different party look. It’s a neat idea: ‘If you wear it straight, go for curls, even if it’s just at the ends. If it’s short, slick it back, or for a neat look go for a ponytail and add a hair extension for extra length.’ And Maria of Maria Elena adds ‘To carry the pony-tail party look, try Individual Eye Lash Extensions.’

It’s the attention to detail that makes all the difference…

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