Friday, 6 January 2012

New Year's Pamper Day......for a Busy Mum

With being ill before Christmas and stitches before that, my roots were badly in need of some attention. finally on New Year's Day I found time to rectify this. Henna, has been my friend on an off for years now since my natural colour started fading when I was about 20. Natural red seems to fade quickly just like dyed red, although the comes 'grey' - total loss of pigment producing white hairs - comes quite late.

Because of the natural inclination of my hair I can use a lot less henna and leave it on for a lot less time than is quoted for people changing their hair colour. I can do 15 minutes to a couple of hours depending what mood I'm in and time available. The colour tends to be richer and less brassy the longer it's on - or so I've read. I've never managed to be scientific enough about it to get a definite on that one.

My introduction to Henna came through the Body Shop who also used to sell a henna conditioner of a similar colour and pungency. At some point that changed to a pale pink synthetic mix and I gave up interest in it. Because of my irregular dyeing habits and not needing to use a whole packet at a time it took me a while to realise that the Body Shop no longer stocked henna. I'm guessing it went out with the L'Oréal takeover..... Gutted I set out on some Internet research and discovered sites like Henna BoyHandful of HennaRenaissance Henna and Elaine's experiments at HennaBlog (Apparently I did read a blog before Christmas 2 years ago after all). From then on the experimenting really started. There are so many recipes and suggestions out there but mostly these days I mix it with a splodge of olive oil - too much and the colour is inhibited, and a little sugar - this helps the mixture stick - whether that's really as necessary on hair as it is on skin the jury is out, but it does make a nice consistency. I also add some coffee occasionally for a slightly darker colour. The Body Shop used to carry 2 red versions, red was just henna and red/brown was a henna /coffee mix.

I purchased my first post Body shop Henna from Renaissance Henna - lovely quality stuff. The biggest difference to me initially was the fineness of the powder. The Body Shop Henna was always noticeably finely crushed leaves, from Renaissance I received a smooth even powder that makes for a much nicer past and application. Body Art quality Henna is the way to go. I also never remember being told to leave the mix to stand covered over night to aide the dye release. Just long enough for it to cool after being mixed with hot not quite boiling water. Basically I think the combinations are endless. One additive I would definitely suggest avoiding is lemon juice. It's used to prepare Henna for Skin, and like sugar has crossed over, but it's an irritant you probably don't want to be putting on your scalp. 

In the distant past I also bought henna from one of those old fashioned health food shops that have mostly disappeared now. Shelves of contents in jars like a sweet shop. Then more recently from a spice seller on eBay - the colour release on that was so poor it went straight in the bin! For the last year at least though I've been using Ayuuri Natural Mehandi Powder after finding it on sale in my local Tesco. It's sold for body art, but Henna is Henna. Whilst I'm not huge at patch testing, I do patch test every time a new source of henna and generally only do a 15 minute session the first time. I've found it to be a good reliable henna that allows me to keep my hair bright on a budget and allows me to divert more of my money to quality facial products and make up.

This session ended up at around 2 hours with a carrier bag and towel on my head - whilst I pampered my face with the Bee Venom Mask from Heaven and made lunch. I'm really enjoying using this mask as I think you can definitely see the difference. This is another item that needs patch testing, this may sound obvious given the name of the product and it's active ingredient, but I'd kind of like the wording to be a bit more obvious than it is. Whilst confined to the salon the information can be conveyed easily to the client but as it hits a wider market and other companies follow in on the act I think the information needs to be more obvious. Having previously had a young child admitted to hospital with swelling tongue etc after reacting to a source that was never identified I'm all for clear and obvious guidelines. I'm very strict about my kids going near my potions but not everybody is or is able to be. Like yesterday when my youngest sprayed themselves with furniture polish!! School T-shirt only thankfully not the face.

I patch tested on my jaw line where I'm starting to see sag and loss of tone and could definitely see and feel an improvement compared to the other side of my face. The Heaven mask costs £65 and is available from Nuti Beauty who I notice when checking this link have a whole range of items (Not inc the Venom Mask) at up to 40% off in their January sale. The Bee Venom Mask has a hefty reputation which I think it really stands up to. Whether similar products snapping at it's heels can replicate this remains to be seen. 

After lunch I jumped in the shower to wash the henna out. A little messy I know but my neck and back don't do the leaning over the sink thing too well and I find I can get more thorough dyeing to wash out that way. I once went with the suggestion to comb it out and sleep with the henna on overnight. The result for me was no better and my scalp didn't appreciate it either - I may still have had lemon juice in the mix at the time!! 

Premium Spa is a brand I would love to see on sale in this country, it's a well priced 'No Nasties' brand who's products I fell in love with when Aldi had them in as a Valentines Special 2 years ago. At the time they were being distributed here by Baylis & Harding solely to Aldi and then no more... Their Ginger & Orange SOS Hand Cream Treatment is my absolute favourite and thankfully I bought more than one at the time. I only picked up one of each of the Body Scrubs however so I keep them as a special treat, particularly the Chamomile and Geranium Salt Scrub which is my clear favourite. The scent of the geranium fills the bathroom and I find the whole experience utterly calming and relaxing. It's not really a scrub for the shower, more the bath, as water getting into the pot hardens the salt crystals, but for NYD it was the perfect indulgence I was after.

The light for photos on New Years day was awful

On the other hand I find the Premium Spa Lavender & Peppermint Foot Scrub, which I can no longer find on their website, ideal for use in the shower. The consistency is viscous enough and gritty enough to get a thorough scrub without losing too much product to the shower. It's quite a gungy brown colour which I guess maybe could have put people off. 

Post shower I'm loving my Vidal Sassoon Daily Hydration Hairdryer. Long years ago I gave up drying my hair. It just took so long. My hair isn't thick but there's a fair amount of it and I found drying it a tortuous waste of time. I've been a 90's wash and go grunge babe ever since. At one point there was no hair dryer in the house! But once the kids started to grow proper hair I did indulge but still wasn't won over for myself. My hair, like my skin is starting to age and I know the windswept look isn't going to carry me through the next 10 years as easily as the last 20.

So I was intrigued to receive a press release promising to dry my hair more quickly whilst locking in moisture and pleased to then be offered the chance to try it out for myself. They say: It has an on-board IONIC generator which produces four times the number of IONS as a standard hairdryer. Negative IONs help to break down water particles, reducing drying time and helping to lock in moisture. I can honestly say it's changed my habits completely over the last 2 months. I get out of the shower and reach straight for the dryer. It really does have my hair blasted dry quick enough for me not to be bored stiff. My hair feels more glossy as a result too.  Twenty pounds that would have been very well spent and the  black and purple slightly rubberised / silicone soft touch feel of the product ticks my boxes too! As does the rotation put away handle.

Sundays pamper wouldn't have been complete without a touch of indulgence in the form of Hair and Body Oil from Beauty Works West. This is a lovely surprise I was sent by Beauty Works West after entering a giveaway for their facial wipes on Caroline's Blog .  At £47 for 100ml this one is definitely hitting the luxury category, but oh what a treat. I find the scent of this oil is truly delicious, sweet and sort of orangey but not cloying. Argan and Apricot oils are listed in the product description together with active botanicals Calendula, Ginkgo Biloba, Arnica and Pomegranate, so I'm not sure where I'm getting orangey from..... I like to add a touch to the tips of my hair and my upper body where the scent wafts up to me. I have used it on my legs but on the whole the oil doesn't deliver enough moisture on it's own to make my irritable legs feel comfortable.

That job went to another favourite I have Caroline to thank for. All for Eve's Body Butter is thick. Thicker than any other body butter I've tried. I really didn't like it at first. Not because of the cucumber fragrance - I hate the smell of cucumber - which I really don't notice, but because it doesn't have the ease of movement that other body butters possess. It doesn't glide on so easily. Over time however it's what I reach for when my legs are cross and itchy because it packs a welly in the hydration department. It's not on my list of sexy products but boy do my legs love it. All for Eve exist to raise awareness of gynaecological cancer not 'just' raise money through their sales. The fabulous 5 piece set which launched as a Today's Special Value last year is still available from QVC for £28.45 inc postage - a great price as the Body Butter and Daniel Sandler Lippie cost £10.50 a piece. All for Eve is also available in some Boots...I've never seen it there so maybe big stores and is I believe due to be part of Tesco's push into premium beauty this coming year.

Elemis Treat Your Feet Foot Cream was the first item I've tried from the Sp@Home range, although I realise from the recent QVC TSV that the Monoi Moisture Melt, another pamper favourite, has been rebranded under this title too. The range is  about slowing down the pace at the end of the day, taking time to nourish the body and de-stress the mind. Relaxation is key. The key note for me however, was that this didn't smell of peppermint. I know peppermint is great for feet, but I don't always want them to be smelling of it. This one has; patchouli, eucalyptus, and lemon oils together with shea butter and jojoba oil and does the job very nicely thank you!

PR Samples = Bee Venom Mask via Nutri Beauty, Elemis Treat Your Feet Foot Cream via QVC, Vidal Sassoon Daily Hydration Hairdryer. Hair and Body Oil gift from from Beauty Works West 


  1. I'm thinking about dyeing my hair. You have beautiful hair!

  2. I don't believe it! There isn't a photo of your newly dyed hair! I was dying to see how it looked too. x

  3. @Vintagirie - Thanks!

    @Debbie - I didn't take one on the day because it's usually not till the next day that the colour settles down properly and the light had gone too much for flattering photos!! Will try and rectify this week. x


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