As a lover of skincare I have experienced quite a few brands and products that have become firm favourites of mine. I would like to share my recommendations with you and I will continually update this page as new products come along.
I don’t know about you but I have been looking for an array of things to help me take my mind of everything that is going on at the moment and self-care has been one thing that I has kept me going. There is nothing I miss more than a relaxing facial treatment and I am missing my visits to Soprano Ice’s Facial Spa located in the south of Edinburgh. They recently came to the rescue and very kindly supplied me with a range of vegan and plant-based products from the Elemis superfood range.
The first thing you obviously need in order to carry out the facial is the products. Luckily Elemis Superfood products are an affordable range and are available on many online stores. They are vegan and plant-based and full of prebiotics that helps calm, hydrate and smoothes the skin. What’s even better is that it’s suitable for all ages so if you wish you can get the whole household to join in.
I thought I would use the range to do a nurturing facial at home that you guys could incorporate into your routine to help boost your skin’s health whilst helping you relax and unwind. So find a quiet place in the house, light up your favourite candle, put on some relaxing music and let me show you how to carry out your very own facial at home.
Step One – Double cleanse
Double cleansing the skin helps remove makeup, SPF and any impurities that may have built upon the skin throughout the day. It also prepares the skin in order for it to fully absorb all the products that will be used in the facial.
The first cleanser is the Superfood Facial Wash, this gel has a really thick and hydrating texture. It is filled with prebiotics to help balance the skin and includes an array of nutritious super greens such as kale, wheatgrass and broccoli.
Directions – Apply the cleanser to dry skin, massage and take a moment to absorb the lovely fresh and uplifting scent (which reminds me of a really nutritious green smoothie). Using a warm damp face cloth, gently remove the cleanser from the face.
Cleanse your face again but this time uses the Superfood Cica Calm Foam Cleanser. This cleanser provides antioxidant protection from fermented green tea seed oil. It also includes olive, mango and rice water which keeps the skin hydrated and provides the skin with nutrients.
Directions – Apply a few pumps into the hand and massage onto a wet face and then with a dampened cloth, delicately remove the product from the skin.
Step Two – Tone
After cleansing its time to tone the skin with the Superfood Keri Tea Mist Spray. It includes rooibos tea which is a rich antioxidant and also has aloe Vera and coconut water which again provides extra nourishment. This can be used at the toning stage but it also throughout the day to give an added boost to the skin.
Directions – Close your eyes, spray over the skin and allow to absorb.
Step Three – Exfoliate
The next step of the facial is exfoliation and this is done using the fantastic Superfood Blackcurrant Jelly Exfoliator. Not only does this product smell amazing it also contains small blackcurrant particles to exfoliate and remove any build-up of dead skin cells. The addition of glycerin leaves the skin feeling smooth and soft.
Directions – Apply a thin layer to the skin and leave on like a mask and whilst those nutritional ingredients absorb fully it’s time to do a facial steam. You can purchase facial steamers online but this can easily be done by using simple items in the home. Fill a large bowl with hot water and place a your head above the steam. In order to capture the steam further place a towel overhead. For an added spa-like experience, add some essential oils to the water and breath in those lovely aromas. Do this for around ten minutes.
Before removing you can really take the opportunity to sculpt the face and use massage techniques in order to encourage lymphatic drainage. This helps depuff the face and release toxins. Ria from Soprano Ice has some tips below:
Afterwards, massage the skin fully so that the blackcurrant particles exfoliate further and then remove with a damp cloth.
Step Four – Face Mask
It is time to treat the skin using the Superfood Vital Veggie Mask. This particularly helps with dull skin as its full of brightening and nourishing ingredients. As well as being packed full of super greens it also has passion fruit acid in there which hydrates the skin. The mask doesn’t use clay which can often dry out the skin.
Directions – Apply a thin layer to the skin and allow those nourishing ingredients to get to work. Now is a great time to sip on a lovely green tea, listen to some tranquil music, lay back and relax. After 10-15 minutes, rinse the mask off using a warm dampened cloth.
Step Five – Calm, Hydrate and Moisturise
The last step really depends on the condition of your skin. Lately, mines has been very dehydrated, so I am going to use a combination of products to help with this condition.
The Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice is a really light gel moisturiser designed to help cool and calm the skin. It includes aloe Vera and cucumber, so really good if you have any sensitivity issues. It has a light uplifting scent and leaves the skin refreshed.
Directions – Apply a small amount to the fingers and massage into the skin and allow the product to fully absorb.
Using an oil not only helps seal in those previous products but also adds a further boost of hydration to the skin. Superfood Facial Oil is filled with rich omegas from broccoli, flaxseed and rosehip oil and has a really fresh and uplifting fragrance.
Directions – Apply a few drops to the hand, warm into the palms and press into the skin on the face. Although the oil has a thick consistency it is easily absorbed and leaves your skin looking dewy and refreshed.
To final step of the facial is to apply the Superfood Moisturiser which comes in both a day and night format. Although they are both filled with vitamin-enriched super greens the night cream has a richer consistency and has the inclusion of lavender and ylang-ylang oil.
Directions – Apply a few pumps of the product in the hand, warm it between the fingers and massage into the skin.
I was very impressed with this range of products and even though I don’t normally gravitate towards vegan skincare, using this range really surprised me. My skin was left glowing, supple and healthy-looking which is what everyone wants from a facial right? I know its not the same as going out for a treatment but trust me, after using these products it will not only give a boost to the complexion it will give you a moment to help you escape the anxieties and stresses of what’s going on around us. I can’t wait to get out again and visit The Facial Spa, but until then this easy to follow facial will help rescue me from my lockdown skin issues.
Head to my IGTV video to see the facial in action.
I’ve always been a fan of Jane Scrivner skincare products due to their pure and natural ingredients. When I used them previously, they always left my skin looking healthy and glowing. So when they recently released there the Scrivner for Men complete #5STEPSKINSTRATEGY Kit I immediately gravitated towards it. I am partial to a skincare kit as it makes the whole process of deciding what products to buy more convenient. Also you can trust the products will work perfectly together in order to give your skin the best results.
The kit comes in a handy canvas bag which makes it easy to store and transport if travelling. In each bag there are five products with easy to follow instructions, so no man has the excuse of not having an effective skincare routine. The products included in the kit are:
Step #1 Skin Clean – Nourish Enrich Cleansing Balm
I love a good cleansing balm and I have previously written a few posts regarding them, however for many cleansing balms are a relatively new concept. Cleansing balms add a more mindful ritual to your skincare routine, allowing you to take the time to massage the product into the skin. Cleansing balms are a really nourishing way to remove the dirt and grime from the skin whilst maintaining the skins natural integrity.
This balm, like many others has a thick consistency which immediately melts into the skin when applied. After massaging it into the face you simply remove it with a warm soaked mitt (which is also included in the kit) and your face feels cleansed and nurtured. The great thing about this product is that it can be used as a shaving balm either on its own or under your normal shaving foam, hence providing you with an extra layer of protection.
Ingredient Highlights: Organic Jojoba Oil, Rice bran wax, Tocopherol (vitamin E) and nine essential oils including sandalwood, star anise and carrot.
Step #2 Skin Resurface – Daily Resurfacing AHA/BHA Acid Exfoliator
Gone are the days of harsh face scrubs that can lead to irritation and skin-barrier damage. Acid exfoliators are a great way to gently resurface the skin to reveal smoother and clearer skin. I have been using acid exfoliators for a while so it’s fantastic to see one included in this kit and one that is geared towards men.
I found this exfoliator to be gentle with a subtle fragrance and as per instructions, only used it a few times a week before building up to daily use. All that’s required is a drizzle of the product onto a cotton pad, gently wipe it over the face and you’re done, such a simple yet effective step. What makes it more appealing is that it’s 100% natural and organic.
Ingredient highlights: English raw organic apple cider vinegar and numerous acids taken from pineapple, burdock, bilberry, orange, lemon, sugar maple, witch-hazel and white willow.
Step #3 Skin Hydrate – Smoothing Hyaluronic Gel
I don’t know about you but since working indoors my skin has been so dry. I often use hyaluronic serums as an extra step in my skincare routine, so I was very happy to see this gel which includes Hyaluronic acid as one of its main ingredients. Hyaluronic acid holds a thousand times its weight in water and acts like a sponge by attracting moisture to boost hydration on the surface of the skin.
Upon application, this clear gel gave my skin an immediate refreshing sensation and sunk immediately into the skin without that tacky or sticky feeling that most gels can leave. After using this product my skin felt plump and dewy.
Ingredient highlights: Plant extracted bio-fermented Hyaluronic Acid, Spilanthes Acmella (a natural muscle relaxant), organic aloe vera, white willow and frankincense oil.
Step #4 Skin Defence – Calm Nourish Enrich Face Oil
Jane Scrivner is known for sourcing the best raw and natural oils from around the globe, so I am very happy to see a face oil in this collection. Only a single application onto the fingers is needed. As you massage it into the face you can smell all the wonderful natural ingredients, star anise and sandalwood being the most prominent for me.
The oil sinks into the skin and you are left with this healthy and nourished glow almost as if you have had a restful nights sleep. What is great about this product is that you can use it as a beard or moustache oil too, so you are getting two products in one.
Ingredient Highlights: Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Oat Oil, Tigernut Oil and a blend of nine essential oils.
Step #5 Skin Protect – Oat Argan Moisturising Cream
For the last step of the skincare routine, there is this beautiful moisturising cream that seals in all of your previous steps whilst providing a protective barrier to environmental irritants. This cream includes Argan Kernel and Oat Kernel oils along with an array of other protective and nourishing ingredients.
What I love about the product is that natural uplifting fragrance but also the fact that even though there is an abundance of oily ingredients, it doesn’t leave your skin shiny or greasy looking.
Ingredient highlights: Organic Oat Kernel Oil, Organic Argan Kernel Oil, Colloidal Oatmeal, Betulenic Acid, Aloe Vera and nine essential oils.
I have really enjoyed using these products and wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them. Although you can buy the products individually, I feel the kit provides everything you need for a perfect and easy to use skincare routine. At a time when we all need that extra dose of self-care these products and the good quality ingredients really do feel like having your very own nurturing facial every day.
Head to my IGTV where I show you how I use the products.
Head to Janescrivner.com for up to date prices and more information.
I don’t know about you but working from home and social distancing has been a huge adjustment for me. Although I am thankful I am safe, spending so many hours in the house can take its toll on your mental and physical wellbeing. I thought I would share some hints, tips and products that I have been using to help keep my body and mind in tip-top condition.
Stick to your usual routine
If you are working from home, try and stick to your normal daily routine. Get up at a normal time, have a relaxing shower and change into some nice clothes. It’s very tempting to just stay in your pj’s but this is not very motivating! Trick your mind into thinking that it’s leaving the house.
Washing your hands
Washing your hands is paramount but using alcohol gel and washing all the time can dry out your skin. I’ve been using This lovely Black Tulip scented hand-wash from Shay & Blue which is both delicate and conditioning. Along with the nourishing hand lotion, it helps keep my hands silky smooth and hydrated. All their products are handcrafted in England with real flowers, fruits and spices.
Your usual skincare regime can sometimes slip when you’re in the house all the time but it’s important to take care of your skin and also treat yourself at the same time. I highly recommend MODM Vitamin Repair face oil from The Method in Edinburgh. It’s full of high-quality cold-pressed oils that really nurture the skin. I use their MODM Gua Sha Facial Tool to massage the oil in and this depuffs, sculpts and releases tension in the face.
Isn’t it funny how a little bit of colour on the skin makes you feel and look healthier. For a while, I’ve been on the lookout for tanning products that look natural and are easy to apply. I recently released a blog post on my favourite James Read Self tanning products, head to blublazerguy.com to find out more here.
If you are working from home and your desk is situated near a window it’s still very important to protect your skin against any UV rays which penetrate the glass. I recommend House of London Face Repair Cream which not only protects you from UV but also Infrared. Their products are organic and aim to feed, correct and protect the skin naturally.
Just because you aren’t going anywhere special doesn’t mean you should skimp on a fragrance. Pick a scent that ignites memories of positive times or one that lifts your spirits. My favourite just now is Italian Citrus by D.S. & DURGA as it’s uplifting, energetic and full of sunshine inspired ingredients.
Candles can add an immediate relaxing ambience to any room and coupled with a lovely scent can help calm and soothe the mind. I’ve just started burning this Buongiorno candle from Italian brand Acqua Di Parma. It’s refreshing aromas of freshly cut grass and sun-dried linen transport me to a summers day.
Another great candle is the Oceana candle from Essence of Harris. Oceana washes away worries with the cleansing aromas of samphire & sea minerals. These candles are hand-poured in the Isle of Harris in Scotland. The team are so lovely and have been helping their local community throughout this tough time.
Incense is also a great way to lace the air with relaxing aromas. I recently purchased these Azoth – Lavender and Marjoram stick from Lifestory lifestyle store in Edinburgh. The comforting essential oils immediately make me feel at ease. If you are looking for a contemporary incense stick holder, check out Concrete Goods who sell a fantastic range of styles and colours.
A Shakti Mat
This may not be for everyone but I absolutely love it and have been using it daily ever since I got it. The Shakti Mat is based on the Indian bed of nails concept. The mat has thousands of sharp spikes which apply pressure to the skin. The first contact with the mat can be overwhelming but once you get used to it you soon slip into this indescribable state of relaxation, so much so that I sometimes fall asleep on it. The Shakti mats are handmade in the holy city of Varanasi by 72 woman which not only helps the individuals but their family and their community.
Working at home can be a challenge both mentally and physically. One of the things that have been helping me is moving my body more. Setting my Alexa alarm hourly reminds me to get up and stretch, lift weights or carry out some cardio. I also make sure I adhere to the government guidelines and get out once a day for a long run and fresh air whilst keeping my distance from other people.
I’ve been finding it very difficult to sleep as of late but I found this amazing pillow spray from Drowsy Sleep Co. This spray contains 7 natural oils which help stimulate sensors in the brain to help aid sleep naturally. The fragrance is beautiful and it’s a fantastic additional tool to calm the mind so you can drift off into a deep sleep.
Indoor heating and poor hydration can dehydrate your body and your skin so it’s very important to remember to hydrate both inside and out. Fill a water bottle and make sure you take sips frequently and avoid too much coffee, tea and alcohol. For your skin, I’ve found that hyaluronic acids applied before your moisturiser provides a fantastic additional boost of hydration. I recommend Hylamide SubQ skin, Niod Multi-molecular hyaluronic complex and Image total pure hyaluronic filler.
If you are eating healthy then you should be getting all the nutrition you need from your diet. However, If you require additional supplementation, I’ve recently been trying a new product from getting Nourished which I have been very impressed by. All you have to do is complete a simple questionnaire on their website and they will determine what supplements you need. The vitamins are then 3D printed into one convenient gummy stack which is vegan, sugar-free and tastes absolutely delicious. It’s a really unique and convenient way of taking your daily vitamins and nutrients.
Last but not least is to make sure you talk and communicate with friends and family on a regular basis. In a world that had become so disconnected, it’s amazing how technology is now helping us to stay as connected as possible with the likes of face time and social media. So when you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, reach out as we are all in this together.
I hope you enjoyed this little guide of things that are truly helping me get through each day at home. Let’s keep adhering to government guidelines and protecting each other by staying home. For information always look at official government websites for the most up to date and accurate advice. We will get through this testing time together and I send all my followers and readers lots of positive vibes. #stayhome #savelives #protectthenhs
After 18 years in the beauty business, tanning expert James Read has become a worldwide name in the tanning industry. Working with an abundance of celebrities, photographers and designers, his underlying dream was always to create his very own brand. Utilising all the knowledge he had gained over the years, not only did he create his own brand, but he also managed to infuse his tanning products with the benefits of luxury skincare. With a copiousness amount of prestigious awards and a following from all around the world (me being one of them) it is no wonder this brand keeps going from strength to strength. I caught up with James to find out more about him and his successful company.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and what lead you to become one of the world’s leading tanning experts?
I have worked in the industry for 18 Years and was the first self-tan expect to start the trend for layering your tan and making self-tan not just a spray tan but an experience. I previously worked with eight self-tan brands before starting mine, which helped me gain the experience and knowledge to launch my own brand.
What inspired you to create your very own self-tanning range?
Ever Since I was at school I wanted to be known for something. I remember watching The September Issue back in 2009 while working for St Tropez and there was a part where Anna Wintour’s dad asked her at 15 years old what she wanted to do when she was older, she said she wanted to be editor of American Vogue and now look at where she is. This inspired me to start my own brand, to create a brand that was both skincare and self-tan and to make a difference in the self-tan world. Years later I was at a launch for Net a porter and told by the beauty director of American Vogue that I had a whole page in the April issue for my sleep mask tan, I cried after she left as it was a dream come true.
Your Sleep Tan Mask (which is one of my favourite products) became world-renowned due to its combination of self-tanning and luxury skincare ingredients, what inspired you to combine the two?
I used to use overnight hydrating masks and one day it clicked that no one has ever created a self-tan that combines both self-tan and skincare but also one that is an overnight self-tan, this is when the sleep mask tan was born. Eight years on and it won over 35 beauty awards.
James Read products are formulated with tantone technology, which promises its users the perfect golden glow, how does this technology work?
To me, Tantone creates a tan that looks natural and glowing but also takes the worry out of self-tanning. I wanted to create a perfect range of products where the tan works as a background colour and compliments your whole look but never overpowers it, which I believe I have successfully done.
What are your top tips for a flawless self-tan application?
Never over-apply your self-tan and always apply your self-tan in stages leaving your hands and feet till last. With the hands and feet always work the leftover self-tan over these areas so it looks more natural. In order to prolong your tan moisturise daily and exfoliate three days after to help your tan fade more evenly.
You have a few products geared towards men, is there a difference between the self-tan products for men and women?
The men’s self-tan for the face is more about calming the skin after shaving. The great thing about my brand is there is a product for everyone as the products are so natural.
Have you noticed an increase in men using self-tanning products?
Yes for sure, men are using more skincare as well as self-tan, they are also more conscious of what they put on their skin. The fake orange look is so far away, today it’s about looking healthy but also golden.
One of your missions was to change the world’s perception of tanning, which I believe you have done, do you have any new product innovations or ideas coming to fruition in the near future?
I have some amazing new stuff launching this year that will again change how people see self-tan, my lips are sealed but trust me you will be one of the first to know. To me it’s about being a leader, not a follower, never look to the left or right but look straight ahead, that way you never lose your direction.
This is completely off the subject of tanning, but as a fragrance lover, I ask this question to everyone, what is your favourite fragrance?
Byredo Bal d’Afrique, I love it so much!
Thank you James for taking the time out to answer these questions. Keep your eyes on James Reid Tan social for all up to date information.
Head to my blog post here to find out what my top favourite James Read products are.
Let’s face it we all love a good tan, it makes us feel and look healthy. After years of burning my skin in the name of vanity and with all the recent evidence of how bad sunbeds and sunbathing is, I decided enough is enough. I am now an avid user of self-tanning products and after trailing through different brands that never really provided the results I wanted, I finally came across James Read Tan who combines self-tanning with luxury skincare. Here are my top favourite products;
Sleep Mask Face Retinol
The first product I fell in love with and one that has taken the world by storm is the gradual tanner sleep mask. When using tanning products on my face I always thought I was missing out on my normal skincare and other self-tanners left my face dry and tight. James Read has cleverly included key skincare ingredients in this product including encapsulated Retinol, hyaluronic acid. Along with other skin-loving ingredients, this combination helps with the reduction in the signs of fatigue, dark circles and a dull complexion, so your skin isn’t missing out on anything at all.
The texture of this product is more serum-like and it absorbs easily into my skin. As with all tanning products, I exfoliate my face prior to applying this face mask so that it goes on evenly. As it is a gradual tanner, I can control the amount I use throughout the week to get the desired level of colour I want.
H20 Tan Drops
If you are not a fan of using retinol products and again you don’t want to skip your usual skincare routine then this product is fantastic. I apply this in the evenings when I don’t use the sleep mask and it is so convenient to use. All I do is add a few drops (this varies depending on the level of colour I want) into my normal moisturiser and it’s as simple as that.
The ingredients do not interact with your moisturiser in any way, so you can relax in the knowledge that you will be getting a great tan while still benefiting from your usual skincare.
The Glow 1 hour Face & Body
When I am in a hurry or life has been so busy that I have forgotten to tan throughout the week, this is the perfect last-minute product. Formulated with aloe vera, hyaluronic acid and jojoba seed oil, you are yet again getting the benefits of luxury ingredients whilst obtaining a tan. All you do is apply using a mitt and within 30 minutes you can start to see the glow appearing.
As I have pale skin I only need to keep this product on for around 45 minutes before washing it off and afterwards, I am left with a healthy golden glow. This is convenient to use before a night out or an event and doesn’t give off that undesirable fake tan aroma.
Hydra Tan Mist – for Men
Even though James Read products are unisex this Hydra Tan Mist with its chic black packaging and fresh fig and ginger fragrance has been tailored towards men. This mist is perfect for the man who is on the go as it is quick to use and very fast-drying. As it is colourless it also takes out the worry of any colour appearing on your fresh new shirt. It also calms and hydrates after shaving which is an added bonus. As with all the other products it features Tantone Technology which ensures the most natural result for your skin tone.
I sometimes spray this over my normal moisturiser throughout the day for an extra boost of hydration, knowing that I will also get a hint of colour at the same time. This is a multi-tasking and convenient product and one that should be in every guy’s toiletry case.
If you want to know more about the man behind the tan, head to my ‘chats with’ section where I chat to James Read about his life, career and his renowned self-tanning brand.
Today I speak with the style king himself, Darren Kennedy. For those of you who don’t already know, Darren is a TV Presenter, Fashion Columnist and one of the UK and Ireland’s top lifestyle influencers. He regularly writes for top publications, presents on a range of TV shows in UK, Ireland and the USA and has worked with some of the world’s most prestigious brands. His social media is the perfect concoction of positivity, style, charm and is full of helpful fashion tips for guys of all ages. A year ago Darren launched his own grooming company, Kennedy & Co which sells a range of affordable and effective grooming products for men. I caught up with Darren to find out more about him, his career and Kennedy & Co.
You are a renowned Style Entrepreneur and fashion columnist, can you tell me where your love for fashion came from?
My love of fashion and style came from my parents. They were young adults of the 70s and our house was adorned with photos of my mother wearing amazing fur coats and my father wearing flairs and other interesting outfits, so to be honest, I think it stemmed from there.
Having such a varied and busy career what do you do to maintain and look after your mental health and wellbeing? How do you manage to stay so fit and healthy?
I have a couple of things I try to do, one of which is to visit a gym on a regular basis. I always try to visit a gym no matter where I am in the world normally working out for around 30-40 minutes which is enough to keep me sane and give me a sense of regularity.
I don’t really meditate but I love just to chill out, close my eyes and listen to relaxing music, this acts as a kind of meditation for me. It could be anything from Sufjan Stevens to a little bit of George Michael, anything calming really helps. I also try and take care of what I eat. I eat pretty much what I want but I always know if I am eating too much sugar, ice cream or chocolate which are all things I love, I start to feel a bit rubbish after a while. Likewise with alcohol where if I constantly drink too many nights in a row, I start to feel it. So it’s not rocket science but it’s just about keeping an eye on it.
You took part in Dancing with the Stars having no dance experience which is very courageous, are you someone who always welcomes a new challenge?
Dancing with the stars was absolutely terrifying as I have never danced or performed on stage in that capacity, so that was a real challenge. However, I do like a challenge and I believe in pushing myself outside my boundaries, sometimes it’s scary and it takes a long time to work up to it but I’ll eventually get there. I was very proud of myself with Dancing with the stars because I noticed as time went by and the harder I worked and the more training I put in, I was picking up the routines quicker, which just goes to show even without natural ability you can learn anything.
You have an infectious optimism and an abundance of confidence, which is portrayed through your social media, TV presenting and on-screen appearances, does this come naturally to you or is this something that you have had to work on?
Optimism does come a little bit more natural to me but I do work on it. Some people are a glass half empty and some people are a glass half full, I am definitely a glass half full. On days where I am feeling a bit empty I will work on it and try and pick myself up and there are mental techniques that I use. In terms of self-confidence, I wasn’t always and I am not always very confident but I guess I have learned to work on that as well.
Even in times when I feel very vulnerable and not very self-confident, I can fake it a little bit. I guess ultimately it’s not about confidence for me, it’s about being self-assured and being confident in my abilities for what I do in terms of work which has come with sheer experience and working really hard and consistent over time.
I notice that you get the opportunity to travel a lot, is travel important to you and is there any destination in the world that has had a lasting impression?
Travel is always something that I knew I would do with my life. In a way, it’s in my blood as my dad worked in the airline industry at Dublin airport. So even as a young child, we were very lucky that we got to travel because my father was able to get reduced price travel tickets. I absolutely adore travel and without it, I do start to sink a little bit so it’s very important to me. New food, new culture and new people are very important for my soul. I haven’t yet made it to Mexico City but that’s next on the list and hope to go this year. I went to Sri Lanka and fell in love with it. I lived in France for two years where I studied in Bordeaux and worked in Paris and I discovered Biarritz during that period. Biarritz is very close to my heart and I have now made some dear friends and love it as its the perfect mix for me.
You recently launched your Kennedy & Co grooming range, what was your inspiration behind the brand and does skincare play an important part in your life?
I launched Kennedy and Co over a year now and we celebrated our one year anniversary last November which is hard to believe. It was really born out of there being a gap in the market for really excellent skincare products that were within reach of everybody and that’s what we’ve done with Kennedy & Co.
The feedback on the products has been amazing, it’s doing wonderful things for peoples skin and hair. What’s most important is that it’s affordable, all under fifteen euros, made in Ireland, vegan, sulphate and paraben-free and not tested in animals which are all the things that I stand for. Skincare is important, it’s not something I invest hours in every day, it has to be quick and easy as I am a busy man, but I think that represents most guys these days.
You probably have so many but do you have any top grooming tips that you can share with us?
My top grooming tip and my number one thing that I always say to guys is regardless of anything else you do for your skin, make sure you wear SPF every single day of the year no matter where you are in the world. Even here in the UK on the greyest of days, 80% of the damaging UVA rays still get through and they are the ones that are responsible for premature ageing of the skin. So that’s why the Kennedy & Co moisturiser comes with SPF 20 so you don’t even have to think twice about it, we’ve done the hard work.
Last but not least, I am a huge fragrance addict, can you tell me your favourite fragrance?
I am a massive fragrance fan and have been since I was around 13 when I used to steal my brothers Dior Fahrenheit, I’ve always been addicted to fragrance ever since. I guess one of my long term favourite fragrances is Bleu de Chanel, it’s kind of a signature for me and I have been using it since it launched. I also love Tom Ford’s Private Blend Collection, in particular, Azure Lime as I love the zestiness of it. I am a big fan of Hugo by Hugo Boss it’s a great fragrance and it’s been around twenty years and there is a reason it has lasted so long. Le Labo is fantastic as well, I like a few of their fragrances. I can keep going on and on, I love the fragrance!
Thank you Darren for taking the time out to answer these questions.
Men, let’s admit it, previously we have often overlooked the importance of good skincare. Thankfully nowadays we are beginning to see an increase in men who genuinely take an interest in this area and more and more clinics around the country are creating treatments geared towards the male client. I recently visited Aesthetica in Edinburgh to see what treatments they have to offer for men’s skincare.
Aesthetica, is an aesthetic medicine, cosmetic surgery and beauty therapy clinic lead by founders Dr Liliana Laird and Jacque Fenner. It is located in the west end of Edinburgh and situated in a quant basement setting underneath the streets of New Town. On entering, the clinic opens up into numerous different rooms and provides a relaxed and tranquil space.
The clinic has recently launched their new Man Plan, a dedicated webpage detailing information and the treatments to suit all men’s aesthetic needs. From skin peels, anti-wrinkle injections and mole removals, there are lots of treatments available which you can view here. If you are a tad dubious about what treatment to choose from or you require further information, the clinic offers complimentary consultations for all procedures.
My skin at this time of the year, always feels a little lack-lustre, so I opted for their Black Tie Facial. This 60 minute bespoke facial uses a combination of Medik8 and ZO Skin Health products and aims to nourish, hydrate and invigorate the skin. This is perfect for an instant skin pick me up, especially during these cold winter months.
I was treated by the lovely Emma Smillie who is one of the Clinic’s Aesthetic Practitioner. Emma who has worked within the industry since 2005 has travelled the world working in various areas gathering knowledge along the way. You could tell how passionate she was the minute I walked through the door. She described the Black Tie Facial as “suitable for all skin types and excellent for a range of concerns as it can be completely tailored to suit each individual”.
After a quick questionnaire and consultation with my therapist I was ready to experience the Black Tie Facial.
Cleanse – My face was cleansed using Medik8’s Surface Radiance Cleanser. I use this product at home and absolutely love it. Not only does it contain numerous acids to help with tone and textural issues, it also contains Mangosteen and Raspberry which are renowned for their anti-oxidant protection properties.
Exfoliate – I love a good exfoliation and this part of the process provided exactly that. ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Polish was gently massaged into my face, stimulating the skin and removing dead skin cells. The texture was quite granular and left my face feeling invigorated and cleansed.
Peel – ZO Skin Health Peel Prep was applied to my skin to remove excess surface oil so that the subsequent peel could be applied evenly. ZO Skin Health Stimulator was then applied to my face for a few minutes. This peel contains a trio of AHA: Citric, Lactic and Glycolic to aid cell turn over and reveal a radiant complexion. On application, there was a slight tingle but this soon subsided and the whole process was comfortable and relaxing.
Neutralise – In order for the deactivate the peel, ZO Skin Health Neutraliser was applied to my face.
Mask & Massage – A cooling ZO Skin Health Brightening Sheet Masque was then laid on my face. Its ingredients of Aloe Vera and Green Tea help to soothe and hydrate the skin and brighten up the complexion.
While the masque got to work, I was also treated to a fantastic shoulder massage.
LED Light Therapy – I have had this a few times and absolutely love it and it is said to have many benefits! The Red Light is said to stimulate collagen and elastin, DNA Synthesis, boost fibroblasts growth and strengthen the skin.
The Blue light has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits, helping reduce any redness after the treatment. I was given 10 minutes of the red light and 5 minutes of the blue along with a relaxing head massage.
Hydrate – As the last step, Medik8’s Post Treatment Moisturiser and a broad spectrum SPF was applied to my face.
I found my visit to Aesthetica both relaxing and informative. Emma was able to guide me through each of the steps and explain the different ingredients and how they worked to benefit the skin. The inclusion of the shoulder and scalp massages were an added bonus and truly made the whole process relaxing. Not only was my skin left glowing and supple but I also felt extremely de-stressed and invigorated. What surprised me was that there was no redness or skin irritation after the peel, so with no downtime, this is a perfect treatment before an important event or occasion.
Black tie facial – £80
3A-4B Randolph Place
0131 281 1251
The Balmoral is one of my favourite hotels in Scotland and I have previously spoken about it in my article for Guild Magazine. It may be known for its elegant rooms, commanding architecture and its prominent mark on the Edinburgh skyline. However what people may not know is that beneath its floors lies a treasure trove of wellness and recuperation. Descend the hotel’s golden elevator and the doors open to reveal a tranquil retreat that both residents and non-residents can enjoy. The small reception opens up into a spacious spa with a swimming pool, gym, treatment rooms, steam room and sauna.
Swimming pool, Steam room and Sauna.
The recently revamped state of the art steam room and sauna located at the far end of the swimming pool is the perfect place to unwind. Situated adjacent to each other and separated by a shower area, the steam room and sauna have been an utter godsend for yours truly. Not only do they help ease my muscles, but they are great for circulation which is fantastic at this time of the year.
The new décor of navy blue and gold accessories have added a more contemporary flair to the area.
The 15-metre swimming pool is perfect for relaxing in or swimming laps. What I love about this swimming pool is that it is always at the perfect temperature.
The surrounding lounge beds provide such comfort, enabling you can lay back and relax or read your favourite book or magazine.
I especially enjoy the tranquil seating area where you can enjoy numerous complimentary hot drinks, Scottish mineral water infused with seasonal fruit and an array of smoothies, drinks and food that can be purchased via the reception.
Within the wellness area are numerous treatment rooms offering an array of treatments catered to your every need. Even though these rooms seem to be in close proximity of the central area, each room is a tucked away so that you can enjoy your treatment without hearing the outside world.
With soft music in the background, glimmering candles and an array of scents that linger in the air, these rooms provide a tranquil safe haven that are the perfect place to de-stress and unwind. There are two main skincare brands used within the spa. Firstly, Irene Forte skincare which is a range of luxury natural products handmade in Italy and created by Wellness Director at Rocco Forte Hotels, Irene Forte. As well as renowned brand Ishga who use seaweed sourced from the Hebridean Islands of Scotland.
I chose a a bespoke facial using the Irene Forte range. The Irene Forte Facial is a personalised facial tailored to suit your skin’s needs. There are three to choose from: Forte Purifier, Forte Brightener and Forte Hydrator. If your skin requires a combination then these treatments can be adapted.
After completing a consultation and discussing it with my therapist we decided to go for the Forte Hydrator, because my skin felt a tad lack-lustre and a little dry. My therapist gave me chose of two oils to smell. I had to choose which I preferred to be used in my treatment, I of course chose orange blossom. With the candles lit and my body settled into the comfortable bed I already felt my tensions ease away. Due to the fact that the Irene Forte skincare is inspired by Sicily a small Sicilian bell is rung before the facial, which is said to calm and relax the mind, it certainly made me feel extremely relaxed.
Cleanse: Firstly my face was cleansed with Irene Forte Almond Cleansing Milk. This hydrating cleanser contains Almond, Olive, Rose and Jojoba Oil along with soothing Aloe Vera juice. It was great to take in the beautiful aroma as this was massaged onto my face and the nourishing texture really sunk into the skin.
Tone: The Irene Forte Helichrysum Hyaluronic Toner was then used. This toner prepares the skin for the remaining products and includes Hyaluronic Acid which is an ingredient known for its hydrating skincare properties
Exfoliate: Irene Forte Almond Face Scrub was gently massaged onto my skin. Unlike some other exfoliators that can feel too harsh on the skin, this felt nourishing and very moisturising. The Almond Face Scrub is filled with Almond and Hazelnut granules, Aloe leaf juice, Hyaluronic acid as well as Olive, Avocado and Shea oil. This was then followed by my previously chosen Orange Blossom Face oil which is used to brighten and tone the skin.
Mask and Massage: The Irene Forte Pistachio Face Mask was layered on the skin and felt immediately comforting. This age-defying mask is full of Antioxidant-rich ingredients and replenishing oils and again has a fragrance to die for. This was accompanied by a relaxing shoulder massage using the Orange Blossom Body Oil.
Moisturise: A trio of different product was used as the final part of the treatment. The Hibiscus Serum was applied first which lifts, hydrated and minimises fine lines and wrinkles. This was followed by the Prickly Pear Face Cream full of rich nutrients and anti-oxidants and finishing with Almond eye & lip cream.
I found this facial extremely relaxing and it was a great introduction to the Irene Forte skincare brand. I especially loved choosing my desired oil at the start, which added a sensory interactive experience to the treatment. The additional shoulder massage was a great way to include a relaxing aspect to the facial and left me feeling very de-stressed. My skin felt extremely supple and glowing afterwards and it’s definitely one I would do again, especially in the winter months when my skin suffers the most.
After a long period of not visiting the gym, I thought I would also sign up to there in house personal training, Will Power Personal Training. Keep your eye on my next blog post to find out how I have been getting on.
I don’t know about you but when it comes to finding gifts for men I used to find it very difficult to choose. Thankfully, men have now become much more aware of how important skincare is and there are lots of products out there that make the perfect skincare stocking filler.
HOUSE 99 by David Beckham
Face Moisturiser Greater Look – This multi-effect formula helps hydrate the skin and reduce shine whilst protecting it from pollution. I especially love how even though it has lightweight texture it still manages to keep the skin moisturised throughout the day. 75ml – £22.00 at house99.co.uk
Medik8 For Men
CSA Philosophy Kit Essential Edition – Renowned award-winning indie skincare brand Medik8 have recently launched this skincare kit for men which contains everything you need for younger-looking radiant skin. The kit contains their surface radiant cleanser, daily radiance Vitamin C with SPF and Night Ritual Vitamin A, a perfect combination that is effective yet easy to use. £99.00 at medik8.com
Creme Du Loch
Age-defying Daily Moisturiser – With a unique blend of minerals, anti-oxidants and vitamins, this cruelty free and vegan friendly moisturiser makes the perfect gift. The star ingredient is Scottish Kelp which is a natural superfood for the skin, tackling any dryness, breakouts, fine lines and wrinkles. The texture appears light and airy, but on application the skin feels extremely hydrated and healthy and its cucumber fragrance appeals to all sexes. 50ml – £49.00 at cremeduloch.com
Acqua Di Parma – Barbiere Range
Soft Shaving Cream – If your father prefers the traditional method of shaving with a brush then the soft shaving cream is the perfect choice. This rich cream is formulated with pomegranate seed oil, lemon oil, extract of basil and hyaluronic acid which helps prevent irritation and reddening.125ml – £47.00 at acquadiparma.com
Shaving Gel – This shaving gel is for those men who favour a quicker shave without the irritation. This luxurious gel immediately transforms into a refreshing and creamy lather for an ultra-comfortable shave. 150ml – £31.00 at acquadiparma.com
Hydrating Daily Moisturiser – Not only does this moisturiser hydrate and nourish with Hyaluronic acid, Jojoba oil and Vitamin E, it is also packed with an anti-aging peptide called Matrixl. This active ingredient is said to stimulate collagen production in turn improving elasticity and helping to smooth those pesky little lines. I have previously spoke about this brand before on my blog which you can read here. 75ml – £47.00 at otiskincare.com
Kennedy & Co by Darren Kennedy
Purifying Peat Face Scrub – this deep cleansing and exfoliant scrub infused with the power of peat is a fantastic addition to any mans skin care regime. It unclogs looks, removed dead skin sells and wakes up the skin leaving it refreshed and renewed. €12.95 from kennedycogrooming.com