World’s Best Décolletage Cream

mma001_mamamio_boobtubebustneckfirmingcream_100ml_sizedproduct_800x960During my mid-20s, I started noticing (with a fair amount of disdain, I might add) some fine creases developing on the surface of my décolletage. Since those pesky little lines were most prominent in the mornings and took a while to ‘fade’, I couldn’t help but think that my preferred foetal sleeping position (pretty much curled up in a ball) was to blame. (If I am being completely honest with myself, though, I’m sure my years of sun-tanning and of course the inevitable decrease in skin elasticity as we grow older, have played their parts as well.)

Whatever the cause, I needed a solution! After seeing many dermatologists and trying what could easily have been 20 (very expensive) product ranges, I came across the international cult favourite Mama Mio Boob Tube Bust & Neck Firmer. After about four to five nights of applying a generous amount of this cream to my décolletage, I saw a noticeable difference: my skin looked firmer, smoother and significantly younger in the morning. It was almost as if the magic ingredients in this product kept my skin from forming lines during the night-time in said curled-up foetal position. If you’re looking for a miracle potion to tighten, firm or smooth out your bust/neck area, this is as close as I believe you’re going to get. Try it.

Featured In Vogue, Heat, Allure, OK!, The Daily Telegraph, Glamour (to name a few).

PS If you don’t believe me (or the magazine clippings shown above), perhaps you’ll take Jessica Alba’s word for it: apparently, she’s a die-hard fan. The best part? This range, originally developed for pregnant mommies-to-be, is completely organic and free of harmful chemicals. That’s a major bonus, in my books. Any cons? The dispensing mechanism for this lotion could be better, as the pumps on Mamo Mio products sometimes stop working after a few uses. Price Approximately £29.50 or the equivalent in your national currency.

STOCKISTS

Cape Town Dante Wellness Spa, Sea Point. mama-mio-boob-tube-bust-neck-firmer-[2]-1963-p

Other Check out the Mamo Mio website to find your nearest stockist or order online.

World’s Best Hairdryer

Parlux RedIf you haven’t yet discovered the hairdryer brand, Parlux, prepare to get blown away (silly pun intended). I was introduced to this super powerful and incredibly efficient hairdryer by my hairdresser a few years ago and I’ve never looked back. What’s more, I subsequently started noticing that each and every hair salon I’ve visited (whether in London, New York or Cape Town) uses Parlux, and only Parlux, hairdryers. No wonder it’s seen as the No 1 choice of hair care professionals.

Once you’ve used it, you’ll see what all the fuss is about. A word of warning, though: you’ll probably end up like me, lugging it around with you wherever you go (all other hairdryers, especially the ones in hotels, simply don’t compare). There are various models but the one which has gained the most international awards and media attention is the Parlux 3200 Compact which features a super-powerful 1900 watts motor, yet weighs only 490grams. I call it The Little Hairdryer That Could.

Awards In Style Best Beauty Buys Winner 2012, Your Hair Awards Winner 2012, Hair Awards 2012.

Stockists

SA Try your nearest Partners Hair Design (there’s a branch in the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town) that stocks them.

International Buy online at www.parlux.co.uk (if you live in the UK) or www.parluxus.com (if you live in the USA).

World’s Best Self-Tanner

grad_tan_body_US

Despite the known dangers of sun exposure, I refused for many years to use self-tanning products: they were messy, stinky and almost always looked obvious. This includes the big brand-name products whom I won’t name and shame here. At one stage, I would only associate myself with self-tan if I had it done at a professional salon, applied by a professional beautician, for a (VERY) special event. Even then, sprinting out of the salon (post-spray), hoping nobody will catch you in your tracksuit looking like you’ve just lost a mud fight, is not my idea of a relaxing spa treatment. Not to mention the drying time, the no-showering time and the general disruption of your day.

All of this changed when I stumbled across the St Tropez Gradual Tan Everyday Body Moisturizer Medium/Dark during time spent in the USA. This product works like a moisturizer, which you simply apply before bedtime, as you would any old moisturizer. It takes about three minutes to dry and won’t stain your sheets. Best of all, you’ll wake up looking ever-so-gently sun-kissed, with no streaky bits and no bad smell (it does have a slight scent, but not one that’s offensive).

Awards Winner of Elle Beauty Awards, Company Beauty Awards and InStyle Best Beauty Buys.

Who is it for? Anyone who wants to slowly build up a golden tan. Note: this product is not for anyone who wants to resemble Miss Hawaiian Tropics or Ross in that Friends episode.

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Application Exfoliate well before massaging this luxurious lotion in from top to toe. Don’t worry if you go over the same area twice, it’s only missed areas that’ll look uneven. Wait for the lotion to be absorbed before getting dressed and remember to wash the palms of your hands and in between your fingers after use. Use daily for a subtle golden boost to winter or sun-tanned skin. Don’t apply to broken, irritated or sensitive skin.

Stockists

SA Most large Clicks outlets stock the St Tropez range.

International You will find this product at all leading department store beauty departments and certain spas across the globe. If you want to have it delivered to your door, visit www.st-tropez.com to place your order.

World’s Best Tweezers

Struggling to find that perfect tweezer for quick brow touch-ups in between waxing/threading appointments? Struggle no more. If you haven’t yet discovered the original, award-winning Tweezerman Slant, your life is about to change. The perfectly aligned, hand-filed tips are slanted to grab every hair, every time with the smoothest, true precision.tweezerman

Available in a fabulous range of colours & wonderfully kitsch animal prints. I’ve heard they sell them at Dis-Chem in South Africa, although I bought mine a year or so ago in London (at the Selfridges Beauty Department). You will never use another tweezer.

Awards Allure Best of Beauty Award for the last 10 years; InStyle Best Beauty Awards from 2001 to 2005 and 2007 to 2010.

World’s Best Daily Exfoliator

Let’s be clear: I am an avid, die-hard, unreasonably loyal Dermalogica fan. There are one or two products that don’t work for my skin type, but – overall – I am a huge fan of this brand and recommend it to anyone who’ll listen. Having gotten that out of my system, my favourite Dermalogica product is hands-down the Daily Microfoliant.

545-693-thickboxAs the name says, this exfoliating powder is gentle enough to be used daily. Simply mix half a teaspoon with some water to create a deliciously soft and crumbly exfoliating paste, lathering it onto skin in circular motions, leaving it to work for a minute, before rinsing off. This skincare wonder leaves skin instantly smoother and brighter, ready to soak up your daily moisturizer. Each time I use this product, my boyfriend comments on how good my skin looks. This is a particularly great product to use (always on a cleansed face) after long-haul flights when your skin needs a serious polish.

World’s Best No-Nasties Skin Care Range

or_0GPT01_300In my later years (well, let’s be honest, my late twenties…I am only 30!) I have become more and more environmentally conscious and, in some respects, a complete sucker for anything organic. Once you start reading up on petrochemicals, the harm they do to our planet and, equally disturbingly, the harm they do to your body, I can guarantee that you’ll start to think twice.

If you’re like me & have started leaning towards injecting your system with more all-good, no-nasties products and less chemically-enhanced big-brand products, you will find Origins a dream come true. Whilst the brand is not strictly speaking “certified organic”, all Origins products are formulated with natural and certified organic ingredients as well as 100 per cent natural essential oils. None of the products contain parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, mineral oil, PABA, petroleum, paraffin, DEA or animal ingredients. I don’t know about you, but that alone makes me rest super easy when using Origins on my skin.

I really can’t say enough good things about this brand, available at most high-end department stores like Selfridges in London. If you’re keen to try it out, but don’t know where to start, I can personally vouch for the award-winning A Perfect World SPF 25 Age Defence Moisturizer with White Tea (light as a feather & exquisitely soft), Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash (for combination skin) and the Modern Friction gentle exfoliator. The Ginger Souffle Whipped Body Cream and Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask (both award winning products) are equally amazing.

World’s Best Beauty Gadget

ClarisonicFor years, I have battled with problem skin (which, my dermatologist has assured me over and over again, is a secret age-defying blessing). However, there is nothing glamorous about looking like an adolescent when you’re over 30.

As far as gimmicks go (and I have tried a few) the best experience I’ve had is with the Clarisonic Mia device. Once you’ve washed your face with this baby, there’s no going back! It’s like discovering an electric toothbrush after years of using a regular one. No wonder that this relatively new product has already become a worldwide sensation. It has been shown to cleanse skin eight times more thoroughly than face wash alone, with its gentle exfoliation allowing all other lotions & potions to penetrate skin more deeply and effectively. PS My boyfriend will kill me for saying this, but after catching him use mine one too many times, I resorted to getting him his own for our one-year anniversary. Perhaps not the most romantic gift, but boy is it a useful one!

Stockists Selfridges in London, Macy’s in New York City. Alternatively, use Clarisonic’s Location Finder to find a stockist near you.

Awards ‘Best Skin Device’ in Glamour Best of Beauty Awards 2012.