Net-a-porter sets its sights on billion dollar sneaker industry with #TheSneakerSet

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you trainers are cool right now. We traded in our heels seasons ago and there’s been no going back.  The footwear of choice for fashion editors, rap stars and millennials these days it’s acceptable to wear them for work, rest and play. And our feet are all the happier for it.

For retailers this has meant big, big business.  Projected to be worth $95.14 billion by 2025 the industry has been fuelled by social media and Gen-Zers. 

You only need to walk through the Selfridges shoe department to see all the big names have got in on the soft sole action. Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Chloe, Stella McCartney and Balenciaga to name but a few have all entered the arena. 

Having seen the trainer market go through the roof they’ve all made a fierce entry into the market.

Gucci's 'worn look' trainers

And we went for it hook line and sinker. Gucci now sell ‘worn look’ trainers for £875.  And they are selling like hot cakes.

What do you mean you don’t get it?

Balenciaga's Triple S logo-embroidered sneakers

And Balenciaga’s ugly dad style Triple S logo trainers retail at £695 a pop and have an uncanny habit of selling out the minute the launch.

Nope, not these either???

Net-a-porter launch #TheSneakerSet

Designer clothing site Net-a-porter are selling so many trainers they’ve launched a new campaign dedicated to them.  Last year they sold ten times the amount of trainers they sold in 2012.  The #TheSneakerSet has over 500 exciting and original new sneaker styles with collaborations from the likes of Victoria Beckham and Gigi Hadid. 

Talking to Graziadaily Elizabeth von der Goltz, Net-a-porter’s global buying director explained: “The oversized ‘Dad’ sneaker has been dominating the street style scene for several seasons and the latest styles from Reebok x Victoria Beckham and newly launched brand Shoes 53045 will definitely keep this trend alive. In addition, this season we are seeing a strong return to cleaner silhouettes and retro styles – a sleeker option to pair back with elevated basics or a sharply tailored suit to give your look a cool and bold twist.”

To stay ahead of the game major sports brands are striking up deals with the likes of Pharrell Williams and Kanye West releasing limited-edition footwear collections. Kanye’s Yeezy shoes are so sought after British shoppers were queuing around the block for his latest iteration which cost £180.

When Nike teamed up with Sacai Net-a-porter sold 2000 pairs within 3 hours of the launch. Similar Adidas X Khaite were one of the sites fastest selling collaborations to date. 

The Hypebests have been all over this shizz for years of course.  Re-sellers as young as 16 have made upwards of $1m simply by getting their hands on high-demand limited edition trainers and flipping them for profit. Yup, makes city traders look like dinosaurs.

But it’s not just sales of brand new shiny (or expensive ‘worn look’) sneakers that are going through the roof.  We are seeing truly expeditious growth in the re-sale market which is growing at even faster and equally lucrative rate.  Experts believe the secondary sneaker market is worth anywhere from $300 million to $1 billion. 

StockX an exchange style trading platform for ‘sneaker heads’ is estimated to be worth £5.5bn a year. Billing themselves as a ‘stock market for things’ the site enables the likes of you and me to speculate on the most sought after shoes as if they are shares in a quoted company.

Talking to guardian.com Josh Luber, a former IBM consultant who co-founded StockX with US billionaire Dan Gilbert 4 years ago explains:

“A stock market is the most efficient way to create a market price for any asset.  We have brought the efficiency and transparency [of that model] to make it easier to buy products where supply and demand is constrained.”

And apparently we have Instagram to thank. 

“The growth that we see today is down to the arrival of Instagram,” says Luber. “All sneakerheads ever wanted to do was show off their shoes and see what other people are wearing. Brands are bringing in fashion designers and artists to make shoes: Kaws [the American artist and designer Brian Donnelly] does shoes with Nike so it crosses many different parts of culture.”

According to Luber London is the centre of the European sneaker world.  The London depot is full of boxes of trainers piled to the ceiling that will probably never be worn as traders speculate whether the value will increase. 

But StockX is just one of several shoe resellers including Stadium Goods that have become multi-million dollar companies over the past few years.  With the industry projected to be worth $95.14 billion by 2025 expect to see more enter the arena. And in the meantime keep you eyes peeled for designer collaborations, celebrity launches and limited edition releases. They could prove to more lucrative than your pension!


Kendall Jenner's 'Ciao Kendall' collection for Reserved has arrived

Model-of-the-moment Kendall Jenner is the face of Reserved's chic new #CiaoKendall collection. Arguably the brands biggest campaign signing to date the fashion tour de force follows in the footsteps of Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, Adwoa Aboah and Irina Shayk.

The Polish high street brand know how to harness the power of celebrity and something tells me the icon of contemporary culture is going to shift a lot of clothing.

#CiaoKendall for Reserved

Currently in pole position of the Forbes best paid model list Kendall carries a lot of clout. Largely thanks to her 116m Instagram followers and because she comes from reality TV royalty.

So back to the campaign. It really is rather good. This is Kendall at her best smouldering for the camera, taking on different guises and looking much more womanly than we’ve seen her before.

#CiaoKendall for Reserved

For their AW19/20 campaign Reserved have transported us to a baroque Italian villa where Kendall can be seen daydreaming and playing the part of various different characters. The playful pictures show her dancing seductively for the camera, lounging semi naked on sofas and generally looking rather amazing.

Directed by Gordon Von Steiner, who has worked with the likes of Prada and Gucci, Jenner is transformed into iconic on-screen stars Sophia Loren in ‘Marriage, Italia Style' and Natalie Portman in 'Léon'.

#CiaoKendall for Reserved

Oh and the clothes are really rather lovely too. highlights include a pink midi skirt, an oversized turquoise and pink coat, a pretty pale pink midi dress and a puff sleeve floral blouse. The #CiaoKendall collection also includes cool gold chain jewellery pieces, knee high snake print boots and stylish handbags.

Puff sleeve blouse £34.99 #CiaoKendall for Reserved

If this doesn't make you want to go shopping then nothing will. www.reserved.com

Coach X Tabitha Simmons has arrived

Coach has collaborated with designer Tabitha Simmons on an exciting must-have collection of accessories.

Coach X Tabitha Simmons combines the brands all-American attitude with Tabitha’s playful approach to feminine style.

Coach X Tabitha Simmons

Inspired by her English heritage and worldwide travels, former Vogue editor, model and stylist Tabitha Simmons launched her line of elegant footwear in 2009. An award-winning designer and fashion-industry favourite, Simmons combines couture craftsmanship with playful embellishments to give her eponymous collections their unique personality.

Coach X Tabitha Simmons

The Coach X Tabitha Simmons collection, featuring cross-body bags, Chelsea boots and pointy flats, is guaranteed to sell out fast. Tabitha’s trademark Henrietta flats are available in a floral, snake and patchwork print for as little as £135.

Coach X Tabitha Simmons

Other must-haves include a statement black cross-body 17 with rivets for £395.

Coach X Tabitha Simmons

Describing the collection Tabitha revealed, “I love the contrast between the whimsical feminine florals and a little bit of punk and edginess.”

Check out the full collection here at coach.com

Celebrity stylist Angie Smith has curated her ultimate edit for FatFace

She's the celeb stylist behind the red carpet looks worn by the likes of Holly Willoughby, Laura Whitmore, Christine Lampard and Rochelle Wiseman.

 

Stylist Angie Smith is quite simply a fashion tour de force. With her finger firmly on the fashion pulse she's a successful image consultant for a brands as well as working closely with her long list of celeb clients.

 

ITV's golden girl and style icon Holly Willoughby praises Angie for pushing her to try new things and attributes her enviable style to working closely with Angie.

Angie Smith has curated her ultimate edit for FatFace

 

“Its important that clothes are wearable, workable as well as being versatile. My edit focuses on pieces that you can’t live without. Add them to your wardrobe and these styles will become firm favourites for every season.”

So it's easy to see why FatFace have enlisted her expertise to curate an edit of six looks from their latest collection, which can be shopped online at FatFace.com now - and we think you're really going to like them.

These are wearable wardrobe basics that you can wear with confidence knowing they've been styled by an expert.

Speaking about the outfit in the main picture (above) Angie says, "I love how this shirt feels like something you would find in a vintage shop."

She adds, "Cord is a classic. Style it up as your would denim and never be afraid to double up."

"Mustard is super easy to wear and an amazing pop of colour to lift your wardrobe."

"Mustard is super easy to wear and an amazing pop of colour to lift your wardrobe."

"This is your weekend jumper."

"This is your weekend jumper."

"Leave the tie undone for a casual and comfy look or cinch in the waistline for a stylish evening look."

"Leave the tie undone for a casual and comfy look or cinch in the waistline for a stylish evening look."

"This is quite literally the perfect dungaree."    The Stylist Edit By Angie Smith is available from FatFace stores nationwide and online at  www.fatface.com

"This is quite literally the perfect dungaree."

The Stylist Edit By Angie Smith is available from FatFace stores nationwide and online at www.fatface.com

The £12.99 Zara bodysuit Rosie Huntington-Whiteley can't live without

With an impressive 10 million Instagram followers model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has established herself as quite the modern style icon. 

Not surprisingly her arm of loyal fans follow her every fashion move and can't get enough of her daily outfit posts.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

The 32-year-old mum of one is a big fan of designer labels and is photographed in everything from Saint Laurent to Chloe and Bottega Veneta. 

But her most recent fashion must-have is a halterneck body from Zara that costs £12.99.

Zara bodysuit

Rosie loves it so much she owns in every colour. Over the past month we've seen her wearing the white, nude and black version.

The simple body is in keeping with her sleek, pared back style and fits effortlessly into her designer wardrobe.

Rosie has teamed the bodysuit with a sleek black pencil skirt, a pair of boyish cut Isabel Marant trousers and a flowing white Chloe skirt.

The body suit gives a smooth silhouette and is perfect for wearing alone or layering underneath sheer blouses and slinky knits.

Rosie also owns a £1,060 bodysuit by The Row that is strikingly similar, but for £12.99 I'll be sticking to the Zara version.

How to find the perfect pair of sunglasses to suit your face shape

I don’t need to tell you sunglasses are a gift from the heavens.

With the right shape, size, colour and fit they can drastically lift the look and mood. What other accessory can provide such confidence, glamour and privacy?

Thanks to an airport shopping habit I own about 30 pairs which is a bit excessive but I love them all.

After years of buying expensive designer frames I recently visited eye wear designer Alexis Amor who helped me find the perfect frames. Not only can I now see better than I have in years he made me see how wrong I’d been getting it for all these years. None of my glasses really suited me. So with a summer holiday looming I asked him to help me find the perfect pair of sunglasses. I don’t think there are hard and fast rules per se, but I do think armed with some expert tips you can find a pair you love that flatter your face shape.

Firstly, Amor recommends shoppers to trust their instinct. "Go for the styles and colours that you are naturally drawn to. Then, for goodness’ sake, try them on. The size is critical, and my guide should be followed religiously.

"All glasses should make your head look slightly smaller and will be far more flattering for it. The arms should go back in a straight line without bowing out and they should not squeeze too tight - a sure sign of being too small."

There are some basic rules to apply when considering face shapes, and Amor advises that "Eyebrows can show but not too much - if they do show, the sunglasses will look best if they follow the contour of the brow.

"Whatever the shape, sunglasses are there to complement not accentuate. Round sunglasses on a round face or square on square etc. are a no-no."

So there you have it - expert advice to ensure you find your perfect match. Below we have also selected the best shapes for your face type to help you get started.

Finding the right sunglasses for your face shape

Round Face:

Classic large square plastic styles work brilliantly on rounder faces - they will positively highlight the softness of the wearer’s jawline.

Black Havana Tortoise  'Coco', £245, Alexis Amor

'Coco' Alexis Amor
New Look

Oval face:

Cat-Eye sunglasses provide a great contrast and lift to oval faces.

Square tortoise shell cat eye sunglasses, £15.99, Zara

Zara
'Valentine' Alexis Amor

Square face:

Aviator styles will work well on squarer faces as will the rounder classic shapes - make sure they’re wide enough and they’ll be perfect. See Robin.

Aviator sunglasses, £15, M&S

M&S
'Ava' Alexis Amor

A good optical or sunglass store with the right equipment will be able to offer skilled custom fittings for your glasses - Alexis Amor do this in store for every customer.

Without this bespoke service, the glasses will probably not look their best. And nor will you!

How Kate Middleton has (subtly) upper her fashion game

Since stepping into the spotlight the Duchess of Cambridge has established herself as an international style icon. Lauded for her impeccable dress sense she’s honed her image to perfection.  

But there’s no disputing 2019 has been her year.  There’s a new glow surrounding the Duchess and her fashion choices have garnered more praise than ever.

Subtle changes to her trademark look have elevated her style to a new level and she’s looking more confident than ever.  

Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 10.57.10.png

So what’s behind this change of gear?  It’s hard to pinpoint what’s new as the changes have been incredibly subtle.  The Duchess hasn’t deviated far from her signature style, she just seems to have modernised it.

For starters the Duchess has widened her scope of go-to designers making way for some more daring choices. 

The stunning dusky pink Gucci chiffon gown she wore to the V&A in February was Oscar worthy.  With her hair worn in tumbling curls and pulled over one shoulder she looked like a Hollywood A-lister.  Tuesdays cornflower blue Elie Saab Ascot gown was another sign that Kate’s enjoying experimenting with new styles. A fitted green Emilia Wickstead dress was another fashion highlight. 

Kate Middleton at Ascot

Interestingly when the Duchess stepped out wearing a Gucci pussy bow blouse in March everyone assumed she’s worn it back to front by mistake. But this was simply a confident styling decision made by the Duchess who thought it looked better worn the other way round. 

Wearing labels like Gucci, Missoni and Elie Saab have definitely added to the opinion she’s having a ‘fashion moment’. 

The past few months have also shown there are many sides to Kate. To unveil her Back To Nature Garden at this years Chelsea Flower show she wore a pair of Massimo Duitti culottes with a crisp white MIH floral shirt and a pair of white Superga plimsols. Looking every inch the off-duty mum this was a project she enjoyed and Kate had clearly dressed to have a fun day with her family.  Later that day Kate changed into a long Erdem dress teamed with a pair of casual wedges in keeping with her relaxed informal mood.  Perhaps it’s this ability the ability to dress for all occasions we love about her most. It’s relatively easy to look good in an expensive designer dress but when you’re in the spot light walking along a beach it’s a different matter. The true testimony to Kate’s style is how manages to look just as happy dressed in a navy parker and her faithful old Penelope Chilvers boots as when she’s wearing McQueen.

Interestingly the Duchess has worn a lot of trousers this year perhaps symbolising she’s taken control of her image.  A pair of black Jigsaw wide leg trousers made a reappearance and Kate wore a pair of skinny jeans and high heeled boots on a visit to North Wales. 

Another style note worth making is that Kate has finally traded in her trusty nude court shoes for more elegant designer heels.  A decision to recycle a Barbara Cassola dress to a charity dinner this month was elevated thanks to pair of silver sparkly Jimmy Choo heels. And a polka dot Alessandra Rich silk dress worn on D-Day looked even better second time round thanks to a pair of powder blue Gianvito Rossi heels.  And while Kate’s heel height may have gone up her hemlines seem to have come down. Her dress coats now seem to fall slightly lower on the knee and she’s also been wearing more fashionable midi lengths. 

Some have attributed to the Duchess’s new oomph to her new stylist Ginnie Chadwick-Healey who is covering her long-time PA and stylish Natasha Archer whilst she’s on maternity leave.

However it could simply be that Kate’s exuding the quiet air of confidence the comes with being a 37-year-old mother, wife and respected senior member of the royal family and future Queen consort.

Susan Kelly from website whatkatewore comments, “The Duchess's style has been more fashion-forward the last six to twelve months and there is one term that sums up Kate exploring more adventurous styles: self-confidence. This self-assurance has been increasingly apparent; it was evident at public appearances related to the Back to Nature garden she co-designed for the Chelsea Flower Show. The Duchess's self-assurance has been growing for some time, visible in a wide range of activities, be it the increase of public speaking roles or her radiance in the Alexander McQueen gown worn for the recent state dinner. The Duchess not only looks comfortable with her public commitments; she looks like she is flourishing”. 

Far from changing her style it could simply be the case that she’s settled into it. 

The retinol revolution: everything you need to know

One of the most revered products in the beauty industry used properly and with the right know how this product really is game changer. 

So here’s everything you need to know about retinol from how it works to why and how you should be using it. 

Amber Graafland

So for starters, what is Retinol?

Retinol belongs to a class of compounds known as retinoids. These agents are derived from vitamin A, an ingredient that increases cell turnover and enhances collagen production.  Not only does it impressively decrease wrinkles but it’s lauded for its ability to clear up acne and blur pigmentation caused by sun damage.

How does it work?

As a person ages, collagen and cell production slow down, but retinol helps to encourage cell regeneration and ensure that new collagen continues to form.  As collagen is replenished and old skin cells are shed, fine lines recede and skin appears brighter and smoother.

Retinol accelerates natural desquamation, smooths away wrinkles and skin irregularities by stimulating cellular regeneration.

It also has a deeper action on the dermis by stimulating the synthesis of collagen and GAGs and inhibits MMPs (matrix metalloproteinases), responsible for the degradation of dermal fibers (collagen and elastin).

Dr Pamela Benito, facial aesthetics expert also explains, “Retinol reactivates the skin renewal process and can be a great primer to prepare skin for chemical peels and other medical procedures.”

Dr Pamela Benito

When should you apply it?

Retinol breaks down in sunlight and exposure to UV light renders it less active.

Also cell turn over and regeneration happens whilst you sleep so it’s recommended to apply retinol as part of your evening skin care routine.

Dr Pamela Benito advices, “Retinol can be destabilised by UV and it may make skin more sensitive to the sun so it is highly recommended to wear daily SPF50. Also when paired with other antioxidants it helps to defend the skin from free radicals and environmental damage.”

How should you apply it?

To avoid your face falling retinol should be built up gradually.  This is what dermatologists refer to as the retinol ladder. If you apply too much too soon you can end up with redness and dry patches. 

So for starters aim to apply it once a week, building it up to two or three times and see how your skin reacts. The aim is to gradually introduce the ingredient and allow your skin to build a tolerance.

Make sure you are not using an other products that contain retinol. This is where I went wrong. I was unaware that my cleanser contained a low level of Retinol so the combination ended up being lethal.

A useful tip is to mix it with your moisturiser to dilute it a bit.

Another important thing you need to know about is that if you're using Retinol you HAVE to wear a high factors SPF during the day to protect your skin from UV.

Experts also recommend you use it 3 months, then to take a three month break. This is due to research that suggests cell turnover is no longer increased after 3 months of retinol usage.

What should I use?

OK so it’s important to know that not all retinol products work the same and deliver the same results. And sadly it’s not as simple as looking at the precentage. This is where the confusion creeps in. Formulation is everything. Retinol is sensitive to air and light, so it’s all about how its encapsulated.  An increasing amount of beauty brands are formulating products with encapsulated retinol, which is delivered to the skin alongside a slew of other skin-perfecting ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and ceramides. They act like a buffer preventing some of the negative side effects. 

As a result people with sensitive skin who previously struggled with Retinol can now use products containing a time released Retinol making them gentler on the skin and less likely to cause irritation.  The results being flawless NOT flaky skin.

Medik8 have just released the Rolls Royce of retinol creams R-Retinoate Intense.    It’s the first time their most powerful forms of vitamin A have been both stabilised and combined into one product. This new formulation utilises exclusive retinol retinoate and revolutionary retinaldehyde.

Medik8 Brothers Elliot and Daniel Isaacs call it their finest achievement to date.  “It is quite simply the best anti-ageing product we have ever made, and by far the most exciting vitamin A product on the market.”

The all-in-one cream features a total of 3 patented and patent-pending technologies but at £210 it doesn’t come cheap.  But when it comes to Retinol it does seem to be a case of getting what you pay for.

That’s not to say you need to spend hundreds of pounds to get a good result.  There are more affordable serums on the market that deliver great results.  Medik8 offer retinol products (Retinol 3TR)  for as little as £29.

Dr Pamela Benito explains ‘The difference between retinol and retinoids is that over the counter products contain a form of retinol in ester forms (like retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate) that need to be converted into retinoid acid by the skin at the cellular level in order for the skin to use it. Basically, the more conversions it takes for an ester form to get to the retinoic acid form the weaker it is. In the contrary, prescription-based retinoids (under the names Retin-A and Tretinoin) contain higher concentrations of retinoic acid compared to OTC options. Biochemically, retinoids and retinol do exactly the same thing; it may just take longer to see results with retinol-based products because they are weaker.”

How does it work?

As a person ages, collagen and cell production slow down, but retinol helps to encourage cell regeneration and ensure that new collagen continues to form.  As collagen is replenished and old skin cells are shed, fine lines recede and skin appears brighter and smoother.

Retinol accelerates natural desquamation, smooths away wrinkles and skin irregularities by stimulating cellular regeneration.

It also has a deeper action on the dermis by stimulating the synthesis of collagen and GAGs and inhibits MMPs (matrix metalloproteinases), responsible for the degradation of dermal fibers (collagen and elastin).

Dr Pamela Benito, facial aesthetics expert also explains, “Retinol reactivates the skin renewal process and can be a great primer to prepare skin for chemical peels and other medical procedures.”

When should you apply it?

Retinol breaks down in sunlight and exposure to UV light renders it less active.

Also cell turn over and regeneration happens whilst you sleep so it’s recommended to apply retinol as part of your evening skin care routine.

Dr Pamela Benito advices, “Retinol can be destabilised by UV and it may make skin more sensitive to the sun so it is highly recommended to wear daily SPF50. Also when paired with other antioxidants it helps to defend the skin from free radicals and environmental damage.”

How should you apply it?

To avoid your face falling off retinol should be built up gradually.  This is what dermatologists refer to as the retinol ladder. If you apply too much too soon you can end up with redness and dry patches. 

So for starters aim to apply it once a week, building it up to two or three times and see how your skin reacts. The aim is to gradually introduce the ingredient and allow your skin to build a tolerance.

Make sure you are not using any other products that contain retinol. This is where I went wrong. I was unaware that my cleanser contained a low level of Retinol so the combination ended up being lethal.

A useful tip is to mix it in with your moisturiser to dilute it a bit.

Another important thing you need to know about is that if you're using Retinol you HAVE to wear a high factors SPF during the day to protect your skin from UV.

Experts also recommend you use it 3 months, then to take a three month break. This is due to research that suggests cell turnover is no longer increased after 3 months of retinol usage.

What should I use?

OK so it’s important to know that not all retinol products work the same and deliver the same results. And sadly it’s not as simple as looking the percentage. This is where the confusion creeps in. Formulation is everything. Retinol is sensitive to air and light, so it’s all about how its encapsulated.  An increasing amount of beauty brands are formulating products with encapsulated retinol, which is delivered to the skin alongside a slew of other skin-perfecting ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and ceramides. They act like a buffer preventing some of the negative side effects. 

As a result people with sensitive skin who previously struggled with Retinol can now use products containing a time released Retinol making them gentler on the skin and less likely to cause irritation.  The results being flawless NOT flaky skin. Medik8 have recently launched their two new strengths of Crystal Retinal – 1 (0.01%) and 3 (0.03%) which are gentle strength retinaldehyde’s allowing those with the most sensitive of skins to introduce a retinol to their regime.

And earlier this year Medik8 released the Rolls Royce of retinol creams R-Retinoate Intense.    It’s the first time their most powerful forms of vitamin A have been both stabilised and combined into one product. This new formulation utilises exclusive retinol retinoate and revolutionary retinaldehyde. The cream costs £210 but has proven to be incredibly popular based purely on its success.

Medik8 r-Retinoate

Medik8 Brothers Elliot and Daniel Isaacs call it their finest achievement to date.  “It is quite simply the best anti-ageing product we have ever made, and by far the most exciting vitamin A product on the market.”

The all-in-one cream features a total of 3 patented and patent-pending technologies but at £210 it doesn’t come cheap.  But when it comes to Retinol it does seem to be a case of getting what you pay for.

That’s not to say you need to spend hundreds of pounds to get a good result.  There are more affordable serums on the market that deliver great results.  Medik8 offer retinol products (Retinol 3TR)  for as little as £29.

Dr Pamela Benito explains ‘The difference between retinol and retinoids is that over the counter products contain a form of retinol in ester forms (like retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate) that need to be converted into retinoid acid by the skin at the cellular level in order for the skin to use it. Basically, the more conversions it takes for an ester form to get to the retinoic acid form the weaker it is. In the contrary, prescription-based retinoids (under the names Retin-A and Tretinoin) contain higher concentrations of retinoic acid compared to OTC options. Biochemically, retinoids and retinol do exactly the same thing; it may just take longer to see results with retinol-based products because they are weaker.”

I recommend:

Institut Esthederm Intensive Retinol Cream, £59 Lookfantastic.com

Institut Estherderm have stabilised the most active form in its serum: pure retinol. It is immediately released and acts fast, resulting in an intensive anti-ageing effect.

In its cream formula,  the brand has stabilised a precursor of retinol, for gradual, continuous release and long-term effectiveness.

The serum and the cream are recommended to be used as a cure of 2-3months : the serum every evening and the cream to be used day and/or night.

Medik8 Retinol 3TR

Contains 0.3% retinol supported by Vitamin E this light and fast absorbing serum is suitable for those in their late 20s and 30s and perfect for anyone looking to introduce retinol into their routine. After cleansing in the evening massage 4 drops across the face, neck and décolletage. Use twice a week for the first 2 weeks, every other night for the next 2 weeks then every night.

Medik8 Retinol 3TR

ZO Skin Health Daily Sheer SPF 50 (RRP £57)

This non-greasy, quick drying sunscreen blends seamlessly into the skin for a sheer matte finish. Water and perspiration resistant this sunscreen provides daily-broad spectrum protection against harmful, skin ageing UVA rays and skin burning UVB rays, plus packed with added hydration, this sunscreen helps maintain the skin’s natural moisture balance, helping to prevent dryness from increased outdoor exposure.

Zo Skin Health Sheer Daily

R-Retinoate Day & Night Eye Serum

Medik8 are launching their latest addition to their youth activating range. This lightweight, nourishing eye serum delivers their revolutionary molecule, retinyl retinoate, to the eye area.

This serum sinks effortlessly into the eye contours and can be used in the day as well as the night for accelerated results. Additional eye care ingredients including caffeine for dark circles and hesperidin for puffiness have been included to promote a more even, bright and radiant eye area.

In the meantime I recommend their Rejuvenating Eye System, £110, an intense 4-week eye treatment containing r-Retinoate Youth Activating Cream.

Medik8 Rejuvenate Eye System

Boots No7 Dark Circle Corrector proven to reduce circles within 4 weeks launches today

Hot on the heels of their Firming Booster Serum, Boots are launching the latest edition to their No.7 franchise today.  And with 29,000 names on the waiting list this is looking like another success for the best selling brand.

The new Dark Circle Corrector is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of dark circles within 4 weeks and hits stores and online at boots.com today, costing £28.

Boots.png

As you will be well aware nothing creates a buzz quite like a new No7 beauty launch. The Firming Booster serum, which launched in April, amassed a 37,000 waiting list and sold at a rate of one every four seconds when it finally landed in store.

The serum launched at the same time as a Dark Spot Corrector (that also flew off the shelves) and in less than a month Boots had sold enough of both creams to fill the O2 Arena over four times.  But Boots have a long history of causing a bit of a shopping frenzy. 

In 2017 Boots No7 launches their Line Correcting Booster serum that was so hotly anticipated there was an online waiting list with 17,500 names on it. In 2007 after the BBC2 show Horizon praised their Protect & Perfect serum it sold out, with sales rocketing by almost 2,000% when they restocked. 

Pretty impressive stuff. 

So what have we got to look forward to with the brand's latest offering? Well, having tackled our wrinkles and age spots Boots are now focusing on our under eye bags.

Best anti wrinkle creams for youthful looking skin in 2019 from the high street 

Interested? I thought you might be. As with all their launches Boots are making big claims about the results.  In trails Boots claim 80% of women saw a visible reduction in the appearance of dark circles within a week.  The cream is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of dark circles by up to 30% within four weeks   The colour masking ingredients however claims to deliver instant visible results.  

The cream is the result of 7 years of extensive research carried out by Professor Humbert at Besancon Hospital who identified three main causes of dark circles; thin fragile skin, inflammation and hyper pigmentation.

No7 Scientific Advisor, Dr Mike Bell commented: “We know that dark circles are a key unmet concern for consumers, so at No7 we’ve been carrying out scientific research to understand the skin causes that we could directly address with our own technology.”

By addressing these three causes Boots have created their first clinically prevent treatment for dark circles.  These three main causes mean that dark circles are actually made of a mix of three colours; blue, brown and red with blue being more dominant or fairer skins and brown more dominant on darker skins.

Now for the science bit. Boots claim that their clever dark circle neutralising formulation incorporates adaptive light particles and colour correcting pigments in 2 different shades of pearl (peach to neutralise blue and red undertones - cinnamon to neutralise red and brown undertones) to instantly improve the appearance of dark circles on all skin tones from light to dark. The other key ingredients are embolic to target hyper pigmentation, hyaluronic acid to moisturise and plump from within and aldavinealgae extract to reduce inflammation.

Boots serum promises firmer skin in 1 week - but there's 37,000 on waiting list 

So does it work? Well I’m seven days in and I have to say after a particularly hectic week my eyes are looking less tired than they should be.  Thanks to the colour masking tint after application my under eye bags do look better instantly. I had great results with their Firming Booster Serum, so I’m definitely going to keep using it.

The tube comes with the same roller ball applicator as the Booster Serum making it really easy to apply but to be honest I’ve been applying it with a small concealer brush which I think works really well. This way you can get into eye crease and massage it into the skin.

Claudia Winkleman was at the launch yesterday and she told me she’s a fan. Something tells me you might want to be quick if you want to get your hands on it.

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How to do 20,000 sit ups without breaking out into a sweat

As a beauty writer you become very adept at dismissing too good to be true headlines.

But then there’s the insecure women inside me that secretly wonders ‘but what if’?  Which is why I ended up trying out Emsculpt.


I figured what have I got to loose? A few lunch times and potentially a wobbly tummy?

So the press release read, how to tone your tummy in your lunch hour.   Without going to the gym or breaking out into a sweat.

I mean, come on, you’d be tempted right?

Before and after EmSculpt

Before and after EmSculpt

Especially with the summer holiday and the prospect of wearing a bikini on the beach fast approaching.

Well EmSculpt is a new machine that delivers the equivalent of 20,000 sit-ups without you having to do a thing.

The machine uses HIFEM technology to produce high-intensity muscle contractions causing a release of epinephrine that breaks down fat.   Activating 100% of the muscle it’s the equivalent of 20,000 sit ups in a 30 minute time period.  I  mean seriously, has anyone ever actually  managed to do that many sit ups?

Surely not even Britney Spears in her hey day was doing that many?

They are big claims. Tempting claims. Which is why I jumped at the chance to try it. With two kids under my belt and a slipped disc in the mix sit ups aren’t exactly top of my to do list these days.

But dazzled by the science I thought I’d give it a go. I visited Dr Preema Vig who is one of the first practitioners in the UK to offer the treatment and she’s the undisputed pro. She also advocates a healthy lifestyle and doesn’t make any false promises about how this treatment works.

So how does it work?

Dr Preema explains  "Unlike the traditional approach towards body shaping through freezing or other aesthetic devices to generate fat cell death, this is a non- surgical contouring treatment which uses an electromagnetic field to simultaneously build muscle and cause fat cell disruption. Muscles represent 35% of the human body, but existing aesthetic treatments only address fat.  This is the first device that goes beyond waist-line reduction and addresses not only fat loss but abdominal contouring through muscle tone."

The principle is that by dramatically increasing the metabolic rate of what’s going on around the muscle and with the hyper contraction of the muscle, the fatty acids on the muscle cells leak out. This results in a 15% fat burn on top of the muscle building.  The fat-burn effect is more of a residual effect from what the device is doing to your muscles.

What does it involve?

The process is relatively painless. A typical treatment takes around 30 minutes and a course row 4 sessions is recommend for optimum results. The device straps on over your stomach area and then a practitioner turns up the power.  Dr Preema started at a lower power then worked up.  Starting at 80% or 100% can hyperstress the muscle.

It’s essential you find a trained practitioner who knows exactly how to handle the device. The contractions occur a few seconds apart and feel strange, like a super-intense vibration that reaches your very core. There is no downtime so you can return to your daily activities after each session. Expect to see results two to four weeks after the initial session and you will continue to see improvements for several weeks following the procedure.

It’s not an alternative to exercise and a health lifestyle but it’s an effective treatment for targeting the tummy.

Best results will be seen after 3-months with continued improvement over a 6-month time period.

Who’s it good for?

Anyone that wants to tone their tummy or thigh area.  It's also proving popular with women struggling with diastasis recti, which is when the two muscles that run down the centre of the stomach separate after pregnancy.

This treatment does not claim to be a dramatic fat loss treatment. I liked it because it targeted the deeper muscles that I was unable to work out because of my back problem.  After the course I felt able to start moderate exercise and I am now doing an advanced barrecore class twice a week. So for me it helped me get back into exercise. Do I have a 6 pack?  Don’t be ridiculous.

How Profhilo can knock five years off your face

If I had a penny for every press release I’ve read offering a new amazing anti ageing treatment then I’d be on a sun lounger in the Bahamas right now.

The beauty industry has quite literally exploded recently with a plethora of new 'tweakments' that promise to turn back the hands of time.

We really are witnessing a beauty boom and it’s predicted that by 2020 over 1.5 million people in the UK will have had some form of botox or fillers.

It’s practically impossible to keep up. It’s also hard as a beauty journalist to navigate the options trying to determine what actually works.

But there’s one treatment that is so good the results actually speak for themselves. It’s called Profhilo and it’s an injectable that isn’t a filler, isn’t permanent and doesn’t freeze anything.

It’s the ultimate skin pick-me-up and perfect for anyone looking for skin that looks dewy, plumper and generally younger.

So what exactly is it? Profhilo is effectively an injectable moisturiser containing 100% synthetic hyaluronic acid (HA) injected by a tiny needle into the face. Because it gets deeper it rehydrates and plumps the skin far more effectively than a topical cream ever could.

How does the treatment work?

It’s relatively painless and the treatment involves two sessions a month apart.

It lasts in the skin for around 28 days and during this time the stimulation of 4 different types of collagen and lasting takes place by the slow release off HA. This stimulation results in significant tissue improvement and stimulation of the skins natural synthesis of collagen.  There’s no down time involved although you may experience slight bombs at the injection site.

Where can you use it?

It’s proven to be particularly effective at treatment areas prone to laxity like sagging cheeks, neck, chest and décolletage.

But as with all these treatments the results really do lie in the hands of the professional administering it. It’s essential that the injections reach the correct level; go too deep and it won’t get to the surface to work.

Dr Pamela Benito

Dr Pamela Benito

I went to Dr Pamela Benito whose name is listed on the prestigious Tatler Address book and is a respected industry expert. Pam tells me customers really love the treatment because it's non invasive, doesn't involve any downtime and is perfect for anyone looking to improve the condition of their skin.

"Profhilo is not a filler but an incredibly effective remodelling injectable for smoothing and tightening the skin. It stimulates collagen production naturally and provides a deep long-lasting hydration giving the skin a glowing natural look. It really is a game-changer!"

 

The liquid is injected nto five key points on the face  starting with each side just next to the ears, then on to the nasolabial fold (laughter lines around the mouth), chin, under the eyes and on the tops of cheeks. I’m not going to lie, it’s not the most comfortable experience but no pain no gain in my book.  Pam tells me to come back for a top up in a month, then recommends two treatments twice a year. Will I be back?

That’s a resounding yes.

Why Kate Middleton's style has changed in last few weeks - and it's all down to one woman

The rumour mill has been going into over drive for months now.

With the Duchess of Cambridge showcasing a sleeker new look the fashion industry has been buzzing with speculation - Why-who-what was the secret behind Kate's transformation?

The rumours started when Middleton’s long term stylist Natasha Archer went on maternity leave in December. Then as the Duchess stepped out of her sartorial comfort zone the industry went into a mini meltdown.

Yet despite being desperate to find out ANY information regarding Kate no one seemed to know anything.

But all was finally revealed this week when former Vogue editor Alexandra Schulman let the cat out of the bag. According to Schulman Kate’s recent make-over is down to fashion consultant Ginnie Chadwyck-Healey.

The Duchess of Cambridge wearing a Missoni midi dress on a two day visit to Northern Ireland(Image: PA)

The Duchess of Cambridge wearing a Missoni midi dress on a two day visit to Northern Ireland(Image: PA)

36-year-old Ginnie, a former Vogue Executive Retail Editor, is said to be an old friend of the Duchess’ since their days at St Andrew’s and has stepped in to help.

Since working with Ginnie it’s fair to say Kate’s style has changed up a gear.

The Duchess hasn’t veered to far from her signature look but she’s widened her list of go-to designers and has updated her look.

And thanks to these subtle changes her image is looking more polished than ever, and Kate is exuding confidence as a result.

How has Kate Middleton’s style changed?

Up until now Kate has stuck to a tried and trust formula - that worked.

Lauded for her style tire’s no disputing she’s successfully honed a signature look.

However over the past few months the Duchess has introduced some subtle changes the most noted departure being the Gucci blouse and wide leg trousers she wore on an outing to the Henry Fawcett Children’s Centre in Lambeth, South London.

The Duchess of Cambridge wearing a Gucci blouse and Jigsaw trousers during a visit to the Henry Fawcett Children's Centre (Image: PA)

The Duchess of Cambridge wearing a Gucci blouse and Jigsaw trousers during a visit to the Henry Fawcett Children's Centre (Image: PA)

Kate has also added a host of new labels to her wardrobe, attributing to her subtle style evolution.

New looks from the likes of Sportmax, Missoni, Manu Atelier and Gucci have helped to revamp her look.

The Duchess of Cambridge wore this stunning Mulberry coat for a visit to the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena, Northern Ireland (Image: PA)

The Duchess of Cambridge wore this stunning Mulberry coat for a visit to the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena, Northern Ireland (Image: PA)

The Duchess drew praise for the Gucci gown she wore to a gala dinner at the Victoria and Albert Museum (Image: Getty Images)

The Duchess drew praise for the Gucci gown she wore to a gala dinner at the Victoria and Albert Museum (Image: Getty Images)

A blue Mulberry cape style coat that the Duchess wore also attracted a lot of attention. The bold colour and statement silhouette were a bold fashion move that paid off.

Kate's choice of evening has also garnered high praise. The pale graduated pink Gucci gown she wore to a gala dinner at the Victoria & Albert museum in February was a dramatic departure from Kate's usual style.