When I was at The Edinburgh Bloggers Conference, I met Amber Moss an environmental scientist with a passion for skincare. She invited me over to her place in Portobello to trial out her luxury bespoke facials using clean skincare products. It’s the opposite side of town from me, but I was intrigued. Also, she is fairly near my parents so it’s always nice to kill two birds and all that.
I am a big fan of Eteaket leaf tea, after being kindly sent a box in a yoga pamper kit.
Amber had a pot of their gin infused tea waiting for me, I was instantly at home. It was the closest we could get to a gin and tonic at 10am on a Wednesday morning.
We spoke for a bit about all things wellness, nutrition and skincare. As Amber is a scientist, I was very keen to hear her opinion on Botox, especially as I have been invited to have this done for some sponsored work. I know loads of people adore it and are hooked but something has stopped me from going for it, despite the new ‘fine lines’ I am noticing. I am doing a lot of photo shoots and events these days, so it can be hard not to be critical. I have also noticed more lines on my skin since running outdoors in the sun, something I have no intention of stopping.
Shooting the new North Face Aventure range photo by Rachel Keenan Photography
I am a trail runner for life
Amber instantly begged me not to do it, telling me I have beautiful skin and a lot of soul on my face. She feels that Botox doesn’t look natural as the face can become expressionless. We spoke about what the lines on my face mean to me. I liked her simple perspective on it:
You have clearly had a lot of fun and laughter over the years. Your expressions are full of soul. They capture your personality”
As part of my book talks about having a happy soul that glows, these words were music to my ears. Happiness does actually glow. It radiates out of us. I get told this constantly and have been told this all my life. I used to get embarrassed by the fact people always dubbed me as the “happy, smiley one”. Over the years I have grown to realise that this is in fact an incredible compliment. Two fingers up to all the critics who just want to moan and groan. As one of my closest friends who now lives in the South of France would say:
“hold off on the wine and pass me the cheese please.” I’m with her. Love you Sarah x
I am 35 now and I have more lines but I am happy. I like being 35. I like all the lessons I have learnt. I have confidence in myself and am comfortable not looking 21. I never get asked for ID anymore, but who cares?
Amber gave me a bit of facial real talk from her scientific point of view before we went up to her treatment room. Her experience:
She had numerous unremarkable facials, where a series of products all from one brand (usually expensive, but in her experience un-amazing) were layered on her face.
Often, the beautician knew little about the ingredients within the products, in either an unwelcoming clinical, or bling beauty salon setting.
She has a passion to offer so much better. Using a much more personal and knowledgeable approach, her facials are results driven and include (amazing) follow up skincare advice for people who are serious about skin health (me just not Botox).
Obsessed with skincare since she was an acne ridden teenager over 20 years ago, and having been on numerous contraception pills, a stint on roaccutane and other prescribed drugs, Amber cleared her skin. She did this initially through trial and error, driven by a passion for all things science. Amber learned about skincare ingredients and the impact good nutrition can have. On her journey, she has clearly built up an extensive knowledge of skincare ingredients and products. With a background in environmental science, Amber developed a love for clean, natural and organic skincare. She is not affiliated with any brands, therefore uses a range of products that are naturally active and meet each of her clients’ individual skin’s needs and budget.
I went in with an open mind. An open mind to learn and of course, be pampered! It’s my wellness injection.
Amber gave me a heavenly facial. I was in a trance, lying on her treatment bed with soft fluffy towels. It was simply magical. She massaged my face, worked in lots of lovely natural products, including good old coconut oil. Her bespoke facials encourage collagen production and blood flow. They include advanced facial massage to release facial tension, whilst lifting and sculpting facial muscles, smoothing fine lines and contouring the face, leaving skin glowing and uplifted. If you followed my Insta Stories that day, you would see that my skin actually did look amazing. Even if I do say so myself, Amber you get the credit.
Many of you will know that I am a huge fan of ESPA skincare and a huge new fan of Caudalie too. Those grapes are my kind of vintage. I have normal skin which is slightly dehydrated. We talked through many suggestions in terms of getting my skin hydrated, which in turn will plump it up and naturally smooth fine lines. This is especially important as we get into the colder season.
Amber gave me a big Gold star for being a flannel user. What is really annoying though is that my hubs keeps moving my face cloths, it drives me crazy. I found a solution after one of Amber’s tips. The first big thing Amber taught me is to stay away from foaming cleansers – they contain something called sodium lauryl sulphate. This is a cheap foaming agent that is found in all sorts of toiletries, from shampoo, face washes and even toothpaste. It gives skin a squeaky-clean feel, but actually it is stripping the skin of natural oils and upsetting the balance of the skin’s pH. I was slightly concerned as one of my favourite ESPA shower gels is foaming.
I sent the ingrediants to Amber and she kindly looked into it for me. There were two ingredients that started with sodium lauryl on the label. Both are thankfully OK as they are mild surfactants that don’t cause dryness and irritation. It’s sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium laureth sulphate to avoid. Phew! Amber suggested I go for milk, oil or balm cleansers. She suggested a few and I decided to go with Clinique take the day off cleansing balm. This is Amber’s go to. A tub can last around a year. I used my boots points to purchase the cleanser AND two lovely, light facial muslin cloths (£6). Hubs has not thrown them out yet. Bonus. I wash them every couple of days (they don’t get ironed, let’s keep it real).
I have been using this balm cleanser for about 6 weeks and I LOVE it.
The next step was to introduce an acid toner into my routine. Eeeek! What even is that? It turns out they are really mild acids that are derived from things like sugar, milk and even apples. They help to slough off the dead skin cells, revealing a brighter complexion, they also soften fine lines and subsequent products go one and can penetrate the skin better. Amber said a glycolic acid toner would be perfect for me. She spoke a lot about a brand called The Ordinary, turns out it is huge in the beauty and blogger world and incredibly affordable. Another option she suggested is Pixi Glow tonic – I had a 20% off at Marks and Spencer so I grabbed one. You can also get in Harvey Nichols. Again, I have been using this for 6 weeks and I love it.
Amber advised that I think of the first two steps of cleansing and toning as ‘taking away’ or prepping the skin. Next option is to go in and add layers of goodness onto the skin. I got some excellent tips about taking time to layer my skincare (whilst juggling the kids bedtime routine), so that my products of choice are not competing with each other.
The next suggested step is to spritz on my gorgeous Caudelie elixer (my review here). I use this daily, sometimes a few times.
Then it’s serums. Amber advised I go with a serum with hyralonic acid in it. This is an acid that occurs naturally in the skin, but once we hit our twenties, levels start to decline. It’s important to slap this on like crazy after a night of boozing!
Then it’s all about a beautiful face oil. She said I simply MUST try the Jane Scrivner’s Rose Gold face oil.
I have been using the ESPA replensing oil for a few years now and I still adore it.
As Amber caters for all budgets, we spent a bit of time going over other products by The Ordinary. She loves The Ordinary brand, it’s no frills, but if Amber says it works then I trust her. I have finally got round to ordering their Rosehip Seed Oil – suprise suprise there is a waiting list for the stuff. It should arrive in 10 days max so I shall keep you all posted. It is also meant to be incredible for stretch marks. This will be handy when I get into that bikini body my personal trainer is helping me work on. Like Amber, Greame wants me to work hard and get it the natural way. No post section surgery.
At the moment I am using the ESPA Optimal Skin ProMoisturer. I got sent this in a hamper with other products from their new wellness range and I adore them.
We also discussed using a retinol (vitamin A). The ordinary do a version of this. It can be used to treat all manner of things, from rosacea to acne, to fine lines and wrinkles. For it to work properly, it needs to be able to penetrate into the skin, where it will boost collagen and elastin production (which gives the skin bounce and lift). It also takes a while for the skin to convert it into the form it needs, so can take around 3 months or so to see results. Something to add to my long list.
As for running outside –SPF – this is another step I should be adding to my morning skincare routine, after serums – Amber will wear SPF as a ‘moisturiser’. Her favourite is by Heliocare and she uses the gel version of this. This is better for greasy skin, go with the cream if you have normal/dry skin like I do. It doesn’t sting like some spf’S can. Think of it as an insurance policy for your skin. It protects from sun damage.
We also took time to discuss nutrition for skin and I have been sharing all the recipes on Insta Stories. Look out for a blog coming soon about oily fish.
WOW! How much could I possibly learn? This is only a small snippet! I am so delighted that Amber came into my life. She is a little scientific ray of sunshine.
So – will I accept the comp Botox? Right now the answer is no.
Bespoke facials are £55. Every treatment includes a consultation and (extensive) follow up skincare advice.
07821 680855, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ps – she also gives great coffee and cake recommendations, and she lives a 30 second walk from one! #tempting