Treatment On Trial: Ark Age Aware Skin Response Facial

Treatment On Trial: Ark Age Aware Skin Response Facial

This week's beauty-guinea-piggy-trial review comes from Brides' Tory Kingdon, who's not engaged herself but has a string of weddings to attend this month so she wants to look her best! I sent her off to the Ark Skincare Centre in Putney, Southwest London, to trial their new Age Aware Skin Response Facial.

"For most of my life my skin has been reasonably unproblematic, partly from luck, partly from having a mother who was militant about us looking after it. But now, in my late twenties, I'm starting to notice the unavoidable changes of the ageing process: more dehydration, fine lines and sun damage. Perfect timing then for this facial!

The appointment began with a detailed assessment of the condition of my skin where I was quite literally put under the microscope. My therapist noted the early signs of sun damage and suggested I should be wearing a factor 30 sun cream daily, rather than just my usual SPF15 moisturiser or foundation. She also noticed (rather worryingly!) that I stop my skincare routine at my jaw line instead of bringing it right down to my décolletage, a common mistake apparently. I did get some brownie points for drinking a lot of water! It helps keep my skin clear and gives it a natural glow; she suggested a good way to maintain this was to spritz a hydrating toner on my face throughout the day.

The facial started with a deep cleansing and steam treatment, followed by exfoliation, extractions and a nourishing masque, all using Ark's natural skincare range targeted to my age group. An arm, neck and shoulder massage got rid of any built up tension and was followed by a precise massage to the face and scalp which stimulated the skin and muscles and encouraged detoxification.

Afterwards my skin was bright and even, from the offset - no post-facial redness - and I was quite content with just a dash of mascara for the few days following."

This new facial lasts 75mins and cost £70, which isn't bad at all considering it includes a thorough assessment, deep cleansing with extractions and a scalp massage. Ark have two other skincare centres in Fulham and Wimbledon, and use their own Ark products that are rich in active ingredients.

I was really happy to see such a comprehensive and educational explanation of how skin ages and how their products work on their website. There are some brilliant geeky factoids in there so if you want to learn more about your skin's physiology and ageing process, click onto, go to the Age Aware Skincare option at the top of the homepage and select the 'How it Works' box. Fascinating stuff!   

Temperley For Lancôme

Temperley For Lancôme

We do love a GWP here at Brides (that's 'Gift with Purchase' in beauty lingo) because more often than not you'll get some excellent high-quality products that will fit perfectly into your wedding purse and honeymoon wash-bag.

This week's hot freebie comes courtesy of Lancôme and, girls, it sure is a good 'un.

All you need to do is buy two Lancôme products (one being skincare) from any of their 560 counters in the UK, and you'll get this absolutely gorgeous Temperley London cosmetics bag and a selection of excellent beauty goodies absolutely free.

The pale pink bag is printed with a black lace design (it's ALL about lace right now), with black leather trim and flap-over zip, which we think would work rather well as a party clutch for your hen do, non?

Inside, there's a 50ml cream cleanser and alcohol-free toner from the 'Douceur' range for all skin types, a miniature vial of Lancôme's best-selling Genefique serum, an adorable pink Grapefruit Juicy Tube lipgloss and a teeny version of their amazing Hypnôse black mascara.

It hits counters on June 1 and we suggest getting there ASAP to nab this truly fab GWP.

Cover Girl Beauty

Cover Girl Beauty

Here's how to get the gorgeous make-up look - as seen on the Brides July/August 2011 issue cover - created by bridal make-up artist Sarah Brock (, using Daniel Sandler cosmetics:

First of all, it is important to prep your skin so it is ready for make-up application. The skincare products I used on this shoot were by Crème de La Mer - I used the Moisturizing Gel Cream, the Eye Concentrate and the Lip Balm.

All of the cosmetics I used to achieve this make-up look were by Daniel Sandler Cosmetics.

1) Using the base brush, apply a small amount of the Re-texturising Primer to your face and blend into the skin to keep your make-up looking perfect for longer. Next using the Perfect Canvas Foundation, start applying your foundation in the centre of your face and blend outwards. Then, using the Hide It Under Eye Concealer, use the Concealer Brush to cover any under-eye circles. To 'set' your perfect base use the Contour/Powder Brush and apply the Invisible Blotting Powder to your face - 'press' the powder gently onto the skin.

2) For a gorgeous bridal glow, use two blushers - take the new Watercolour Creme Rouge Bronzer (available exclusively at and apply to the the cheekbones, using your fingers. For the apple of your cheek (smile in the mirror for perfect placement), apply the Creme Rouge Blusher in shade Soft Peach - again, apply with your fingers and blend upwards and outwards towards your hair line, for a pretty summer glow.

3) For stunning eyes, take the Sheer Satin Shadow in shade Sunrose and using Eyeshadow 1 Brush, apply from lash line to brow. Next, take the Matte Shadow in Tornado and using the Smudger Brush, swipe the brush on either side, tap off the excess and apply first to the contour of the eye. For extra 'glamour' to the eyes, take the Dimensional Eyeshadow in shade Rustic and apply a small amount to the eyelid - just in the outer corners. To make sure your eyeshadow is blended well (especially in the contour), next take the Blending Brush and go forwards and back, over the eyeshadow you have already applied, to make sure it is perfectly blended.

4) For perfect long-lasting eyeliner, use the Long Lasting Velvet Eyeliner Pencil in shade Brown Velvet - apply to the top and bottom lash line. I always apply a thicker line to the top lash line and soften the liner on the bottom lash line with a cotton bud.

5) I like to leave the lower lashes as mascara-free as possible, to avoid any smudges from any tears! Top tip: test your mascara before the big day, as different mascaras work for different people. I used the Baby Jet Black Mascara after curling the lashes. 'Wiggle' the brush from side to side on the upper lashes, and then move the brush up to the end of the lashes. Apply a few more coats to the outer lashes for a more glamorous look.

5) For brows, I used the same Matte Eyeshadow as I used to contour the eye - I used the Brow Filler Brush (tap any excess off the brush before you apply) and gently apply the products in small strokes, as if you are 'brushing in extra hairs', rather than taking the brush through the whole brow at once. Soften and blend the shadow when you have finished, by brushing the brows with the Brow Grooming Brush.

6) For lips take the Automatic Lipliner in shade Buff, then apply the Lip Rouge Lipstick in shade Melon Sorbet and to complete the look, take Super Gloss in shade Super Copper to give the lip colour a pretty hint of iridescence.

Find out more about the Daniel Sandler Cosmetics range at

Coral Colour Trend

Coral Colour Trend

Soft coral make-up is having a moment and I'm rather taken by it too. Just look at these treats that arrived chez Brides this week. To me it marks the beginning of the summer: those peachy pink hues look amazing on sunny skin teamed with pale clothing, and only in the hotter months can you get away with them without looking sallow and fluey. Even with a bit of gleamy dew (read: sweat) that peachy tone still looks clean and pretty, unlike other colours that can end up a bit dirty and grimy after a day spent wedding-dress shopping and running about town.
On your wedding day itself, team a peachy complexion with a faint chocolate lashline and soft mascara. Meanwhile, peach nails have flattering, hand-lengthening benefits so next time you're having a manicure try it out.

Top: MAC Beauty Powder in Alpha Girl, £19
Left: Benefit ChaChaTint, £24.50
Bottom: Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Purity, £13.50
Right: MAC Lipstick in Ever Hip, £13.50