Astara Mask Review

Astara Masks are some of the best out there. Astara is smaller and lesser known company that has been around for quite some time. I have been using their facial masks for years and they are a brand that I have purchased repeatedly, which says a lot considering the number of cosmetic and skin care items that I test each year. Astara has several different products for differing skin types and conditions.

Astara Mask Review

Astara violet flame mask

Astara Violet Flame Enzyme Mask is an incredible enzyme mask. This is a clay mask that you can feel tingling as it goes to work at drawing the the gunk out of your pores. It is a good all around choice for deep pore cleaning and exfoliation, along with acne prevention. However, I do not recommend it for sensitive skin.

Astara Blue Flame Purification Mask is specialized for acne treatment. In many respects the mask is akin to the Violet Flame mask, but it is not quite as potent. I like it jsut fine, but prefer the heavy duty action that I get from the Violet Flame. I do also like to use this one on specific acne areas. You can put a bit on a spot at bedtime, let it draw out oil overnight and remove it in the morning.

Astara Green Papaya Nutrient Mask is much milder enzyme mask and is the best option for those with sensitive skin who still want a bit of enzymatic action.

Astara Golden Flame Hydration Mask is a nice, cool, and soothing gel mask that is great for use after stronger skin treatments of on irritated skin.

Overall, I really can’t say enough good things about this line of products. You can find them all at and can try a sample pack of them from there as well in order to get a taste of each one.  Astara also makes a full line of other quality skin care items.

Shop for Astara Skin Care

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My Favourite Spa Treatments

As someone who might reasonably be described as ‘addicted to spas,’ the opportunity to write about my favourite spa treatments is like all my Christmases have come at once. It is a topic that I could happily go on about at great length, describing every pressure point massaged, every enzyme peeled, every oxygen shot blasted and every cell regenerated. When you’re talking about spending an hour or so being drained, pampered, buffed and beautified, emerging at the end looking (or at least feeling) half your age there are plenty of praises to sing.  However, as I only have a limited amount of space (and I suspect most people would lose interest after a page) here is a potted summary of my favourite spa treatments.

spa services

The hot stone massage

Nothing beats this massage for pure relaxation. Treading that fine, spine tingling line between pleasure and pain, the pressure and heat of these warm volcanic stones is enough to smooth out even the most stubborn back kinks. The stones are usually heated up in water before being placed on the body, in key spots such as between your toes, in a line down your spine and in the palms of your hands. As they retain their warmth for some time the end result is like being massaged by about ten hands at once! Try an Aveda ‘Fusion Stone Massage’ to experience the soothing power of the stones, combined with flower and plant essences (

The oxygen blast facial

Not the very latest spa technology, but new enough for it still to be a revelation to most, the oxygen blast facial is a great weapon in the battle against late nights, stress, bad food, lack of sleep or PMT. During the treatment, a range of oxygen infused cleansers, serums and moisturisers are applied, as well as the all important oxygen mask, which pumps pure hydrated oxygen into your skin, leaving it looking plump, healthy and full of life once again. If you are having a dull day or you just feel like your skin needs a bit of a boost then the oxygen blast facial will be a revelation.  Bliss Spa does a particularly effective oxygen blast facial (

Eyelash tinting

Perhaps not a spa ‘treatment’ as such but definitely one of the latest crazes to be sweeping the land of health and beauty. For those of us who get through a mascara a week, the idea of never having to use any seems laughable. However, eyelash tinting is basically the equivalent of applying a permanent mascara – except you don’t have to worry about it running in the rain, you don’t have to remember to take it off when you come home at night slightly tipsy and you won’t every find yourself caught short ‘without your slap on.’ Perfect for summer holidays and lazy girls, most tints will last at least three weeks.  Try the eyelash tinting at the spa at Brown’s Hotel and leave feeling well defined (


Yes it does sound pretty painful but Microdermabrasion is one of the most effective spa treatments for anyone looking for healthier, younger looking skin. Basically, the outer layer of dead skin cells is removed from your face, leaving only the new, shiny layer underneath. After a Microdermabrasion session you might notice fine lines and wrinkles have been reduced and it can also help with pigment or photo damage. Either that or you are just so blinded by the gleam of your new skin that you won’t notice any imperfections. This is the one to make you feel like new again – perfect for big days or big nights (but do it far enough in advance so that any redness or irritation has disappeared).  Try the Microdermabrasion Facial at The Sanctuary to feel renewed (

If you can only afford one treatment and you’re fretting over which one to go for then don’t, because frankly any treatment from a spa is likely to be a pleasurable experience as long as you choose the right spa. Go for somewhere you like the décor, that has had great reviews and where you won’t resent the price so much that it will ruin your treatment.   And make sure you enjoy it – it’s amazing how quickly those 60 minutes can go…

Alexandra also writes about spa deals London for the Deal Zippy Blog.

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At Home Skin Care for Babes on a Budget

In today’s economic climate, it comes as no surprise that you might want to tighten your purse strings a bit…but just because you’re pinching a few pennies doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your beauty.  And as it turns out, you don’t have to dish out the big bucks at the most expensive makeup counters in order to get products to maintain your gorgeous self either…you will find the ingredients you need waiting for you at your neighborhood grocer’s…or maybe they are already in your kitchen!
ome skin care

With these following at home skin care tricks for the cash-conscious gal, you can save money and still indulge in the pampering you deserve:

Exfoliate.  Exfoliating is an essential part of any good skin care routine that should be used regularly to remove dead skin cells, toxins and other deposits on your skin that could lead to a dull or blemish ridden complexion.  Here’s how to whip up your own sugar/salt exfoliating wash:

  • Simply pour ¼ cup of either sugar or table salt into a small container and then mix in enough olive oil to blend the ingredients together.  Stir the mixture, rub it on your skin using circular motions, rinse thoroughly…and voila:  smooth, rejuvenated skin!

Cleanse.  It is important to wash your skin twice a day to maintain its health and protect in the fight against blemishes and aging.  To keep your face clean without breaking the bank you can make cleansing masks at home:

  • Mix plain yogurt with honey, apply to your face for 10 minutes and then wash off with warm water.
  • Another great mask is achieved by beating one egg yolk until frothy then adding ½ cup of both milk and a mashed avocado.  Mix until it is the consistency of a lotion, let sit on your face for 10 minutes and rinse.

Moisturize.  To keep your skin looking young and healthy, you’ve got to make sure it stays soft and smooth by hydrating it properly.  To do this, it is crucial that you moisturize daily.  For girls trying to save a buck or two and making their own moisturizer at home comes the added benefit of allowing which natural ingredients are included—this is helpful in avoiding irritation that can be caused by harsh products found on store shelves.  Here are some at-home moisturizing tricks:

  • Moisturizing exfoliation mask:  You will need 1/3 cup of oatmeal, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons plain yogurt, one egg white and ½ cup of hot water.  Mix the water and oatmeal, then allow to cool and thicken while you mix the remaining ingredients with a mixer.  Combine both and apply the mixture to your face.  Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse with warm water to reveal softer skin.
  • You can also squeeze a small, dime-sized drop of honey into your palms and mix with your regular face wash to give yourself a deep-moisture treatment!

Tighten.  We all want the kind of skin that looks airbrushed like the models right off the pages of a fashion magazine.  Luckily you can achieve similar results without scheduling an appointment with a plastic surgeon.  Here’s how:

  • Whip two chilled egg whites and then slowly add 1/8 teaspoon of cornstarch.  Apply the mask to your face and rinse off after 20 minutes.
  • If your eyes are tired and puffy, there is a way to tighten those as well.  Steep two chamomile tea bags in warm water, then place in the fridge to cool.  Squeeze excess liquid from the tea bags and place over your eyes for 5 minutes.


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