Is acupuncture the new Botox?

Is acupuncture the new botox.

Is acupuncture the new botox.

For over a year I’ve been investing in an alternative needle to the Botox needle – the traditional Chinese medicine practice of acupuncture and for the first time I’ve documented the results through before and after pictures, for my new column on

Unlike Botox, facial acupuncture is not a quick fix for anti-ageing the face but rather a longer term investment into the quality, strength and tone of facial skin and muscles. Instead of paralysing the muscles, acupuncture stimulates the blood flow and energy to the skin, waking muscles up and bringing skin to life. Skin is refreshed, enlivened and energised. Like you’ve had the best sleep ever…

I go to see Maggie Brown at Beaute Chinoise in north London and I’ve written about her before but have never documented the differences in my skin, before and after the treatment. So much of it is to do with increased energy and vibrancy which is difficult to capture on camera but I went for the plunge and was thrilled to see the results: you can really see a difference in the brightness and freshness of my face, especially in the white of my eyes.

To read the full article and to see the essential before and after pics head over to for Is Acupuncture the New Botox? …and let me know what you think! Leave a comment or tweet me at @YanarBeauty…Would love to hear from you on this subject…


Winter beauty alchemy

Weleda Sea Buckthorn Body Lotion

The February freeze keeps coming and going and with it goes the integrity of our skin. So it’s another chance to share the winter beauty alchemy I’ve been swearing by this winter – the mix of lotions and potions that have saved my skin and kept it super soft and strong.

This has been my morning routine every day for the past few months:

1. Add a few drops of facial oil to face moisturiser.

My oil of choice at the moment is Maggie Brown’s Yin 1 (rose oil) perfect for winter as it strengthens skin’s barrier against the cold and plumps it up with nourishing essential fatty acids.  I’ve been mixing this with Origins Make A Difference Cream which is a hydrating gel-like cream.

2. Add a few pumps of body oil to body moisturiser.

I’ve been using two or three pumps of  Aromatherapy Associates Renew Rose Body Oil muddled with Weleda Sea Buckthorn Replenishing Body Lotion, all over my body from neck to toes. It’s a luscious mixture that I can’t get enough of. I love both products on their own (and would be perfect for spring) but together they make cold mornings worth getting out the shower for.

Finally, a great quote from Geraldine Howard, founder of Aromatherapy Associates on why essential oils carry so many skin benefits which is so apt for this time of year:

“Essential oils are made up of very small molecules and therefore able to penetrate into the bloodstream and optimise the cell renewal process. The skin absorbs oil-soluble substances more easily than water soluble ones, so as essential oils are oil soluble, when diluted with a plant or vegetable carrier oil (most are too potent to apply directly to the skin), they travel through the epidermis, into the dermis, delivering results deeper down than products that do not contain essential oils.”

So get some oil into your beauty regime and you’ll welcome spring with better skin. What beauty concoctions do you swear by?


Beauty acupuncture

I’ve decided to hit the needle. Having just had my second beauty acupuncture session with the delightful Maggie Brown (who I reviewed a few months ago for Natural Health magazine) I’ve decided facial acupuncture is going to be my anti-ageing splurge – let’s call it an investment to save my face.

Unlike Botox – which freezes the muscles and makes them redundant – acupuncture and acupressure massage activate and strengthen the muscles; they wake up the face by bringing life and energy into it through the surge of oxygen and blood flow.

Having just spent the last few months juggling the stress of a new job, daily rush hour tube travel, late nights and general life ups and downs, my skin was breaking out and dragging down before my eyes. I decided I needed to help before it was too late so I called Maggie for an appointment. Pronto. As a beauty journalist I get almost unlimited access to beauty treatments and services so to actually pay for something (quelle horreur!) is a real testament to its value.

Maggie does facial acupuncture in a gorgeous town house in north London but as well as the needles, it’s also a good 90 mins of genuine beauty therapy: Vigorous acupressure massage, hand-blended oils, leaf tea, lots of chat to solve your beauty problems and homework. Yes, lots of homework  – facial massage to improve muscle tone, lymphatic drainage to sweep away toxins and regular pressure point activation to release tension and sluggishness. I’ve got it all written down and I’m ready to go.  See the cute drawings that are my take-away instructions below. Love.

I’m also using Maggie’s own face as an incentive to keep me on track and massaging daily. She says she’s been having facial acupuncture and doing nightly massages regularly for the last 15 years and no exaggeration, she looks about ten years younger (without any other kind of needle). Her skin is totally toned and glowing so if I can look like that in a few years time, I’m in. In fact, I’ve just booked appointments every three weeks for the next three months.

If you’re looking for that next step in anti-ageing, I highly recommended the whole natural needle approach – it’s not a quick fix (which is why I’m starting early, at 32) but a long term investment. If you’re in London check out Maggie – Beaute Chinoise  –


Small and beautiful things for winter

With colder weather fast approaching I wanted to give you a quick run down of the few beauty treats that kept me going a few weeks ago on the Vipassana meditation course, as the weather was far harsher than it is in London.

These little gems turned out to be small moments of luxury that I treasured and looked forward to. Also ideal for anyone looking to to upgrade their winter skincare – they all come highly recommended!

1. Beauty acupuncture. I prepped myself for the arduous journey ahead with a quick visit to  Beauty Acupuncturist Maggie Brown at Beauté Chinois in London. I’d been working 10-hour days for six weeks and I felt like my face (and mind) was struggling to keep itself together. I was tired and looked haggard. Unlike facial acupuncturists like John Tsagaris, she doesn’t use many needles (he used about 80-90 on my face the time I went to see him) but the few she pricked into my face sent me into a deeply relaxed and sleep-like state. That was followed with a strong facial massage that woke up every  key muscle and pressure point in my face. I left looking about five years younger and like I’d slept for ten days!

2.  Beaute Chinois Yin No.1 – every morning at 4am when the gong went, it was a beauty oil that I reached for and a
quick facial massage to wake me up. The rose based Yin No.1 personally blended by Maggie was perfect for bringing a sense of calm, balance and tranquillity to the senses morning and night – perfect for balancing winter skin too. 

3. Decleor Arromessence Ylang Ylang – ah, this cheery blend revived my senses every day around 5pm when
energy levels were low and the mind was feeling weak. It’s the perfect pick me up facial treat.

4. Weleda Mini Rose Body Oil – from the 30th anniversary gift set, this little mini was a favourite too. I massaged it into skin after showering and it was a warming way to fall asleep after a long, long day.

5. Abahana White Grapefruit & May Chang Bath & Shower Gel – a heavenly product that made me want to jump in the shower whenever I could!  (pictured above) The luxurious formulation meant a little goes a very long way so I barely got through half the little bottle in ten days. And I’ve just seen that this little cutie costs just £5! Christmas stocking filler? I definitely think so…

6. Apodea Deodorante – a propolis based deodorant from an Italian based natural beauty brand. There’s barely any smell to it and it works which is why I liked it.


New beauty oils with a Chinese twist

Beaute Chinoise Yang No.4So as I continue to wait for a Heathrow flight to Africa (three days late and counting now!), my morning post cheers me up as I find the cutest little bottles of facial oil by Beaute Chinoise, a brand created by facial acupuncturist Maggie Brown.

I’m a HUGE oil fan and anti-ageing benefits are of serious interest too. That’s why I LOVE rose oil, as it’s great for dry or mature skin and great for anti-ageing. So I instantly loved Yin No.1 – predominantly rose with added neroli, patchouli and sandalwood. Beautiful.

Yang No. 4 is for normal skin and contains jasmine, rose, sandalwood and geranium. Maggie says this one “stimulates cell regeneration, whilst protecting, nourishing and firming the skin and uplifting the senses.” This basically means it helps your skin grow strong and it smells nice too, (someone said it smells like Turkish Delight – in nice way!).

I interviewed Maggie for a feature I’m writing on Chinese facial mapping for Women’s Fitness magazine (February ’11 issue) and it’s such a fascinating subject. The philosophy is that your face holds visual clues of imbalances in your body and signals for potential health problems.

At Beaute Chinoise clinic in London Maggie treats people who have beauty concerns such as problem skin, dark circles and signs of premature ageing, using acupuncture, dietary changes and supplements as a treatment. After a lot of research into the Chinese way for dealing with health problems – i.e. treating the mind, body and emotions as a holistic system – I think it’s a really effective approach and would recommend anyone struggling with health niggles to check it out. If you know anything about this subject, let me know!