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Monthly Archives : December 2015

How to Prevent an Itchy, Flaky Scalp This Winter

Top 10 Tips For Great Hair

Every winter I receive a flurry of questions relating to dandruff. While the colder months have their many charms, ‘tis also the season for flakes and itching. Luckily there are many effective methods of combatting this common annoyance; from changes in your diet and lifestyle to the use of targeted products. In turn, looking after your scalp in such a way will improve the general health of your hair – a happy scalp goes a long way to promoting happy hair days.

The Science

Dandruff usually occurs when a yeast naturally found on the scalp (called malassezia furfur) overgrows. This causes skin cells to replicate themselves much more rapidly than they should, resulting in tell-tale flakes and itching. Most of us will experience dandruff at some point. The scalp is sensitive to external as well as internal changes, such as a shift in seasons, a change in diet, rocketing stress levels and fluctuating hormones.

Culprit: Diet

Certain foods are known to worsen an itchy and flaky scalp. Not everyone’s mind you – what may upset your scalp may be fine for someone else. However, at our Clinics in London and New York we have found that full fat dairy products, very spicy or sugary foods and white wine and champagne are the worst offenders – basically all the decadent things in life! Some people find that just one piece of cheese or a glass of their favourite Sancerre can flare-up symptoms. If you are prone to dandruff, try finding your trigger foods and drinks by process of elimination. Let us thank our lucky socks red wine and spirits are not on the list…

Culprit: Stress

Stress can upset the delicate balance of scalp flora. We aren’t entirely sure of the exact mechanism, but it’s probably because stress can increase male hormone levels, which in turn can affect the scalp. Stress may also play havoc on the immune system. Regardless, the most effective way to combat stress-related dandruff is to find an effective way to manage stress levels. At our Clinics we suggest mindfulness, meditation, Pilates, getting enough sleep and doing low-intensity exercise a few times a week.

Culprit: Not Shampooing 

Flakes aren’t always ‘true dandruff’. They can also make their debut when you aren’t cleansing your scalp often enough. After two days of not shampooing, dead skin cells simply accumulate on the scalp, become visible and irritate the skin. To prevent this problem, try to wash your hair at least every other day. If you simply cannot do this, which I know is often the case for those with coarse or curly hair, use an exfoliating scalp mask once a week and an antimicrobial scalp toner every morning and evening.

Culprit: Scratching

Scratching an itchy scalp can set off a vicious cycle. You scratch; the scalp gets more irritated and itches even more. You scratch again – and on it goes. Anytime you feel the urge, reach for a soothing anti-microbial scalp toner and dab it onto affected areas. We make a hand-bag friendly scalp toner called Flaky/Itchy Scalp Toner.

Product Cures 

You should use a targeted shampoo and scalp toner every day and an exfoliating scalp mask twice weekly until symptoms clear. Then reduce to every other day with the shampoo and toner for another 10 days.

When to See a Doctor 

Dandruff is a non-inflammatory scalp condition. If your scalp is red, bleeding or inflamed or your flakes are very thick and hard to remove you may have another scalp condition and should see your doctor, trichologist or dermatologist for treatment.

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Beauty Tips for Your New Year’s Eve Party Prep

beauty routine preparation tips new years eve

Big New Year’s Plans? *Now* is the time to prep so you look your absolute best as you ring in 2016. Here’s how Travel Beauty’s Claire McCormack gets ready for a big event.


As a working mom, I spend very little time on my personal upkeep, so when I have an event that I’d like to look good for, I am forced to confront, en masse, all of the beauty appointments I’ve been putting off. As I feared, my pre-event beauty to-do list was soon longer than my waaaay overgrown bangs. To bring some levity to the situation, I decided to document all the beauty appointments I made to ensure I’d look presentable on the big day (and when I say presentable, I mean as Vogue cover-ready as I possibly can look).

Two Weeks Out

  • Highlights & Bang Trim: In theory I could have done this a week before the event, but then I would have had to go about my life for another week with my hair as is, and it was in such a state that waiting even another seven days was not an option. Besides, my bangs always look their best when they’ve had some time to settle and grow a bit post-trim.
  • Research Manicure Designs: I had this idea to do a negative space French manicure, so I took several screenshots of cool ideas. Thanks, Instagram, for the endless inspo!

One Week Out

  • Body Scrub: Though I am always well-exfoliated, I take special care before an event. I did the first scrub one week out, then another a day before my spray tan (see below). This scrubbing includes using my Diamancel Foot File on heels almost every day.
  • Face Scrub: Dr. Dennis Gross Peel Pads every day on face for the week leading up to the event. They are the best when you can’t get a pro peel!

Four Days Out

  • Waxing: No, I wasn’t planning on wearing a bikini on the big day; this was really in preparation for my spray tan later in the week. Going in naked is your best bet. If you think tan lines are bad, spray tan lines from the disposable panties they will give you to wear are just pitiful! So do what you need to to feel comfortable (as possible) being nekkid for your spray tan.
  • Purchase Outfit: I know, I know…this is down to the wire. I don’t usually procrastinate, though. As much as I love having new clothes, I HATE shopping. I try to buy as much of my wardrobe as possible online. However, a party dress/outfit was something I needed to try – and get feedback – on. Luckily, my bestie John owns International Playground and played stylist for me. We’ve done this many times before for other events and it’s always been a success. I highly recommend International Playground for your special event shopping.

Three Days Out

  • Hair Mask: Doing at least one at-home Philip Kingsley Elasticizer hair treatment is a must, especially if the weather forecast is FRIZZ.
  • Microcurrent Facial at SB Skin: Perfect for dewy, firm, smooth skin. Accentuates my bone structure in a way no blush, bronzer or contouring ever could.

Two Days Out

  • Colonic: Nothing makes my skin glow like colonics and kickboxing. Also, I planned on eating a LOT of delicious red meat at the party, so a pre-party detox was a good idea.

Day Before

  • Another at-home body scrub, in preparation for…
  • Spray Tan: Perhaps this is not a pre-event necessity for everyone. My legs, however, are so pale, however, that people would have called Ghost Hunters on me without it. It is also the healthiest and easiest way to “lose” five pounds in 15 minutes.
  • Nails: A pre-event given, right? What gal doesn’t get a mani/pedi before a party? My daughter and I went together, the night before, for a little girl time.
  • Blowout: Since my whirlwind day started EARLY in the morning, I had to do my and my daughter’s blowouts the night before. Though I kept it simple and straight, I wanted that extra polish that comes from a professional blow dry/flat iron. And as I’ve said before, I don’t even own a hair dryer!
  • Mini Touch Up Facial with SB Skin: The results when you cluster two treatments close together are remarkable! The second facial was half the time – just going over my facial contours.

And…that’s it!

What do you think? Too much? Too little? What is your prep routine for hosting a major party or event?

By: Claire McCormack Twitter & Instagram

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The Amino Acid and Sherpa Hair Treatment Combo

amino acid anti frizz sherpa moisturize hair treatments

Amino Acid and Sherpa Treatments – perfect together!

Amino Acid Treatment is an anti-frizz, smoothing treatment that makes hair more manageable and less frizzy. The results and process are similar to Keratin Treatments but Amino Acid doesn’t contain any form of formaldehyde. That’s an important factor to us! The nice thing about these temporary treatments is that they gradually fade away over a 3 to 4 month period. What many don’t realize is that these treatments still require a regiment of conditioning to keep hair looking it’s best. Hair that is out of condition always looks dull and dry. It frizzes as the hair strands are reaching out for moisture.

Our New Sherpa Treatment

(A Cell Modular Complex Conditioning Treatment that replenishes the moisture at the cell level) improves hair health like nothing we’ve ever seen, so much so that we had to test the benefits of combining treatments. For those with severely damaged or highlighted hair we’ve always recommended reconditioning the hair before we begin any smoothing treatment. By combining the Sherpa and Amino Acid Treatments we are achieving great results. The pre–treatment is only four steps of the intensive Sherpa Treatment – the hair is filled with moisture – it’s soft and it shines. In the process of the Amino Acid Treatment the hair is ironed sealing the coating to hold hair straighter. Depending on the condition of the hair and the degree of straightness desired we determine the level of heat used. This allows us to process hair that would normally be too fragile for chemical work such as this.

We Consider All Hair To Be Damaged

The environment (indoors and out), water, shampoos, styling aids, flat ironing and blow drying all have a negative effect on hair. Different textures have to be considered as well as the desired results. It’s important to consult with your stylist as to what you want the results to be. Subtle variations in the process make it possible to achieve different results.

Want to Keep Your Curls?

If you have curly hair and want to keep them the heat level is lowered so it doesn’t process the hair straighter than desired. The heat from the ironing deposits the Sherpa Treatment deeper into the shaft. You only want to do this treatment after the previous treatment has faded. Overlapping causes the hair to become straighter.

Between Waves and Frizz?

You’ve got beautiful wavy hair at certain times of the year and at others it’s just frizz. The Amino Acid Treatment keeps the hair from frizzing. Many undergo the treatment as a seasonal fix. And combining it with the partial Sherpa Treatment improves the quality of the hair. It also saves you a lot of time in the styling department.

Got Tight Curls in Need of Relaxation?

For those with tight curly hair the heat level can be raised to give your hair a straightened quality. This texture of hair is the most delicate and the easiest to get out of condition. Possibly because of the styling techniques used to make it more manageable?  Flat irons & blow dryers dry out the moisture in the hair. This hair quality needs the most attention to its condition.

Undergoing Chemotherapy?

Too many people are dealing with the effects of chemotherapy. This combination has proved a miracle for their hair. The new growth is a different texture than their prior hair. It’s become brittle, dry and doesn’t have movement. After this combination the hair is shiny and feels like hair again.

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Non-Surgical Facial Rejuvenation Before the Holidays

Facial Rejuvenation Procedures

Every holiday season, I’m asked about non-surgical options for quick, no downtime pre-party rejuvenation. Everyone knows about using Botox for forehead frown lines and Juvederm to camouflage nasolabial folds and plump the lips, but there are dozens of other, lesser known uses of these products that produce incredible results! Here are just some of those options, including how much they cost, and how long results will last.

Botox Brow Lift

A few units of Botox placed judiciously just above the natural arch of the eyebrows can help to relax the muscles that pull down the eyebrow. This allows the eyebrows to drift slightly higher, producing a Botox Brow Lift that really opens up the eyes. When your Botox kicks in at 4 – 7 days, you can expect to look more wide-eyed and fresh-faced. This treatment usually requires 6 units of Botox (3 units per side). The cost is $120 and results last up to 4 months.

Earlobe Rejuvenation

Let your lovely, festive holiday earrings sit pretty once again! A very small amount of Juvedem injected around the earring hole can rejuvenate the earlobes, so you can say goodbye to sagging, thin, pulled earlobes. An amazing result can be achieved with as little as 0.2cc of Juvederm, and results last over a year. One syringe of Juvederm contains 1cc, or 1mL, of filler and is $750. Bonus: Since this treatment uses only 0.2cc of filler, you will have plenty leftover Juvederm to use elsewhere on the face, and an excuse to use it. We can decide optimal placement together.

Non-surgical Rhinoplasty

Not all nose concerns are amenable to liquid, non-surgical Rhinoplasty using a combination of Botox and facial filler, like Juvederm, but if you are among the lucky (or unlucky, depending upon how you look at it) ones whose nose can be improved with non-surgical treatment, the results are dramatic, and so are the savings! The cost of the procedure is around $750-$1,000 and results last up to 2 years. Compare this with the total cost of surgical rhinoplasty, around $12,000 inclusive of operating room and anesthesia fees, not to mention the pain and downtime of surgery.

Cheek Augmentation

As we age, we lose volume in our lips and our cheeks. Well-done injectable cheek augmentation can take years off of your appearance. With Juvederm VOLUMA, you can now get injectable cheek augmentation that lasts 2 years! The volume required varies between 1 – 4 syringes.  Juvederm Ultra Plus lasts for one year and costs $750 per syringe. Juvederm VOLUMA lasts 2 years and costs $1000 per syringe.

Botox Neck Lift

Stop feeling bad about your neck! The Botox Neck Lift, also called the “Nefertiti Neck Lift”, uses Botox to relax the Platysma muscle, which creates the horizontal banding in the neck. Results can be dramatic – in a good way. Cost ranges from $400 – $600 and lasts 4 – 5 months.

Please feel free to contact me to book your appointment for consultation and treatment, and as always, feel free to email me with questions!

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Nighttime Skin Care: Double Cleansing

night time cleansing skin care routine

I’ve shared before my love that squeaky clean feeling I get from washing my face with a gel or foaming face wash. As I’ve gotten older, and as balm cleansers have become more prevalent, I’ve expanded my cleansing horizons and embraced many types of non-sudsy cleansers. Now, a skin care trend that has been gaining a lot of traction of late, double cleansing, has allowed me to have my skin care cake and eat it too. I can use a balm and a foaming cleanser all in one night! Dreams do come true, people.

Why Double Cleanse?

If you’re reading this from New York City, Los Angeles or any other major metropolitan city with major metro city air quality, I’m hoping you understand why. Ditto if you’re someone who wears a full face of makeup every day. And I know EVERYONE READING THIS wears some sort of SPF everyday, right? Well, the thing about SPF is, it’s is formulated to stay on your skin! When you add all these up, you can begin to see why a single 20-second sudsing is just not going to cut it, and by it I mean all the grease, grime, oil, dirt, makeup, sweat and SPF.

Nighttime Treatment Products are Pricey!

It feels good to get all the remains of the day off your face before bed. But feeling so fresh and so clean isn’t the only reason you should double cleanse. The cleaner your face is before you put on your night time treatment products, the better those products – and all their lovely active ingredients – will penetrate the layers of the skin. Serums, night creams and face oils can be very expensive, so it makes sense to do all you can to get the most bang for your buck from them. Double cleansing is the keys to the kingdom.

Finding your perfect routine and favorite products is a very personal journey you’ll have to undergo on your own. As a starting point, here is what I do during my nightly double cleansing.

First cleanse: I love a balm for this. Emma Hardie and Supernatural Beauty make great ones. If you’ve fallen in love with a cleansing oil, that is great for a first cleanse as well. Supernatural Beauty Glorious Cleansing Balm is quite thick, so it takes longer to remove than Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm, but it also has sodium bicarbonate in it, so it has a very gentle buffing action. If I’m wearing mascara, I make sure to gently apply the balm to eyes and lashes. Never rubbing back and forth, but closing my eyes, then taking my fingertips (covered in balm) and gently wiping from base of lashes to tips. I do this a few times. Then I cover the rest of my face and neck in the balm, really massaging it in. Because the balms emulsify into oil, massaging them into my skin feels so soothing. At the end of my day, this is always a welcome relaxing ritual. Often, I’ll leave the balm on my skin while I read to my kids before they they go to bed. Letting the balm really work its magic leaves my skin looking extra fresh and luminous. I always use a washcloth to remove. Moringa Cleansing Balm comes with its own, but any washcloth will do. Make sure to machine wash between each use.

NOTE: If you have a lot of eye makeup on, you may want to precede this first step with some eye makeup remover, so you don’t have to go over your lashes and lids too many times with the cleansing balm.

Second cleanse: This is when I use a more traditional face wash. I have several that I choose from, depending on what I did that day. (Did I workout? Was I out in the sun and applied extra SPF? Did I just Netflix and chill?) If I want a deeper clean, I’ll use Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash. For a more gentle, yet still thorough wash, Sapelo Skin Care Rosemary Cleanser is wonderful. If my skin is congested due to hormonal changes, I’ll use Jillian Wright Congested Cleanser. This second cleanse gets all traces of the balm off my skin, as well as any lingering eye makeup. My skin feels amazingly fresh and ready for all my treatment products…which are a blog unto themselves!

NOTE: I skip my second cleanse if I am using one of my exfoliating peel products. On those nights, I will just use one of the “second cleanse” cleansers, followed by my peeling product of choice.

Have you tried double cleansing? Let us know in the comments below!

By: Claire McCormack, Twitter & Instagram

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