Jo loves... May/June

Jo loves...  a mood-shifting hand cream, a gluten-free lip balm, possibly her favourite mascara ever - and a world-class facial, on her doorstep...

Blend Collective A Concentrated Hand Cream

I’m always on the scout for effective hand creams because I get through so much of the stuff.  Aand this – spotted at this year’s Natural & Organic Products Show – is a new favourite, for several reasons.  First, the texture:  rich and moisturising, without being greasy.  Second:  the fab 'twist' lid:  there's no cap to remove and replace, as you just twist the lid, squeeze out what you need - and close again.  And last but not least, fragrance (which is of paramount importance to me):  sandalwood, cedarwood, frankincense and neroli - all wonderfully earthy and grounding, and perfect if I'm feeling tense.  In fact, I've a  new ritual with this:  I apply to my hands, cup them to my face, and b-r-e-a-t-h-e.  Result?  Lowered blood pressure, I swear.  And soft hands, to boot.

• Blend Collective A Concentrated Hand Cream/£12.50 for 75 ml at here

Ecolips Eco Cip Lip Balm SPF15

I recently had a terrible allergic reaction that I had reason to believe might be gluten-related.  One effect of the reaction was to give me incredibly sore lips - and since I needed to avoid gluten while getting tested, I had to look around for a gluten-free lip balm.  And boy, was that a major challenge!  Many, many natural lip balms include wheatgerm and/or vitamin E - and most brands can't guarantee that the vitamin E isn't wheat-derived.  So I literally kissed this after finding it on Amazon (I've previously bought it in the States).  The design is clever:  I actually clip the balm to the inside of my bag, so I don't have to scrabble around endlessly when I want to apply.  This version is infused with mintiness, and really soothing and softening.  It was an important part of my recovery programme, but the whole experience made me shocked at how hard it is to find gluten-free cosmetics - and I'll be writing about that more, on

•  Ecolips Eco Cip Lip Balm SPF15/£3.99 at here

MAC False Lashes Mascara

Fact:  I generally run a mile from anything that calls itself 'false lash', because ironically, my scrawny lashes don't generally respond at all to 'volumising' brushes.  (Those are the ones that look like dead bees:  all fat and furry.)  So I almost didn't take this out of its packaging when I received it at the seasonal MAC Trends Presentation (always a fascinating insight into how the catwalk will be influencing beauty, in the upcoming season).  And I'm so glad I did, because this is genuinely my favourite mascara in a long, l-o-n-g time - possibly ever.  The tapered brush makes it easy to grab every last lash, and it's the formula that's genuinely thickening.  I can add a second coat after 30 seconds without 'spiking' - and truly, the result is false lash-like.  (NB  It only comes in Black - but then, mascaras should only come in black, as far as we're concerned.)  I am overjoyed.

•  MAC False Lashes Mascara /18 at - buy here

The Ko-Bi-Do Facial with Karen DunnDuh, duh, double-duh.  How could I have failed to discover this for myself?  Some of you may know that I opened a wellbeing centre, in Hastings - The Wellington Centre.  I know we have amazingly gifted therapists and I've been going to Karen Dunn for massage for ages (she truly has healing hands), but I'm wary of facials.

Then Sarah and I gave our lovely friend Gill Sinclair a 'package' of treatments for her birthday, and she tried this facial.  Some of you may already have read her rave review on Victoria Health, but here goes.  ‘Before anything,’ writes Gill, ‘just to say that I have had various treatments all over the world (in the name of research of course!) and I am really fussy. I’ve jumped off more treatment beds than I care to think about because I’m prone to panic attacks if I get bored or the treatment is rubbish. But with this treatment I was blown away and basically I can’t keep my mouth shut.

Ko-Bi-Do is an ancient 14th century Japanese facial ritual, which was reserved for Japanese Empresses. Today, Ko-Bi-Do is used in Japan to help improve the skin and to help improve the tone, texture, radiance and muscular contours of the face, creating a natural facelift. The process includes a magnificent finger walking technique that is extraordinarily relaxing and effective in helping to remove stress held within the muscles, caused by everyday worries. It is described as a “majestic treatment” - and it is. After a soothing welcome massage, a hand-made application of the Ko-Bi-Do collagen balm is applied and the anti-ageing process begins. Without reservation, I think I can say that this is most intriguing facial I have ever had; the results were so stunning that I kept being asked if I had been under the knife! Karen Dunn, the therapist, is one of only three people in the world who has been trained by the Japanese Master of Ko-Bi-Do and she has a very rare talent, which is so exceptional that I would migrate to Hastings just to be near her.’ (Click here for Gill's full review.)

So:  of course I had to try the treatment myself, after that.  And it is truly extraordinary:  my favourite bit is the section with manuka honey, where Karen 'taps' your face after applying the honey, and it has a really fantastic, circulation-boosting, gentle 'pulling action'.  But how stupid am I?  Karen Dunn is on my doorstep!  Although who knows for how long, as more than 15 women have travelled far and wide after Gill's review, to experience this for themselves.  One of them has even invited Karen to Guernsey to perform the Ko-Bi-Do on all her friends.

•  The Ko-Bi-Do Facialis available from Karen Dunnat The Wellington Centre, 44 Wellington Square, Hastings, TN34 1PN/01424-442520 - or visit www.thewellingtoncentre.comfor more details