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Welcome to our new monthly blog Beauty Insider! Each month some of the very best Scottish experts in health and beauty will select a topic and interview our very own founder Fiona to bring you the lowdown on all things beauty. To launch, top Scottish beauty journalist Merle Brown (MB) chats to Fiona about all things summer.


MB: Whilst we invest in selected treatments all year round, there are others which are certainly seasonal. With the warmer days finally here, what are the most popular treatments leading in to the summer months?

It’s no surprise that pedicures, waxing and spray tans are very popular at this time of year, as everyone prepares for the better weather and holidays. A lot of clients have also been booking our new Exilis fat reduction treatment to get bikini ready for the summer.

MB: What do you find the most common concerns in skincare and body care are at this time of year? 

After a long winter, I find clients just want their skin to be less dry and flaky and glow more  – this is a big concern. I’d recommend booking in for a deep exfoliation and glycolic peel to slough away dead skin cells, environmental toxins and season-long build up. I then always recommend regular exfoliation and a really good moisturiser.

Another big concern is how to look after our skin in the sun. I’ve recently noticed a big surge in interest from our clients in high quality sun protection. We have a very wide range to suit all tastes. A great SPF that doesn’t feel like a sun cream is always on demand – clients often ask for one that doesn’t feel heavy or oily. I generally recommend the Heliocare SPF50 foam for this reason.  It’s a high factor, but so light you don’t feel like your wearing SPF at all.

MB: You recently won UK Salon of the Year at the Professional Beauty Awards 2018! As industry leaders, what are the summer trends for 2018 in the Zen beauty world?

At the nail bar, foils are becoming quite popular and we tend to apply these to add a bit of detail and contrast on one or two nails out of the set. We are also seeing a big move towards nude shades for nails and have really expanded our range of nude colours.

Body-wise, we are just about to launch an amazing new revolutionary treatment in our Bruntsfield salon for cellulite, which is always a summer trend.  It’s a new technology called BTL Unison and the only device in the world to treat all five causes of cellulite. We’re the only salon in Scotland to have this technology so we are very excited about seeing the results on our clients.

MB: What’s your favourite nail colour for summer 2018?

Unlocked, a soft nude, or my old faithful Rosebud. Both are available in Shellac or Vinylux finishes. Recently I have also been favouring Hot Pop Pink, a lovely fresh, summer shade.

MB: What advice can you give about looking after our skin out of the salon in the summer months, particularly on holiday in the heat?

I would avoid using any resurfacing products with glycolic or lactic acid in the sun. I use a lot of vitamin C based products, as the antioxidant properties are great for protecting and repairing the skin when exposed to the damage of UVA and UVB radiation.

I always wear SPF50 on my face and SPF30 on my body. It is important to be generous with the SPF and reapply a few times a day, regardless of whether it claims to be an ‘all day’ product. Don’t forget the décolleté, as this can be really prone to premature ageing with sun exposure over the years.

MB: What key beauty items do you never fly off without? 

Oh, I love the Murad Hydrating spray toner. I tend to not wear any makeup on long haul, and minimal on short flights. On long haul I might put on a thin layer of a hydrating mask.

I love anything hydrating on flights. My current favourites are the Medik8 Hydrate B5 and Murad’s Quenching Essence. Both are really light and absorb easily. But one of the best beauty products you can buy on the go is water, and once through security I buy about three large bottles to keep me going for the flight.

MB: When we are younger we don’t really think about the consequences of the sun/ageing combination. So, with the benefit of hindsight and the wisdom of time, what beauty advice would you give to your 18 year old self before hitting the beach? 

If you want to stay looking young and youthful, avoid the sun at all costs! Nothing is more ageing and damaging to the skin than exposure to the sun. A tan is for a week or two, but the sun damage lasts forever.

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Merle was a teenage beauty school drop out in the ‘80s, but found her way back to the industry and has been a beauty writer and editor for over 15 years. She regularly contributes to the Daily Record, where she was once Beauty Editor, and has her own blog, Merle’s World, at www.merlebrown.com. She loves dyeing her hair, and her desert island beauty product would be red lipstick, which she is rarely seen without.