Author Archives: Sam Marshall

Sam Marshall

About Sam Marshall

Sam has had an illustrious career managing Harvey Nichols’ Urban Retreat, working on X Factor, as well as working with the beauty industries leading mentors and brands. She is published journalist, and has featured on local and national TV and Radio, in the UK Based in the Manchester, Sam currently runs her own beauty consultancy business; providing in-depth business advice, guidance, and training to other beauty professional and salons around the UK.

10 Things To Look Out For In A Perfect Facial

A decent facial can work wonders for your skin and also your stress levels!

Here are Sam’s top tips on what to look for during a first class facial treatment!

Consultation – this is often overlooked but a great consultation is vital to understand your skin’s needs. Your therapist should find out everything from how long you spend in the sun (ie are you an avid gardener) to how long you have to spend on your regime and what your goals are. They should listen and summarise what you want from the facial.

The Room – is it relaxing? Does it smell good?  Is it warm enough? Ambience is key to relaxation.  A heated bed is totally expected now, and the bed should be covered in layers of towels or blankets to wrap you up in once your body gets cooler.

Hygiene – a bugbear of mine is dirty hands – they should be washed in front of you! Fresh breath is also vital – I always pop a Smint in before going near anyone’s face.  It’s just curtesy.  Oh and clean towels -I don’t want to see tide marks from the lady before!

To chat or not to chat – sometimes I want to know what is going on my skin – sometimes I want to shut up and chill out. Your therapist should read this (or just ask you at the start).

The Cleanse – Just because it is a cleanse doesn’t mean it needs to be rushed. My cleanse is like a massage.  It should feel thorough but luxurious and if I have congestion around my nose they should focus on it (even if it is purely to make me feel like they listened). No area should be missed (ie sides of neck, and shoulders if they are going to massage as I don’t want dirty oil massaging into my lovely clean skin!). And never ever ever cover both nostrils. I would like to breathe without having to open my mouth.

Removal – yes this is important! I don’t want soggy cotton wool, or sponges that have been used on every client before me. (Remember hygiene…) Some aromatic warm clean mitts please. Every bit of my face should be covered – there is nothing worse than a bit of cleanser over your top lip or a load of exfoliant being massaged round your face afterwards.

The massage – and relax….. This should be in time to the music, very slow – firm on the right places, soft on the others.  Sweeping movements that seem flawless until you have no idea which hand is where. The best compliment for a therapist is a snoring client believe it or not.

Thou shalt not leave your client – during the mask. Ever.  And I want choices – a boring hand and arm massage is not for me, but extra time on my tense shoulders of a decent foot massage will get me coming back again and again. If I’m going straight home then a scalp massage with oil is simply divine.

Clean up – I don’t want to leave with a) mask up my nose, b) oil in my hair if I have requested otherwise, or c) a slick of over  applied moisturiser.

Aftercare – therapists seem to think we don’t want to buy! I love to be told by my hairdresser what will help my hair and my clients want to know what will improve their skin.

Don’t just throw us out of the door – tell me what I need, offer me some water and somewhere to “come round” and one of the nicest things I have had is my therapist calling me to see how my skin was a few days later.  Treatment plans are also lovely especially running up to something like a wedding.

Androgyny – The Constant Confusion

My partner is possibly the most androgynous person I know. She thinks she’s a boy most of the time (except when the bins need taking out) and she constantly battles with modern day lesbian traumas like insisting on wearing clothes only made for boys, even when her little size 6 feet don’t quite fill the standard men’s size. She wears men’s boxer shorts (apparently they make her feel “free”) – don’t get me wrong, she has no desire whatsoever to become a man, nor does she strap her boobs down and draw on a moustache.

I always feel a bit bewildered when she goes into salons brandishing screen grabs of Esquire magazine as ideas she still gets charged for a women’s cut. I wonder if long haired guys (like David Guetta for example) get charged for a ladies’ cut? After all “lesbian haircuts” (in Manchester that’s actually the collective term for a combination of shaved and long bits favoured by stereotypical gay girls) are basically a gents cut – on a girl. If it takes the same time as a guy why should lesbians get penalised for not needing a curly blow? The blow dry part of my cut takes at least 15 mins – hence the extra I would expect to pay.

The solution for us is to send her off to a Barbers’. She gets to sit with other guys and get an excellent cut for under a tenner. Winner. Having reproached this subject further with another androgynous friend we discovered that inner city gays tend to go anywhere no problem. It’s in the suburbs that the confusion begins. So do you go to your local hair salon which is predominantly female clientele but you get funny looks and awkward stares, or do you go to your local barbers where you will get the cut you want but have the chance of being turned away because you are a girl?

I was amazed to also discover other difficulties androgynous girls encounter – girls telling her she’s in the wrong toilet, late night petrol station visits for fags resulting in the attendant refusing to serve her as her card said “miss”! Now might be a good place to add she has a whopping DD cup boobs…

Then we have clothes. Try and find a men’s suit jacket that fits in a healthy bust. Non-existent. Surely someone has caught onto the fact that a load of professional lesbians may just want to wear a suit that doesn’t come with girly trousers? And Topman must realise that most Saturday afternoons their clientele is half man/half lesbian. Huge gap in the market here. But would they buy it if it wasn’t predominately made for guys? Maybe that’s the whole point. How many of you have been refused entry to the male changing rooms? Apparently Primark isn’t worth even trying as the attendants just assume you are male and it is way too embarrassing to argue the case.

Being in public with my GF still shocks me at times. In the (gay) Village, my GF has gay guys mistake her for one of their own; in shopping centres men follow her into toilets thinking she is heading for the gents. On holiday recently a restaurant owner shouted “bring your boyfriend for a drink”. I was livid. Luckily my GF was not at all bothered as she chooses to dress and look like that. She doesn’t actually care.

I suppose we all conform to what we think we should be rather than what we naturally are. My late, and very wise Granny used to tell me to say in the mirror, “I’m glad I’m me”. And I think she is right J

The Beauty Guru | Bush or Bare?

The history of the bush still fills me with wonder – from Egyptians who removed every hair on their body to the 70’s ‘fro our grandparents certainly rocked, the bush has disappeared and reappeared throughout history.

Reasons as to why we lean towards bush or bare tend to be centred mainly around religion, hygiene, adult entertainment and swimwear (odd combination I know), and these trends have dictated over the centuries what we do with hair ‘down there’.

History tells how the Greeks saw it as an indication of class as the richer you were the balder your body. Hair was seen as uncouth hence the majority of Roman statues with bald bits.

Prostitutes circa 1450 used to remove the hair to prevent lovely pubic lice and STI’s (but wore a merkin nevertheless to cover ugly scars from diseases). In the 1500’s Catherine De Medici decided that the full bush should reign free and headed up a full bush trend (back then Queens were celebrities) and apparently gave her ladies in waiting a regular pube checks to ensure they were in full growth and forbade them from removing it.

In the 19th Century upper class gentlemen even kept tufts of conquests’ hair as souvenirs in their hats. Could you imagine having a clump of your gf’s pubes sticking out of your beanie?  Apparently they used to give pubes as a gift and in St Andrew’s University lays a snuff box of King George IV’s short and curlies, reportedly given by him to a mistress. Beats sniffing the pillow…

Religion has a huge part in what we do down there with Muslim men and women were required to remove all armpit hair and any below the navel according to the Sunnah (based on the teachings of the prophet Muhammad). However, I believe nowadays men are only required to take the hair to thumb nail length or less. For Muslim women the end of their monthly period is the time that the pubic hair must be removed, and interestingly their clothes and bed clothes must all be laundered.

waxingFashion has dictated a lot of hair removal requirements, as more and more flesh was exposed (think Flapper dresses suddenly showing off underarms and lower legs). In 1915 Gilette launched the first ever razor specifically aimed at women called ‘Milady Decolletee’. It was only natural that with the arrival of the bikini after the Second World War we would have to finally rid ourselves of those stragglers poking out the sides of our pantyhose. By the 60’s bikinis were getting smaller and we were mostly shaving as depilatory creams were not fully developed and irritated the skin.

The 1970’s saw the launch of the wax strip – the must have revolutionised hair removal and it last so much longer – usually requiring treatments once a month rather than every other day. Of course our Middle Eastern friends had been using a similar technique with a concoction made out of sugar, lemon juice and water for centuries.

Good old porn was the most recent mainstream trend setter for our growlers. Magazines only printed full bush shots up until Hustler bravely published their first ‘pink shot’(fully shaved) in 1974. I wonder if we lesbians reached as quickly for the razor as our straight girlfriends whose partners eagerly requested they recreate the Porn Star Experience?

The 80’s saw the Brazilian wax (hurray!) introduced by the famous J sisters in New York in ‘87, created for their teeny tiny bikinis in Native Brazil. I’m not sure if it caught on here quite that early but I can’t remember reading anything in Just Seventeen anyway…

samantha2000 saw Sex In The City launch it into stardom with Carrie getting a Brazilian wax. I think that was a pivotal point where most of us grabbed that razor/Immac and went for it. We discovered our skin became more sensitive, we felt cleaner and it soon became something some prospective partners expected. I doubt very much generations before us even cared how trimmed we were years ago. Now it’s the ‘norm’ for sure.

After all now we are in an era where our divorced parents are dating again and probably gazing down at their grey flowing pubes and thinking “omg what am I going to do with THAT!” On that note there is a wonderful pubic dye available called Betty™ which is not just available in brown, blonde and black! You can also show off a pinky minky, a blue floo, or a green love machine! Nice.

Despite the TV push for this relatively unheard of salon treatment it was still seen as a seedy by most salons. I recall one client saying she had asked her local salon for a Brazilian wax and received a rather sharp reply of “We do not!” Even now only 44% of UK salons offer this service.

For the last 10 years we have embraced the Brazilian (landing strip), the Sicilian (triangle) and Hollywood (Barbie doll bare) but now I hear the bush is making a comeback. Hmm for me the jury’s out on that one.

pubic styles


Tomboy Beauty | How Much is too Much

As a total femme, and beauty therapist I LOVE beauty treatments, make up and anything that makes me look and feel better. But I like my girls to be, well, a kind of boys.

I like my partner to have natural (always bare) nails, no visible make up, and never EVER heels. However there are a few treatments I think tomboys can embrace.


My God brows are the absolute ultimate importance. I notice bad brows at a hundred paces, and they are all I can focus on. They frame your face – and they can be done very subtly (GuyBrows, I call them). So I can imagine most readers are sat there thinking “I have no idea if mine are good or not?”

There are a few simple rules to follow. Get to a mirror and find something with a straight edge to use as a guide….

Rule 1 Distance between brows – The start of each brow should be about in line with your tear ducts. Too far apart and you look odd. Someone said a “Lion face” once! Too close and we are in mono brow territory.

Rule 2 Taper Taper Taper – Thick to middle to thin. A gradual taper. No tadpoles, semi circles and jumps. Think natural and contoured.

Rule 3 The Arch – Look straight ahead and find the white triangle outside your iris. This is your safe zone. Draw a line up from here and that is where the highest part of your brow should sit.

Lash Tint

No you don’t have to look like you have mascara on. You can get a tint with brown or even light brown and just enhance your lashes subtly. It works and no one will know you have had them done!


A light spray tan to take the deathly white glow from your skin works wonders! Teeth and eyes appear whiter, skin healthier and more flawless, and let’s face it you always look slimmer with a tan. Gradual tans are a great option as you can build up the colour. Try Sun-Believable Gradual Tan in Medium.


Get a manicure or at least file and buff your nails regularly. When I say buff, yes you can get them to a glass like shine, but if you don’t fancy that then just miss out the shine bit! Try Trio Buffer and Crystal Nail file, both by Leighton Denny. No more biting, clipping or peeling. We want nice smooth snag free nails near our precious foof please . Don’t fancy a pedicure? See a Chiropodist – its more medical than beauty and a decent one can make your hooves look at least presentable and healthy.

Make up

You can still wear it whilst looking natural. Guys wear it on TV all the time, in fact on X Factor the male contestants had foundation, concealer, powder, contouring, brow gel and lip balm applied (Over their spray tans!)

  • Banish shine with a mattifying primer such as Benefit Professional
  • Conceal blemishes with a tinted moisturiser such as followed by a concealer such as Mac Studio
  • Finish SPF 35 Concealer (always make sure you get colour matched)
  • Or opt for a matt bronzer (no shimmer) such as Benefit Hoola
  • Brows can be kept in check with a brow gel such a Mac Brow Set in Clear
  • Clear mascara will make lashes look longer, healthy and glossy -try Miss Sporty Just Clear Mascara, or opt for a natural brown shade of any brand to enhance without drawing too much attention.
  • Keep lips kissable with a balm with minimal shine such as Burts Bees Lipbalm
  • So whatever your thing, you can still look groomed whilst retaining your natural beauty.