Beauty tools of the trade
Fashion supplement

Beauty tools of the trade

Debbie Collins roadtests devices that give you a salon-finish in your own home


A re-watch of classic films only serves to magnify the natural beauty of   screen sirens such as Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor, most notably in her role as ‘Cleopatra’. With plump lips, flawless porcelain skin and the most unique violet eyes, she was years ahead of the skincare game.

As we approach Pesach, it seems apt to feature beauty brand ‘Opatra’, its name a clear nod to the Egyptian Queen. Offering salon-grade beauty devices for personal home use, Opatra are flawlessly leading the way in clever design and innovative technology in a booming industry.

‘Sonic’ devices have been around for some time now, but it’s only recently that the market has really picked up on them, especially home-use versions. “It’s all about devices,” says Company Director Israeli-born Effy Salhov. “People want that salon-finish in their own home and that is what our brand is about. We’ve created fun, tactile products that actually work and give professional results.”

Simple, elegant and portable, Opatra devices are produced in Israel to the highest quality and come with a lifetime warranty. The products themselves are not just for women – men can benefit from them too –  and are particularly appealing if you’re not quite ready for invasive treatments such as botox and fillers.

IMG_06 - Opatra Dermisonic blue
Opatra’s Dermasonic will reinvent your skin

Their ground breaking device called the ‘DermiSonic’ is similar in appearance to a mens’ electric razor. This clever tool is an anti-ageing and skin repairing device based on galvanic ultrasonic treatment, massage and LED light therapy. In English? It’s a 3-in-1 magic wand that sits ergonomically in your hand and amongst many other properties, can give you a non-surgical facelift, rid you of dead skin and revitalise skin cells. In a nutshell, you glow. All of the devices work with your chosen facial cream and activate a its’ benefits beyond what basic fingertip application is capable of.

The simplicity ofOpatra devices means that there are no plugs or fiddly chargers – just a USB cable or a battery. This is certainly true of the ‘DermiEye’ device which I ‘m roadtesting. Run on an AAA battery, it’s  a unique tool which works on ‘smart sensors’ that cleverly activate over 200 pulses per second as soon as it touches the eye area. Not an on/off button in sight. It’s super sleek, highly portable and you can even use it in the car whilst waiting at school pick-up.

IMG_05 - Opatra Dermisonic client redThe DermiNeck device works on smart vibration technology to help relax neck lines and firm up the skin – less gobble-gobble, more goddess-goddess. Looking a little like a whale’s tale, you simply choose your setting, apply preferred neck cream and glide the ‘tail’ over your skin. As seen with the DermiSonic, clever tri-colour settings ensure a foolproof way to select your chosen feature.

Most recently launched is the DermiPores product, designed to open and close facial pores using a hot and cold vibrating massager and tighten muscles.  Cleopatra is within your sights.



Brigit Grant had a million reasons not to go to the gym, until she discovered she liked it

The Lab 2
The Laboratory in Mill Hill is a haven of calm

Hands up if you vowed to make the gym a priority this year?     Now keep it up if you’re still going? To those who sheepishly lowered their arms I say – “Me too!”.  Yes, back in January when I realised my love handles were more like love shelves I decided to commit wholeheartedly to The Laboratory. No more sitting on the sofa watching Scarlett Mofatt’s fitness dvd for me. I would brave all weathers to get to Mill Hill and be first on the cross-trainer before jogging into the studio  for 45 minutes of Schwinn Cycling with Louise or Sphinx who does it in the dark on a Sunday.

In my head I pictured the ultimate physical transformation scenario with me rocking that treadmill dressed in something clingy by Rita Ora while other Lab members yelled “Look at that tuchas” with envy. When that happens I’ll let you know as I have struggled to stay on the path of good intentions and find the Lab’s cafe more inviting than 15 reps on the Pull Down.

I also use work, parenting, dog-walking and FaceBooking as legitimate excuses not to show up at the gym, which is daft because when I get there I have a seriously good time.

The Lab's Juice bar is good for a get-together
The Lab’s Juice bar is good for a get-together

After all The Lab is a social soiree with smoothies that is open day and night. It also calms me down the moment I cross the threshold with its taupe decor, smell of spa oil and smartly-dressed receptionists whispering “good morning”. Trust me the sense of wellbeing extends all the way to the changing rooms.

The Laboratory
Become a fit ninja in a combat class with Chi

Upstairs amidst the challenging equipment it is still relaxed, but sweating is encouraged. I only have to look at a rowing machine to perspire, so imagine how drenched I get doing Body Combat with Chi. As the name suggests this is not a class for the fainthearted as Chi blends the moves of Lucy Liu in Kill Bill with the athleticism of Crouching Tiger warriors and expects you to follow suit. At times she literally freezes in mid-air while jumping which is a cinematic skill worth emulating. Truth is anything is possible at The Lab as their no-judgement philosophy is very nurturing and the trainers set achievable goals.

They are also wise beyond their years as I discovered recently talking to Lab trainer Tony about my dreams of a better body to which he replied “You must focus on being healthy and remember it’s who you are on the inside that matters most.”  See you at The Lab. 020 8457 3300


If the answer to this question is yes, then Janis Levy can help. Here she explains how her family company can change your life

One of the first things one notices about a person’s physical appearance is their hair. Long, short, curly or straight our locks identify us, so when we lose them we want helpful solutions  – the expert kind. Enter Hair Development.

Our history  began in the 1960s when my father Stanley Levy bought some wig making equipment from Adolf Cohen in Whitechapel for five pounds and a 1930s Art & Craft hairdressing manual. From this Hair Development was launched and it remains the longest running hair replacement business in the UK and  the only Extensions Company recommended by The Trichological Society.

As a trained hairdresser who worked in Knightsbridge and Paris, opening premises on Mile End Road may have seemed incongruous, but Stanley understood what clients coping with hair loss needed whether it was due to chemotherapy, alopecia or simple aesthetics.

Fifty five years on and Hair Development continues to cover all forms of non-surgical Hair Replacement for the public as well as creating fabulous wigs and tresses required for characters in films such as  Pirates of the Caribbean andLord of the Rings. Miss Piggy has us to thank for her first bouffant and Margaret Thatcher for her glamorous ‘do’ in Spitting Image.

Hair Development’s creative director Janis Levy

Though we provide celebrities with beautiful hair extensions in countless productions , this service is available to anyone as we wholesale and retail globally. With our team of specialists Hair Development creates and designs unprecedented systems that are undetectable as we source the best 100% Human Hair to guarantee a totally natural look and the most authentic results.

Ours is a custom made system that involves using a micro fine polyurethane base with each hair painstakingly implanted one at a time. With an abundance of incredible extensions and hilites, it is possible to add volume and length that looks completely natural and will literally change your life.

We also offer Laser regrowth therapy,  but whichever method you choose, Hair Development  will guarantee that you leave us with a full head of hair. Ethical, honest and steadfastly devoted to the industry my father remains as CEO and with his nephew Mark Burns as Managing Director, they are steering Hair Development from strength
to strength.

And I now work alongside them, having given up my career as a model and actress during which time I acquired iconic notoriety as the Cadbury’s Flake Girl. While working for NBC in Hollywood , I was one day transformed on set into an exotic brunette, courtesy of Hair Development.  Thousands of miles from home and my father was still doing my hair! Having worked in the industry and seen the benefits of hair enhancement – albeit just for television – I know what clients need, and as the Creative Director of  the company 020 8457 3300 I can make it happen.  After all I have learnt from the best. Whatever your hair predicament, Hair Development is here to provide solutions with confidential consultations.

Call for an appointment with no obligation 020 7790 4567 or 0800 1804567

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Get your legs gorgeous

Highgate Hospital can help those who want to hide their pins when the sun comes out


Varicose veins are largely hereditary, but can also come from pregnancy, ageing, gaining weight, a job that requires you to stand for prolonged periods and from DVT. Some people find them painful, and severe varicose veins can cause leg ulcers or blood clots.

The answer is to close the offending veins down so that the blood is forced to flow through your healthy veins.

“These days the majority of patients are treated with a minimally invasive approach using local anaesthetic techniques,” says Paul Flora, vascular surgeon at Highgate Hospital. “This means the surgery can be a walk in and walk out procedure associated with less pain and a quicker recovery into normal activities. We also know that this targeted treatment is far more effective with far lower chances of recurrence than the stripping surgery offered previously.’

At Highgate Hospital there are various treatments, all of which are minimally invasive. They are carried out under local anaesthetic and sessions are relatively quick (usually around an hour). Sclerotherapy involves injecting a chemical into the veins which makes them close up and fade away. EndoVenous Laser Ablation (EVLA/EVLT) is a laser treatment which destroys the vein walls. Larger veins may need a ‘foam’ version of the chemical and several sessions, or Venefit™ therapy, which is direct heating of the vein wall with microwaves to close it down.

Highgate Hospital is also offering a new ‘Glue’ treatment where the failed vein is filled with glue through a fine catheter in order to irritate its walls and cause it to seal off.

There is currently a special offer on varicose vein treatments at Highgate Hospital. Contact the hospital for details at 

17-19 View Rd, Highgate, 

London N6 4DJ

020 8341 4182

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