Beauty: Looking good need not be a great challenge

Nadia Toland, beauty therapist and owner of Aspen North, on Dundonald Street, shares her expert advice on staying young and beautiful.

How did you become a beauty therapist?

I studied to be an architect, but not long after graduating, purely out of interest, enrolled on a massage course. I was a keen runner and learned how massage can assist with a host of conditions, including relieving aches and pains and improving skin texture and condition. The latter became of particular interest to me, so I went to night school to study beauty therapy and became more fascinated by skin health. Massage features strongly in all my facial treatments.

What is in your make-up bag?

Blinc liquid liner and black mascara - totally smudge-proof - and Dr Sebagh Essential Glow works a treat as a make-up primer.

What is your top product for hair/face/nails/lips?

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I've started working with the Gentlemen's Tonic range and, despite being aimed at men, the conditioner is fantastic. I use Dr Sebagh products at home and particularly like the Deep Exfoliating Masque and the Serum Repair. For a good hand cream? Dr Sebagh's Hand Made, or the Gentlemen's Tonic Hand Balm. I also love the Belmacz lip glosses, which have little shards of gold leaf through them.

What treatment can't you live without?

I try to have a back massage on a regular basis, and always feel two inches taller afterwards.

What is your favourite scent?

I adore anything vanilla or almond. For my organic facial, I use a Latvian range called Madara and many of the body products are scented lightly with almond.

What is your best tip for staying youthful?

Facials and a good skincare regime, but I do believe a good lifestyle and nutrition are also key. I think you have to drink plenty of water, get enough sleep and keep active.

Why have beauty treatments become so popular?

Greater awareness has led to affordability. Media coverage and celebrity endorsement is more extensive than it used to be, too.

What is the most popular treatment you offer?

Facials, and I love doing them. The popularity of many other treatments varies depending on the time of year. Spray-tanning is popular throughout summer, but becomes busy again in the lead-up to the festive season. Towards Christmas, I also expect to see an influx in make-up and semi-permanent eyelashes, and January is usually busy with relaxing massage treatments.

Can men benefit from beauty therapy?

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Absolutely. Men are very interested in skincare and grooming. I have several male clients and facials are becoming popular.

What's next for you and Aspen North?

I want to offer treatments that are unique, so most of my facials aren't available outside London. I've selected every brand both for its high efficacy and for the quality of its retail range. I can also create personalised treatments, so clients can benefit from an element from each range within their facial.I'm very much looking forward to working with the Hungarian luxury skin care company Omorovicza and will be adding three more facials to my current menu featuring their products.

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Aspen North, 7 Dundonald Street, 0131-558 1855,