Author Archive


Creating the beauty deli-bar

Some of the raw ingredients for blending of our seasonal promotions.

So it has always been a wee dream of mine to create a deli-bar area in the salon of ingredients to sit along side our branded skincare companies. An area to create and blend products to use in our treatments and we could almost strip things back to basics and add to recipes just what we wanted for in salon use. At the end of 2018 after researching companies for raw ingredients our deli space was created.

My obsession with ingredients started actually when I was at college, I loved the chemistry aspect of using products and creating and blending and this was further enhanced by training to be an aromatherapist when I moved to Edinburgh in 1995. The love of blending lotions and potions and getting creative has followed me throughout the years. I was once told that I was a white witch in a previous life… oh how exciting and I totally get that and with my love of nature that makes total sense to me.

About 10 years ago I launched our Seasonal Promotions, little mini taster sessions that have become a firm favourite at Inner Balance with our regular clients coming in every 4 or 8 weeks. I love to see the excitement on our clients faces “so what is the next seasonal?”. Every 2 months for us its like launching a whole new range of treatments. I wanted to let my imagination have no bounds and have had great fun creating the names and treatments around seasonal ideas. A time for the imagination to run and see what it comes up with.

My obsession with researching treatments and ingredients has become quite a passion. Over the past 10 years I have noticed more questions from our clients who too are taking an interest in what ingredients are in their products. I recently had a client asking “that must be so nice your companies giving you all these seasonal ideas”. She was surprised to know that in actual fact it was my creative mind that puts the ideas together. We sit down in October and plan the year ahead so January we launch all the seasonal promotions for that coming year.

This year was slightly different as I wanted to create the deli area and teach Ellie our therapist the art of blending products and creating the recipes that we use in our treatments. Making small fresh batches of products and in essence its like mixing a cake recipe just as much fun but without the calories. I wanted to combine raw ingredients recipes that would complement our skincare brands. We test and tweek the recipes trial on each other then see how we can improve to make the experience with us amazing.

You can choose a 1 hour promotion and you receive all the treatments listed as little tasters or you can choose a 30 minute booster facial. We try to keep them similar but not the same. This is a great way to experience the ambience and flavour of what sort of treatments we do in the salon. Sometimes it’s quite hard to decide what treatment to have. Maybe it is your first time visiting us, then we can highly recommend our Seasonal Promotions as a relaxing introduction to Inner Balance.

Here you can find the promotions for 2019, just click the month you would like to come in to see us and see the treatments available that month. We highly recommend you book in advance as once the promotions finish we move onto the next one.

Ellie following the recipes created by Marianne

Protect your skin from the sunshine

What a great run of weather we have been having here in Scotland and I made a promise to myself to not be cooped up inside and to sit outside even if under the shade and do some work.  The benefits of some fresh air and some sunshine really does uplift the mood as I scrunch my toes up the grass underfoot (note to self must try and get a gardener). Connecting with the earth is something we really need to do more often.  Whether it is in a park, garden or on the beach in the sand or the sea then kick off your shoes, it is so good for the soul.
Scotland is interesting as soon as the sun is out its “taps aff” and the world becomes a brighter place as we get a bit of sun blindness with all the peely wally legs exposing the skin to the rays and over a few days as we increase the population of walking lobsters.
Tan safe is so important and with sunless tanning products to give you a glow you can achieve that all round tan safely whether it is a professional spray tan or a home use tanning product.  Sunless self tan creams can give you a glow but an important reminder that they will not give you any protection on your skin from the sun rays.  So don’t be lulled into a false sense of security that you are tanned always remember to apply your SPF creams.
Did you know you can buy skin specific SPF creams for the face?  Also did you know that the sun can dramatically age your skin too and an increased risk to skin cancer.  Formulations for face specific SPF creams are designed to not clog and overload your skin, I mean who wants to walk about like a greasy shiny chip and have blocked skin pores because the suncream used for the body is far too rich in texture for the face.  The higher the SPF the thicker the cream.

  • Keep your SPF cream in your handbag just in case you are out and about and get caught out. Although I recommend to use it every day if you know you will have the possibility of sun exposure and apply 30 mins before actually going out in the sun to allow the product to activate into your skin.  Also remember to apply to the back of the hands and neck.
  • Also remember SPF are only as effective as how often you put them on.  So once a day wont cut it for protection unless you keep applying it.  Also the higher you go does not always mean you will be higher protection either there is nothing that will block out the sun rays 100%.  Once your skin has sun it is damaged but apply SPF in any form is better than applying nothing at all and going for the burn is never a good approach.  
  • Always buy your suncreams for that year, do not stock pile because it is on promotion, remember as most creams will have a shelf life so that bargain you are keeping for the next year be aware that the SPF may already be starting to diminish. NEVER use that half opened bottle of cream from the previous year as it will not give you the same protection if any.


Jasmine Protective Fluid SPF30 🌞

+ UVA& UVB protection filters with high solar protection SPF30

+ Jasmine Extract to stimulate skin natural defences thanks to antioxidant properties

+ Vitamine E strong antioxidant power

+ Shea Polyphenols recognized for their detoxifying, soothing and antipollution properties

+ Cocoa Cells ensures the skin functions well

Beauty Use – the plus side of this fluid is it does not leave the skin white after use. Shake well before use. Apply alone or under your daily cream, uniformly on face and neck. Every day for a daily protection or before sun exposure.

White Mulberry Unifying Fluid SPF20 🌞

Part of the White Mulberry range native to Southeast Asia this Dr Renaud creamy fluid delivers hydration and reduces pigmentation spots. The skin is radiant and protected from the sun the complexion becomes even and bright.

+ Organic White Mulberry which is soothing and has brightening skin properties

+ Sea Lily reduces the surface and the intensity of the colour of brown spots

+ Vitamin C  limits the production of melanin+ Prickly Pear boosts the skins natural exfoliation

+ Floral Complex to stimulate the skin and bring a new radiance

+ Sugars of plant origin to moisturise and restructure

+ UVA & UVB protection filters with high solar protection SPF20

Beauty Use – apply the morning to the face, neck and hands

Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation SPF15 🌞

With natural SPF’s this is a firm favourite at Inner Balance.  Finely milled Mineral Foundation SPF 15 buffs into the skin effortlessly & allows custom coverage when applied in buildable layers. Made from natural ingredients to ensure the skin is kept clean & healthy, minimising breakouts and blemishes.

Beauty use – Apply daily on top of your day cream using a super kabuki brush

If you would like to know more about protecting your skin in the sun, advise on skincare then please do not hesitate to call us.  Or book in for a free skin consultation:


Horror & the Beauty who would have thought it

I love a beauty product…

and I love researching them – the professional and the fads, the fun and the interesting. You could say I am a little bit obsessed with it just like my other obsession – horror films!

Oh I see you there thinking … WHAT!  Yes horror movies you did read correct.  Give me gore, blood, vampires, the occult, paranormal and my absolute favourite you cannot beat a good Zombie!

Using activated charcoal = instant zombie

So as I was researching and trying out different beauty products and ideas for the salon I obviously realise my obsession with horror movies is a bit dramatic and the extreme opposite to the environment in the salon – you will be relieved 🙂

It is an escape and weirdly over the years I have found a few clients in conversation that have said.. “horrors omg me too!” When you find the joy of finding a client who also loves horror films, like recently – shout out to Pauline M.

An impression of a famous horror film disguising self as a spray tan. Bonus points for the film 😉

I love Japan and horrors out of Japan & Asia are superb! … oh I dream of Japan one day I will go on my dream destination.  It probably stems from starting karate at a young age.  The big epic historical movies and classics such as Seven Samurai.  Add too Playstation horror games oh I have my interests right there.  Side note – Marianne is also a geek.

I saw a photo and it inspired me to paint this: DREAMING OF JAPAN

Oh I do digress – I do go off on a tangent like Billy Connelly sometimes must be the Scottish blood.

So as I was researching beauty products (prob with a horror film on in the background 🙂 ) I found these strange dome shaped sponges from one of my gift suppliers – ohhhh what is that?! A konjac sponge.  Hmm that looks interesting lets Mr Google Konjac and see what I can find out lets get the detective hat on.

Lots of companies but what caught my eye was The Original Konjac Company so off an email goes, please tell me more.

What is a Konjac Sponge?

The history seems to stem from Asia and uses the Konjac root which is a vegetable fibre.  Once hydrated it turns into the softest silkiest sponge ever and is used as a cleansing facial sponge.  Cleaning the skin even without cleanser leaving the skin incredibly soft.

Oh I needed one NOW! 

After trying out some samples I knew we had to have them.  I know people like the quickness of facial wipes but yuk I don’t like them and the ingredients but I understand the quickness of the application.

What if there was an alternative to facial wipes?

Light bulb moment!

Oh maybe this is an alternative that our clients may like.  Could I no longer see rolling of eyes 🙂 when I talk about the importance of cleansing your skin.  So after receiving some samples I tested a sponge out for 2 months.

With and without cleanser it could do both.  But would it remove my Lily Lolo make-up even the mascara.  YOU BET IT DID! Sure enough it removed my make-up with ease and the texture of my skin after was so super soft and gentle.  All prepped ready for my moisturiser.  I could cleanse around my eyes without irritation too.

But how to keep clean, no problem according to instructions just rinse sponge squeeze out excess water and hang up by the nifty little string attached over the sink tap as it dried naturally ready for the next day use.

After about 2 months the fibre of the sponge started to break down but they recommend 1-3 months is average.  I was hooked after the first week of using it.  I used one for dull and devitalised skin with added pink clay and it was like giving myself a facial every day.  My routine is after the day is over chilling watching… of course a horror movie I would just dampen the sponge and sit and cleanse my skin it is so relaxing using the Konjac.

I loved imagining I am in  Japan in my Zen garden removing my make-up from ancient times and wondering who on earth found digging up a root could be used to clean the skin – amazing!

Sponges are not just for babies bottoms or Sponge Bob Square pants behold your face can use them too.


My journey as a beauty therapist

The Beginning…

When I look back I did not enter the beauty business to be my own boss, far from it I just went into a career that I fell in love with.   Let’s take a little look back and starts with my story:

Hello there! and if you don’t know me yet my name is Marianne Williamson.  I really did have a fun childhood, memories not knowing anything was wrong but at 8 my mum she was gone, breast cancer. My dad worked in the oil industry and was always working hard as a single parent but involved us much as he could.  Interested in martial arts, computer games, films, world culture, cooking, nature oh my goodness I am my father’s daughter. If he had to work at weekends off we went with him to the engineering firm my brother and I playing with with mini cranes (oh the health and safety would have a fit!) and hands in oil, hiding in massive boxes with foam packaging and generally having a great time.

To say I was a bit of a tom boy was probably accurate I didnt know anything other apart from time with my gran and helping her with baking and cooking.  I was not surrounded by typical make-up or feminine things I loved playing in the mud, outdoors, nature but I could sit for hours drawing and painting looking at the finest details of things.

My dad remarried when I was 12 and I had a feminine influence in my life.  Sadly my dad was killed in a car accident the next year and I look back at how my step mum brought me up.  Be my own person, be independent and stand on my own two feet which was to stand me as a mantra my whole life.

I was also painfully shy so started karate at the age of 13, what an amazing time and a great building block for confidence, learning respect for others and achieving black belt at 19 I had developing personally teaching others.  Oh was there something there talking to others and have them listening with interest.

My final year at school I spend most of my time in the art department so I decided to enroll at art college but after a year I realised I liked art but as a career I was not so sure.   To make extra money I was making money creating jewellery and designing my own branding and packaging.  I decided I would do beauty therapy as it was a way to be creative in a different way but I needed more higher education qualifications so went back to college to do some more highers.

Yay! I passed my higher qualifications and was accepted into the 2 year City & Guild Beauty Therapy & Electrical epilation course in 1992 at the age of 20 and one of the oldest in my class.  I then realised I loved science and learning after struggling at school but college I found it fascinating biology, physics, chemistry and anatomy. I now know this is where my love of research began and guess what there was also an art class too, I was in heaven I loved it.  Two years later I qualified with distinctions and it was time to find a job as a beauty therapist.


A brand new hair and beauty salon was opening in my home town I had to do everything set up the room, find suppliers and this was exciting.  Even though after amazing training I had no one to mentor me and guide me so I decided after a year at the age of 23 went to explore my options so I went to the library got out all the yellow pages (days before the internet – omg there was a time no internet!).  I must have written to about 50 salons in Edinburgh.  I got 2 replies and one was Jenners and I was offered an interview, I had never heard of Jenners but mum was omg that is really posh!

I passed the first interview then had to go back for a trade test.  I was offered the job went on the mad dash to try and find somewhere to live, goodness it was expensive.  My first move from home was equally scary and exciting.  I was starting in 2 weeks and no where to live so my manager let me stay in her spare room while she went on holiday so I was house sitting for my new boss and it gave me time to look for something.  I could only afford a room in shared flats and jeez they were grim.  But I eventually manged to find a one bedroom flat in not in the best location but hey it was home.

I realised how much I loved working with clients making them feel great, I adored skincare and facial treatments with amazing opportunities going  to London and Ascot to name but a few advancing my skills.  I was like a sponge give me more!  I am still like that today funnily enough.  I felt so confident, met Kirsten who took me under her wing the country bumpkin moving to the city. I had never had experienced being part of a big team but I thrived.

Time to return…

After some time I decided it was time to come back to my home town I was ready. Over the next few years I worked in small businesses and a hotel spa and there was a theme I noticed.  Setting them up, revamping and building their businesses.  From qualifying in 1994 and then working for others I had a light bulb moment.  Working for others was my learning foundation to work with clients of all backgrounds was my experience, it was time to branch out on my own it was time for my next progression of my journey.


I forget actually Inner Balance was not my first businesss.  In 1998 I set up Therapeutics after training with the Academy of On-site massage doing mobile seated massage while working part time in a small hairdressers doing beauty therapy employed and it was fantastic.  Then the opportunity came up to set up the spa at the brand new golf course hotel in Carnoustie.  I took the reigns and confidently approached the hotel there was no job advertised so Marianne get off your butt and put your skills and personality forward.  I knew I would be perfect and head therapist is what I wanted.  I had lots to offer and they accepted.  The Golf open came and went but it was soon apparent that I needed to work for myself I wanted to move upwards and advance my career I was driven.

I returned to the little hair salon that I loved working in as they had a great beauty space but they were struggling keeping therapists.  So I approached them and said I would come back if I could set up my own business it was time.  They said a massive yes! and so it was born the opportunity in 2000 that  Inner Balance health & beauty was created.  With an additional small retail line but my dream was to have a gift shop to sit along side the treatments.

I went to the business gateway and being advised it would not be viable, I did not listen I submitted my business plan got a £10 weekly grant for a year.   I went and opened up a business account.  My dad had left me shares when he passed and I thought I know what I need to do to make him proud, so I cashed the shares and set up my business all in aged 28.  I ended up doubling my daily projections on my business plan so to the negative nelly that said it was not viable…. ha!

Four years later I had outgrown the hair salon I needed my own shop but what a fantastic start and so it was back to Carnoustie and total renovation of a sandwich shop.  I had space my dream of expanding was coming together.  I went to the bank took out a business loan and my dream of having my little gift shop and therapy salon had arrived.  I also needed to employ staff and that has been a learning process over the years.  We stayed at that location for the next 10 years, Ellie our therapist had finished her training in 2013 and a year qualified so I wanted to impart my knowledge to her as a therapist. We fast forward to 2014 and had outgrown that location.  Six months renovation project and we were on the move to a shop 3 times bigger and here we are.

The present…

2016 brought a little bump in the road being diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer but surgery, chemo and radiotherapy was just what needed to be done, no need to question why it just was and had to be done.  Ellie was my rock in the business I had taught her well so I was able to take time to recover and reflect and she absolutely blossomed as a therapist.  I seriously looked at my life and knew it was a kind tap on the shoulder to tell me to slow down your not invincible.  After meeting my wonderful chemo buddy Henry who encouraged me to start painting again, start studying again I just could not do enough reading and research into holistics and returned to work 8 months later –  I know that is bonker but hey I am a determined wee mare!  So at 45 I am still recovering in lots of aspects but 26 years since I started my beauty therapy journey I still love it as day one I started my training.

My mission was to train every year and keep my skills and team members knowledge fun and updated.  To bring quality treatments, knowledge and create a professional, friendly, real and warm environment for our clients many of which we are happy to call our friends.

It is a special year this year my baby is heading towards her last teen years as we celebrate 18 years since Inner Balance began – its been a journey and a half with laughter and tears.  It is not all about me anymore it is about my amazing team and wonderful clients for which I am grateful and thankful for every day.

Loving the journey

Marianne x


Why is a skincare routine so important?

Why is a skincare routine so important?

Our skin is the biggest organ of the body and is constantly being bombarded with stresses like invisible little ninjas trying to attack that vital protective barrier of the skin.

  • Are you stuck in an office or travelling most of the day and not getting enough fresh air?
  • Suddenly hitting that age where you think you shouldn’t be getting spots?
  • Teen going through skin changes?
  • Or maybe you are like me are menopausal and your skin does not like to behave itself?

Hormonal, environmental and lifestyle stresses can play havoc on your skin from the inside and out.  Having a good skincare routine is a great way to protect, repair,  hydrate and nourish your skin.

Let us start by looking in the mirror with this simple skin test:

  • Does your skin look dry? Then it probably is.
  • Does your skin look shiny and oily? Then it is probably oily.
  • Does your skin have blocked pores, oily and dry? Then it is probably combination.

Who would have thought it could be that simple.  As therapists we are looking at lots of factors on the skin rather than a type such as lifestyle and the environment you are in.  Taking into account not just the outside but the inside too.

  • Did you know you can have oily skin but be dehydrated?
  • Did you know that dry skin can cause spots due to tight pores and build up of dead skin cells and natural oils plugging in the skin, which can give you a false sense of what your skin needs.
  • Did you know hormonal changes can cause dryness, spots and sensitivity?
  • Did you know that wind damage is just as bad as sun damage on the skin?

We totally understand how confusing it must be with so many products bombarding your viewpoint when we are shopping.  We often see people using products that are actually not doing much for the skin at all but hey that is OK that is where we are here to help you.

Some of the common things we see are our younger clients using anti-age products that are really too rich and heavy for the skin or products that are just too abrasive on the skin.   More demanding skins not having enough active ingredients to target concerns.   We love to cover our bodies with the latest fashion and shoes.  Yet an area that is exposed to the elements like the face in particular sometimes is an area we are not sure about what to do or just forget about.

Skincare does not have to be complicated.  Make it as simple or as elaborate as you want to make it and we can help guide you in the right direction.  Here is a few questions:

  • Would you rather have a few quality products that you use every day until they are finished and you enjoy and see results?
  • Have you fallen for the latest fads and products that are still sitting in your bathroom after a few weeks when you realise they are not what you thought once the novelty has gone?
  • Have used the same skincare products for years because that is just your routine but the products are just not working like they used to?
  • Or you just do not have a clue where to start?


I love simplicity so in this blog lets start talking about the first step and that is preparing your skin so we need to talk cleansing.  Bye bye soap and water or cleansing wipes, here are some different options for you.


  • Milks are great for drier skin and can be tailored to your skin type.
  • Simply massage wipe off with cotton pads, cleansing cloth, sponge or rinse off.

TRY: Dr Renaud Raspberry Hydrating Milk

TRY: Dr Renaud White Mulberry  Brightening Milk 

TRY: Dr Renaud Camomile Soothing Milk


Facial washes are a great quick application to cleanse the skin and for those that love to have that “rinsed feeling on the skin”.  Washes are also popular with teens and come in gel and foam form.

  • Add a small amount of wash to the palm of the hand and mix with a little bit of water and gently massage on the skin.  Facial washes can generally be used over the eye area too.
  • Both should ideally feel creamy and hydrating on the skin and in no way the skin should feel tight after.
  • If you are using water on its own or with soap especially in the morning in the shower and you are finding your skin is dry and tight you maybe surprised that most of the moisture in your skin is probably been rinsed away down the plug with the water.  We think water as so hydrating but it alone can cause dryness.

TRY: Dr Renaud Raspberry Hydrating Wash

TRY: Dr Renaud Lime Purifying Wash

TRY: Dr Renaud Carrot Radiance Foaming Wash


  • Cleansing oil or balms for more drier skin that instantly soothes and hydrates the skin  from the moment it is applied feeling luxurious yet light in texture and can turn to a creamy lotion when rinsed off the skin.
  • Micellar water is quick way to remove eye make-up also without over stimulating the delicate skin area around the eyes and is applied with a cotton pad.

Try: Dr Renaud Rose Cleansing Oil

Try: Dr Renaud Raspberry Cleansing Water


A natural fibre sponge with added ingredients for all skin types.  These sponges once hydrated will gently cleanse the skin.  They can be used with or without cleanser and a great alternative to wipes as they can contain alcohol that may dry the skin long term.

TRY: The original Konjac Sponge Company

A good cleansing routine is a great start to prepare your skin for the next stage of your skincare routine, scrubs, masks and moisturisers which we will talk about at a later date.

Can we help you with a new routine or maybe just start one?  We are always happy to help, if you would like to chat further then feel free to message us on our contact page.


Make-up brushes to art brushes


ART BY – Marianne

As a child I was always fascinated with art and drawing and it led me to go to college in 1990 to do art illustration.  Then I  went into the world of beauty therapy in 1992 and set up my salon Inner Balance in 2000.


Jump forward to 2016 I was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer and I went on an exceptional journey of self discovery and re-assessment of life. After major surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy I had time on my hands to recover. I met a very special friend Henry at our first oncology appointment we were destined to become friends and as he put it “we are soul family”. He was an artist and professional medium and I was so inspired by his work and our conversations and the encouragement for me to pick up the paint brushes again.

Sadly Henry passed away at the end of 2016 but he had such a massive impact on my life, he will be ever in my thoughts as I pick up the paint brushes and try to be creative.  I am forever grateful that he was a part of my life even if for a short time.

I adore landscape and nature and initially my preferred medium was with watercolour but I decided to experiment with mediums including gouache, acrylic and oils and discovering Bob Ross and “the joy of painting” was a revelation. I started my paintings for me and its become a form of meditation and lets me go into the quiet space of my mind and totally immerse myself into my world. I was delighted when my friends and clients at the salon started to really like what I was doing. So I created a mini gallery within the salon to which you can see the paintings.  They are all for sale and looking for a new home and each painting is very special to me and is created with love and energy.

I am totally loving the journey and look forward to seeing where the creativity will flow stepping forward into this wonderful place we call life.


 Find more of Marianne’s work on her Facebook page.