AHAs – Alpha Hydroxyl Acids, Find Your Favorite

Beauty and Skincare

Skincare ingredients can often be very confusing and hard to understand and because of that, it’s always a good idea to start with the basics.

Let’s answer this question – what is an alpha hydroxyl acid?

AHAs are water-soluble acids made from sugary fruits. They help peel away the surface of your skin so that new, more evently pigmented skin cells may generate and take their place. If you want younger-looking, smoother, more even-toned skin, you probably need AHAs in your skincare routine.

AHAs are primarily used to exfoliate. They can also help:

  • promote collagen and blood flow
  • correct discoloration from scars and age spots
  • improve appearance of surface lines and wrinkles
  • prevent acne breakouts
  • brighten your complexion
  • increase product absorption

There are six acids in the AHA family, so let’s learn more about them.

What’s your favorite AHA?

Maskne – What Are They, How To Prevent Them And How To Get Rid Of Them Once And For All?

Beauty and Skincare

Even if you don’t suffer from them, you’ve probably heard of them. Maskne! Often referred as acne appearing under the area where the mask is worn. It mostly occurs when sweat, oil, bacteria and other debris is trapped under the mask mixed up with mask fabric friction, increased trapped heat and humidity creating a perfect breeding ground for breakouts and skin sensitivity issues. Those who are generally more blemish prone and suffer clogged pores are usually affected the most.

HOW TO PREVENT AND TREAT MASKNE?

Mask Fabric

– Choose natural breathable fibres (for example cotton) over synthetic fibres (polyester or rayon) as they are generally more comfortable and cause less irritation.

– Choose lighter smoother materials for masks in general.

– Look out for antimicrobial masks.

Mask Fitting

Make sure your mask is fitted properly and not too tight across the cheeks, as tight strings may cause friction and congestion around the cheek area.

Mask Replacement

– Apply a clean mask every day to prevent the build up of bacteria, oil, and makeup on the mask.

– Ensure you are washing your masks regulary with gentle cleansing agents instead of harsh detergents.

– Have 7 masks on rotation for the week to save time and effort washing midweek.

Facial Hair

Those with facial hair might want to trim it or if they are shaving to help the mask fit better they may notice some extra irritation. Keep the skin and hair clean and moisturised underneath the mask to help prevent dryness and ingrown hairs.

Clean Skin

Make sure you are cleansing your skin gently and effectively both AM and PM. I would recommend double cleansing in the evening just to make sure you are removing all traces of dirt, products, sunscreen, etc.

Keep It Simple

Avoid layering too many products especially around the mouth area as this increases the chances of moisture, debris and products clogging your skin. Stick to essentials around this area but don’t forget your SPF as most masks don’t have UPF protection.

Take A Break

Removing your mask after a few hours when it is ok to do so (at home, in your car, during your lunch break, etc) can give your skin some respite.

Hydrate And Build Your Skin Barrier

Don’t forget to replenish your skin with hydrators, ceramides, fatty acids to prevent skin peeling, dryness, and dehydration underneath the mask. Using the right replenishing moisturiser daily can prevent issues of dryness, especially if you are using more blemish control ingredients.

Use Salicylic Acid (BHA) to prevent breakouts as it is an oil-soluble ingredient that is able to penetrate deep into the pores to unclog. For specific acne prone areas, you can use spot treatments with sulfur/benzoyl peroxide/BHA/tea tree oil to prevent and treat breakouts. A face wash with some active blemish ingredients might be a gentle option for more easily irritated skin.

If you are already undertaking some treatments for your skin, keep up with it as this will help keep flare ups under control but definitely speak to your doctor for more personal advice.

Keep Your Makeup Light

It is better to avoid wearing thick and heavy coverage foundation or long wear foundations under this area. Opt for light tinted coverage, sheer, tinted moisturisers, and/or tinted SPF for some coverage instead. Avoid setting powder if you can as again, the more layers will increase the chance of congestion. If you can, avoid wearing makeup under your mask.

If you use lip products, it might rub onto your mask and back onto your skin and can cause some congestion, especially if your lip product or lip balm have comedogenic ingredients in them.

Anyone else experiencing more than the usual breakouts with masks?

13 skincare mistakes you should avoid at all cost

Beauty and Skincare

Hey don’t worry! Nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes. To make thing worse, we rarely learn from those mistakes and often we have to repeat them a few more times until we learn. Am I right?

Skincare mistakes are nothing new, nothing strange or unusual, and are commited by us all. Most of the time, you don’t even know that some of your habits are damaging your skin. Proper skincare is extremely important in the summer thanks to sunshine, humidity, and heat but in the winter too.

We all want nice, beautiful, and healthy skin. Sometimes we’ll do many crazy and extreme things to achieve it. We’ll spend insane amount of money on serums and creams. We’ll get botox, fillers and facials. We’ll buy expensive makeup and follow 30 step skincare regimen.

The skincare industry can be a little (a lot) overwhelming but, you know what? Getting nice skin is not as complicated as you may think. One place to start is by evaluating which skincare mistakes you’re doing and then learn from those mistakes.

Not removing makeup before sleep (and exercize)

This is a very common mistake, but also one of the worst mistakes you can do to your skin. While we sleep our skin is renewing, repairing and producing skin cells so we can look radiant, fresh and beautiful. Imagine this – if you have a layer of makeup on your skin you are making it nearly impossible for those cells to repair and renew.

The makeup also attracts free radicals, and they break down the collagen production in our skin, speed up the ageing process, and our skin becomes dull and dehydrated.

To prevent damage, remove all your makeup before going to bed, but also before your workout because sweat and makeup don’t mix well.

Using filthy bedding

Just because your pillowcase doesn’t look dirty, doesn’t mean it isn’t dirty. Sweat, oil from skin and hair, and other residues from products such as shampoos, conditioners, hair oils and face creams, linger around on your bedding. Are you even aware of what this could do to your skin? Awful things and damage.

Solution? Wash your bedding once a week. Change your pillowcase. You could also consider giving up cotton for silk.

Using dirty beauty tools

Dirt attracts bacteria. Bacteria is very dangerous for your skin. Using dirty tools, sponges and brushes not only leads to to clogged pores, but also to skin infections. If you never (or rarely) clean your beauty tools, don’t worry, you are normal but you should also change that unhealthy habit and your skin will be grateful.

Invest in new brushes and tools from time to time. Also, clean your tools regulary. Water and gentle soap and you are done!

Touching your face

Do you know what’s the biggest mistake you could make? Touching your face too often. Just think about all the things you touch and your hands are exposed to over the course of a regular day. Now, imagine all of that transferred to your face.

Every day our hands come in contact with millions of bacteria and germs. If you touch your face, everything will stuck there. And trust me, it’s much worse than it sounds. As difficult as it might be, keep your hands off your face. Also, keep your hands as clean as possible. But even when you have the cleanest hands, still don’t douch your face. It’s the biggest skincare mistake you could make.

Overexfoliating

Exfoliation is still important (in moderation). But instead of a harsh scrub, you can try a chemical exfoliant made with acids like AHA and/or BHA. It’s easy to go crazy with exfoliating scrubs, especially when your skin is feeling off or dry. But it could be doing more harm than good. Exfoliating can cause tiny tears in the skin and can impair the skin’s normal skin barrier.

Skipping daily sunscreen

You really need sunscreen every day — yes, even when it’s cloudy, raining or snowing. Sun exposure causes sunspots, skin damage and can lead to skin cancer — and you don’t have to be at the beach to get too much exposure. Use at least SPF 30.

Picking your skin

You may not even realize that you do it, but constantly picking at the skin can cause irritation, inflamed skin and spread bacteria. Going overboard with this can lead to scarring, and may even make you break out since your hands usually have a good amount of bacteria on them. If this is a nervous habit, try and break it by keeping your hands busy with something else. 

You’re mostly using face wipes

Using face wipes causes you to pull and tug at your skin to remove your eye makeup. Not good folks. Cleansing cloths should only be used for emergency. If you’re so exhausted that you can barely stand in front of a sink, then face wipes will come handy. Heck, it’s definitely better than not washing at all. But don’t use them too often and definitely not every day.

You’re not layering your products right

If you’re putting your serum on after moisturiser, you may as well be pouring it down the drain. Serums contain targeted ingredients that need as much contact as possible with your skin to work their magic. Moisturiser, on the other hand, acts like a protective blanket over the skin – which prevents the active ingredients in your serum from penetrating through.

If ever in doubt, simply apply your products from thinnest to thickest formula. This should look something like toner-serum-moisturiser-oil. “But my moisturiser is thicker than my face oil!”, I hear you cry. Well ask yourself – would you down a bottle of olive oil on a sunny day to quench your thirst? No, you wouldn’t. So you shouldn’t quench thirsty skin with a face oil.  Moisturisers contain humectants to draw water into uppermost layers of the skin, but they can’t do that if you put your face oil on first. Always pat in your face oil last, on top of your moisturiser.

Regardless of how simple or complicated your skincare routine is, the order in which you apply your products really matters. If you get your order wrong, some products won’t be able to reach your skin. This way, you will not only be wasting product, but you won’t benefit from it either.

Skipping moisturiser

There’s a huge misconception in the skincare community that the last thing oily skin types need is moisturiser. 

No matter what your skin type is, everyone needs moisturiser. In fact, using a moisturiser can actually help your skin regulate its own natural oil production – resulting in less spots overall. The trick is making sure you’ve got the right ingredients to help keep your skin hydrated, without triggering a break-out.

You are Changing Your Products to Often

I know a lot of women make this skincare mistake. It happens all too easily when someone goes out and purchases a whole new line of skincare products. They’ve likely heard all kinds of good things about it and feel amazing buying them. Then just a few days after swapping out everything their skin looks and feels worse than ever! The problem is if you change too much at once you’ll never know what is working and what’s not.

Your Morning Skin Care Routine is Non Existent

If the first thing you put on your face in the morning is makeup your skin is really missing out!! Your skin deserves more than only taking care of it before bed. While a nightly skin care routine is crucial to removing buildup, excess oil, and the like before you sleep – a morning routine is important too. 

Rubbing Products onto Your Face

When you apply a product such as a serum or cream on your skin, do you rub it in to get it absorbed? If yes, this habit has simply got to go! The skin on your face is more sensitive than the rest of your body and needs to be treated gently. Rubbing your skin can cause a bunch of problems such as early wrinkles, and skin damage. What’s more, rubbing your product in does not help it get absorbed better at all!

The best way to apply your products is by gently tapping it in. By pressing it into your skin with a light touch, your product will absorb a lot better while the tapping motion will help improve your blood circulation, leading to healthier, glowing skin.

So are you guys guilty of some of these mistakes too? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to keep an eye out for my next post!

5 Ingredients For A Brighter Skin

Beauty and Skincare

Now that fall is upon us, we start implementing heavier products into our skincare routines. This is the season that skin starts to take on a more dull tone. We are not exfoliating as much as we were in summer, the heating gets switched, the air is colder and things generally aren’t in our favour for bright skin.

Skincare isn’t about finding a quick fix because it simply doesn’t exist. No, it’s about living a lifestyle that allows confidence, control and healthy skin. In order to maintain blemish free skin (and that is totally possible to achieve) clear skin is a daily commitment.

Healthy skin requires consistent use of the right products, along with conscious lifestyle choices, the right diet, supporting supplements, and good sleep that lead you to achieving your skin goals. In order to get clear, healthy and brighter skin, patience and consistency is key.

Now tell me, is dull skin getting you down? Look no further because the next 5 ingredients all have one thing in common – making your skin brighter! They trigger the epidermis to head into full remodel mode, reducing the appearance of fine lines, smoothing, undulling, and hydrating for renewed radiance.

They brighten the skin by clearing away dull, dry skin to reveeal a fresher appearance, but some earn extra points for the ways they take on excess pigment.

Here is the list of the best 5 ingredients for a brighter skin:

Mandelic Acid

Mandelic acid enhances brightness in two ways. It inhibits the melanin producing enzyme tyrosinase to block pigment from forming. It helps lift existing pigment by exfoliating dead cells from the surface. Mandelic acid has a larger molecular structure than other AHAs, so it is absorbed by the skin more slowly and doesn’t cause irritation that can trigger hyperpigmentation.

It also has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. Mandelic acid is a particulary good choice for skin of color or sensitive types because of its gentle action.

The best products that contain mandelic acid 

The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA $7
PCA Skin Pore Refining Treatment $60
Susanne Kaufmann Glow Mask $90

Kojic Acid

Kojic acid is a natural skin lightening compound derived from mushrooms. It works by blocking the production of tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for melanin synthesis. It also helps exfoliate skin and stimulate cell renewal, which is beneficial for removing existing pigmentation, plus it has photoprotective qualities.

Kojic acid fades dark spots and prevents new pigment formation making it ideal for combatting melasma, hyperpigmentation and age spots.

The best products that contain kojic acid 

SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense $98
iS Clinical Super Serum Advanced Plus $155
La Roche-Posay Mela-D Pigment Control Serum $53

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid disperses pigment on skin’s surface through the sloughing off of dead cells. It also works to directly reduce melanin formation by inhibiting melanin production. In addition to accelerating cell turnover, glycolic acid stimulates collagen production and promotes a smoother texture and more consistent tone.

Because of its small molecular size, glycolic acid penetrates more quickly than other AHAs, so it can be quick to produce results (but don’t expect the overnight results). It can also be more irritating.

The best products that contain glycolic acid 

Mario Badescu Glycolic Skin Renewal Complex $35
Dermalogica Sound Sleep Cocoon $64
Herbivore Botanicals Prism Natural Fruit Acids 5% Exfoliating Glow Potion $62

Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)

This antioxidant powerhouse interacts with copper to inhibit the melanin-stimulating enzyme tyrosinase, reducing the formation of pigment and encouraging a brighter, more even tone. It also has a potent photoprotective effect to reduce melanin triggers.

Vitamin C is essential to collagen synthesis, so it supports a firmer skin structure.

The best products that contain vitamin C

Lumene Nordic-C Arctic Berry Oil-Cocktail $25
Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream $64
Sunday Riley C.E.O Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream $65

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is converted into retinoic acid in the body where its potent antioxidant properties get to work. It disrupts the oxidative process induced by enviromental stressors to prevent and repair cellular damage. Vitamin A also brightens skin by accelerating cell turnover, which removes surface-level pigmentation.

As a bonus, vitamin A boosts collagen production, thickens, and firms the skin. Vitamin A is often used in combination with other AHA brighteners to maximize results.

The best products that contain Vitamin A

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Retinol Capsules £39.31


A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum £70.00
Retinol 0.3% + Vitamin B3 Serum £38.00

Are there any you’re a fan of?

Marula Oil – Powerful Benefits of the Elixir of Youth

Beauty and Skincare

Jojoba oil. Coconut oil. Argan oil. Olive oil. Sounds familiar? Thought so. But what about marula oil? Ever heard of that? Marula oil is a wonderful oil extracted from the marula tree found in sub-Saharan tropical Africa. Marula oil is also known as the “Elixir of Youth” and it has been used as a natural remedy for centuries to treat a wide range of health conditions.

Marula oil can come from either the nuts, seeds, or the fruit of said tree; the nut can be be boiled, the seeds pressed, or the fruit processed to extract it. It might be something new in our beauty world but it’s been used for centuries in Africa.

Marula oil is a lightweight and antioxidant-rich oil, light yellow, has a faint nutty scent, fast-absorbing, and contains fatty acids that have moisturizing and emollient properties. The amino acids found in marula oil (L-arginine and glutamic acid) help restore hydration and have anti-aging properties.

Marula oil is a real multitasker. It will hydrate your skin, minimize dark spots, protect against UV rays, but it also works great on dry ends and flyaways. Marula oil is absorbed so quickly, you don’t need to worry it will weigh down your hair or leave greasy residue on your skin. Believe it or not, marula oil contains 60 percent more antioxidants than other oils. Amazing, right?

Benefits of Marula Oil for Skin

Marula oil balances moisture levels. Whether it’s used on its own or added to a skin product, a few drops on the face, neck, and décolleté will lock in moisture without leaving a thick residue. It will also fight off free radicals that threaten your complexion. (You can also add a few drops to your foundations so they won’t be as drying to the skin.)

Marula oil will leave your skin super-smooth to the touch in an instant, but just as importantly, it will help maintain that silky texture by hydrating and reversing the damage that left skin rough in the first place.

Marula oil is full of fatty acids and omega oils, as well as Vitamins E and C, which work together to repair free radical damage, like that from the sun exposure or pollution, which accelerate aging. It’s been shown to improve skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of fine lines and deep-set wrinkles.

Thanks to its hydrating and antimicrobial properties, applying it to your problem areas can help reduce the size and appearance of all kinds of blemishes. It can also reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks.

Marula oil won’t clog pores, it is non-comedogenic, so you don’t have to worry about it clogging pores, as is the case with some other oils.

You already know that antioxidants are a must-have ingredient in your quest for complexion perfection, and marula oil is a good source of these. It’s packed with vitamins C and E,. Marula oil also contains the phytochemical epicatechin, which has strong antioxidant properties.

Marula oil is loved for good wound healing properties, and this can largely be attributed to its anti-inflammatory effects. Those same fatty acids that make it so hydrating also help combat inflammation and redness.

Marula oil keeps hair and scalp healthy. Not every all-natural oils out there penetrate deep into the scalp but Marula oil is an exception. Not only does it sinks in, but effectively coats the strands to protect against external damage, retains the moisture, nourishes from within, and seals the cuticles.

Marula oil is also great for nail care. With loads of Vitamin E and fortifying nutrients, Marula oil is great for treating weak, splitting or brittle nails. The skin-enriching compounds nourish and moisturizes the nails, promotes re-growth, and help to remove dead nails. Thus it ensures you have healthy cuticle and stronger nails. Massaging the oil into cuticles can make them soft, and supple. Add it to nail products to get strong, pretty nails.

Side Effects of Marula Oil

There are no specific and scientifically proven risks associated with marula oil yet. But, people who are already allergic to nuts may be allergic to marula oil.
A patch test is recommended before using marula oil.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Apply 3 or 4 drops of marula oil on your inner forearm.
  • Wait for 24 hours.
  • If there is no sign of hives, redness, or irritation, you can use marula oil on other parts of your body.
  • Avoid contact with eyes and stop using it in case of irritation.

How to Use Marula Oil

As with most oils, you can either use it straight up or look for it mixed with other ingredients in a serum or moisturizer. For the former, seek out pure or virgin marula oil, which will have a higher concentration of those good-for-your skin antioxidants than a refined version.

Face oil should be the very last step in your skincare routine, since moisturizers and serums can’t actually penetrate your skin if it’s covered in oil. So after you cleanse, tone, spot-treat, and moisturize, plop two or three drops of marula oil on your fingers and gently dab the oil on your face. The key word here is “gently”—no rubbing, just tapping, which’ll help the oil sink into your skin nice and quickly.

Marula oil is rich in essential nutrients with numerous potential benefits. It is a widely used ingredient in several cosmetic products. It helps in delaying the signs of aging and protects your skin from getting damaged.
Use marula oil in recommended quantities to reap its benefits and consult a doctor in case of any side effects.

Not only does marula absorb into the skin easily, but it can also help beat environmental stressors like pollution, sun damage, and harsh weather. Marula oil is the real secret to the glowy, young looking, healthy skin and shiny hair of your dreams.

Have you ever tried marula oil? Did you like it?