Face serums for every skin condition

Serums confuse a lot of people. They never know why they should use them, when they should use them, or what type to use.

Serums are highly concentrated and active; this means that they need to be applied first, to clean skin. This way all the active ingredients can penetrate your skin.

 These active ingredients are the reason why serums are more expensive than regular moisturisers. 

The high concentrations in active ingredients push the price up. 
As to which serum is best for you, here is a lineup of serums addressing various skin conditions.

Acne



£93.99 amazon.co.uk

With 1.5 percent salicylic acid, this fast-acting, quick-drying, medicated oil clears acne and blackhead-causing buildup and debris from congested pores for smoother, blemish-free skin. 

Hydration

This is where I would normally place a serum that contains glycerin or hyaluronic acid and tell you that it can hold 100 times its weight in water. Don’t get me wrong that’s a good thing.

However, a new concept in skin care is the incorporation of ceramides.

Ceramides are important components of the intercellular lipids that are necessary to link the protein-rich corneocytes into a waterproof barrier that is capable of protecting the underlying skin tissues and regulating body homeostasis. 

This means that you are actually replenishing the building blocks of your skin instead of just sealing moisture onto your skin only to lose it when you wash off your hyaluronic acid rich serum.

£33.33 amazon.co.uk

Scar healing


This feels watery and smells like lemon grass. It is enriched with snail gel serum which is excellent for scar healing.

£17.99 amazon.co.uk

You can use it in the morning just before you apply your daily moisturiser but I feel that it’s more suitable for a night routine.
Anti-aging

This product uses next-generation retinoid active technologies which have been shown to achieve better reduction in signs of ageing without the irritation that comes with retinol use.

£8.90 amazon.co.uk

£17.84 amazon.co.uk

The ordinary’s products don’t boast of glittery packaging and their product descriptions aren’t alluring but the products do work.

To improve foundation texture

Mixing serum with your foundation is one of those fads that is actually worth a try, it’s supposed to make your foundation more dewy. You might want to try this when it’s colder and drier outside and your mattifying foundation starts to leave you with dry patches.

£35 aveeno.co.uk

This aveeno serum is well suited for that purpose because it doesn’t have any light sensitive ingredients or ingredients that make you sun sensitive. It also visibly smoothes out fine lines on application.
Now that we’ve covered serums, it’s only natural that we cover moisturisers too, look out for that post next week.

As a rule choose your serum by condition and your moisturiser by skin type. Your serum goes at the treatment stage of your routine and moisturiser follows as your coat/protection.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Cleansing: am/pm cleansers

Cleansing the face is the most important step in keeping healthy and vibrant looking skin.

 Excessive oils, environmental pollution, and toxic chemicals can build up to form a layer of grime that damages your skin’s health and 

At the end of the day, cleansing is especially important to take off make up and SPF from sunscreens and daytime moisturizers.

Ideally you should take off make up with a dedicated makeup remover then proceed with a second cleanser.

Here use a cleanser that addresses special skin needs. This one is your skin cleanser more than your makeup remover. Its job is to make sure your skin is clean, balanced and comfortable. You can obviously use one cleanser for both cleanses if you have budget concerns. Just buy the best that you can afford when you can afford it.

Without further here ado here are some top picks for second cleansers.

Foam

Avene Cleansing foam



Benefits

-Gently cleanses and removes make-up 

-Leaves perfectly matte finish 

-Soft, lightweight foam with refreshing texture 

£13.49 amazon.co.uk

Key ingredients

-Patented Glutamic Acid mattifies and controls excess oil 

-Gentle cleansing base thoroughly cleanses and removes make-up on the face and eyes 

-Avène Thermal Spring Water soothes, softens and calms the skin 
Gel Cleanser

Gently remove makeup and impurities with AHAVA’s Dead Sea mineral rinse-off gel. This soapless gel leaves oily skin feeling fresh, clean and conditioned.

£14 amazon.co.uk 

Mineral-infused, prevents drying while cleansing.

Conditions and cleanses skin for all day comfort.

The only downfall of this cleanser is that it contains sulfates. 

Cream cleanser

This gentle cleanser exfoliates and supports the skin’s natural protective function, preparing it for a toner and day or night care.

£20.89 amazon.co.uk

Formulation: Calendula, chamomile, St. John’s wort, anthyllis and sweet almond meal.

 Clay mask

Perhaps the most predominant function of medicinal clay is its ability to draw out toxicity from within the body and from the surface of the skin. Various therapeutic clays, especially bentonite clay can effectively bind to heavy metals like mercury, cadmium, lead and benzene as well as other environmental pollutants and eliminate them from the body’s tissues.
This clinique mask combines the detoxifying properties of clay and the acne fighting properties of salicylic acid. 

£19.95 amazon.co.uk

Like other clay masks use this 2-3 times a week.

Did I mention you could use any one of these cleansers for your morning cleanse?

Thanks for stopping by!

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Gross ingredients in skincare

Sulphates, parabens, alcohol and petroleum are much talked about and hated in the beauty industry, but did you know about this relatively harmless but gross ingredients in skincare?

Tallow

Tallow is a hard, fatty substance made from rendered animal fat, which is commonly used to make soap and candle. Rendering fat is also the most common method of making glycerin. 

Ambergris

Sperm whales eject an intestinal slurry called ambergris into the ocean, where the substance hardens as it bobs along. Eventually it gets collected along shores.

High-end perfumes from houses such as Chanel and Lanvin take advantage of the ability of ambergris to fix scent to human skin.

It was once thought the ambergris was ejected by mouth. As of now, the argument seems to be weighted toward the back end of the whale.

Snail gel

Snail slime (or its cosmetic name, snail filtrate) is packed with nutrients such as hyaluronic acid, glycoprotein, proteoglycans, and antimicrobial and copper peptides, all of which are commonly used in beauty products and proven to be beneficial for the skin. These elements help to protect the snail’s skin from damage, infection, dryness and UV rays.

Snail slime contains 91-98% water. The slime is filtered multiple times to increase its concentration and ensure its purity. Some snail slime products claim to contain as much as 97% snail secretion filtrate. 

Placental lipids

The afterbirth organ that enables a foetus to grow in a pregnant female is a hot commodity. Although some skincare companies opt for sheep or pig placenta instead of human placenta, the prospect of putting placenta on your face is still gross.

Humanolin

Years ago someone had a brilliant idea to create a Sebum Reclamation System that would separate human sebum from soap and water in your shower water. Your sebum or your family’s aggregate sebum would then be collected in a vial then stored in the fridge.

He was working on the premise that people buy lanolin for its similarities to human sebum. If people wanted a product similar to sebum, how much better would they like their own sebum?

I can see the advantages but it’s just a bit too utilitarian, kind of similar to taking a dump in the vegetable patch.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Fragrance mini haul + layering

I’ve been feeling a bit sad lately, so I treated myself to a little shopping spree yesterday. Right now I’ve got every skincare essential stocked up, so I bought fragrance mists instead of skincare products.

Bear with me, I know fragrance isn’t skincare, and my commitment to keep it skincare on this blog isn’t waning, there’s still a lot about skin I haven’t written yet.When you’re a skincare blogger, it’s easy to forget about life’s other little luxuries like clothes, shoes, perfume and purses (I adore purses btw) so yesterday’s treat was well deserved. 

Let’s get right into it.

I bought four fragrance mists, two by bath and body and two by body fantasies. I’ve always wanted to learn how to layer fragrances, to this end I bought unblended scents. What I mean by this is that each fragrance mist has only one note.

Bath and Body


Body Fantasies

All of these fragrances work well on their own, a wonderful thing because on a hot day all your layering efforts will go to waste, scents wear off faster when it’s hot. If you like topping up your body mist or perfume throughout the day then you will want to wear only one fragrance, it’s easy to carry just one bottle and you don’t have to worry about proportions when you spray.
As for my informal layering experiment, this is how it went down.

 I once read somewhere that fresh scents like cucumber and watermelon go great together. Not the case here, cucumber overpowered watermelon in this combination.

I tried layering cucumber with twilight but again the cucumber was too strong. I think I’ll wear twilight as a stand alone fragrance.

Surprisingly, cucumber complemented coconut quite well in this combination. The coconut body splash I bought from Yves Rocher earlier on this year, I wear it on its own but smelling it all day can get a bit oppressive.

Another surprise success is the combination between watermelon and coconut. Certain scents are migraine triggers for me, these include vanilla (cheap generic kind), shea and coconut if sprayed with a heavy hand. Watering down the coconut with some watermelon makes it less likely to give me a migraine.

As you might read elsewhere on the internet, layering also involves packing on a scent using lotion and body wash. When I really want to smell of cucumber I’ll use this combination.


Missing conspicously from my layering experiment, is the bath and body Japanese blossom, I was rather unimpressed with it. I won’t give it away though, I’ll wear it to lousy dates and boring seminars.

 Thanks for stopping by!

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Maureen Wahu is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and other Amazon sites. 

Using acids…responsibly ;-)

If you asked me what’s the secret to soft, radiant and blemish free skin, I would never feed you some tired line about drinking more water. Sorry Jennifer Aniston, it doesn’t work. The secret ladies and gentlemen is acids, alpha and beta hydroxy acids to be more precise.

At their most basic level, these products loosen the bonds that hold dead surface skin cells together. The skin cells shed off imperceptibly, and reveal newer ones beneath, which are less damaged by environmental factors like sunlight and pollution. Over time, it diminishes lots of little things that make a big difference: dullness, congested pores, fine lines, and uneven skin tone.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a cleanser, toner or exfoliator that launched recently, which doesn’t contain some form of acid, whether its glycolic , salicylic or lactic. Look out for these acids in moisturisers and serums too.

For a lot of people who’ve dabbled in acids, there is a general consensus that acids are the key to good skin and their goal is to work their way up to higher strengths to continually see improvements. 

The problem with this approach is that your skin continually improves but plateaus at a certain percentage and will only regress if you introduce higher strength acids. Underneath the surface, your skin will be incredibly inflamed and bumpy. You can’t feel the irritation nor see it, until you look at your skin under direct sunlight. 

Would you believe that acids are now being vilified for causing irritation? It’s clear that the resultant irritation that comes from using acids is due to human error, you need not join the non-acid exfoliation movement if you follow the guidelines below.

 One acid step in your routine

As you now know acids could be in anything, check the ingredients list to eliminate the possibility of layering acid on top of acid unintentionally. Toning is the step in which most people use an acid product,hence the term acid toning

Switch things up so your skin doesn’t build tolerance.

Every once in a while use a different acid so that your skin doesn’t build tolerance to any one of them. You should ofcourse test for reactions before applying product all over your face.

Leave higher percentages for the doctors office

Concentrations of upto 15% glycolic or 5% salicylic are best administered by specialists. Personally I’d never use such high concentrations on my face, perhaps on my body and even then I’d be cautious not to over-exfoliate.

Buffer the drying effect of acids with a moisturiser

Some acid products can be quite drying and this causes irritation. Following your acid product with a moisturiser should solve that problem.

Consider products like NAAP

Even after following the above guidelines, some people’s skin might still be too sensitive to handle acids. Never fear, that’s the reason NIOD has formulated the Non-Acid Acid Precursor.

NIOD £30.50 amazon.co.uk

Thanks for stopping by!

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 Maureen Wahu is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and other Amazon sites. 

How to oil cleanse

It’s been a few years since the oil cleansing method craze first took off. I was going through my archives when I realised I’ve never written a cheat sheet on how to oil cleanse. And because the internet is full of oil cleansing horror stories, here are some guidelines you can rely on when dealing with various types of oil cleansers.

Emulsifying Balm/oil Cleansers

It’s hard to go wrong with these, Clinique has aptly named their range ‘Take the day off’. 

Basically what they do is dissolve the dirt, oil and makeup on your face then rinse clean with water.You’ll find the emulsifying feature pretty handy, especially on nights when you just want to take off your makeup and roll into bed.

 These are excellent as makeup removers but can also be used for your second cleanse if you don’t have a skin cleanser.

Non emulsifying oil/balm cleansers

Like dissolves like, so any oil that you safely apply on your skin can also be used as an oil cleanser. It will bind to dirt just like an emulsifying cleanser would, but taking it off is rather tedious because it doesn’t turn milky on contact with water.

You would be wrong to think every store bought oil cleanser is the emulsifying type. There are many non-emulsifying types and they don’t come cheap either, a total rip off if you ask me.

On the subject of taking off these oil cleansers, most people will ask you to steam your face then wipe clean with a hot face flannel. Not only do you risk broken capillaries doing this, but on swiping your face with a cotton ball and some toner, you’ll realise that your face is far from clean. 

Everything comes off with something, so don’t give up on your oil cleanser, simply use a foaming facial wash to take it off. For good measure use a face flannel to distribute the product all over your face then rinse clean.

Oil Cleansing on the cheap

If I haven’t made it obvious already, you can make your own oil cleanser. There are many recipes out there, just be careful when dealing with essential oils, coconut oil and castor oil. 

Personally I use almond oil and two or three drops of my Dr Organic face serum. As with other non-emulsifying cleansers, it’s no match for waterproof mascara, hence I only use it on a bare face.

In the fight against blemishes, wrinkles or any other skin issues you might be facing, oil cleansing is just but one tool in your arsenal. Don’t neglect other areas of your face care routine.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Maureen Wahu is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to , amazon.co.uk and other Amazon sites. 

How to ruin your skin

I love recommending products and giving people advice on what to do with their skin. Often it helps.

But because of undiscovered (or undisclosed) allergies and sensitivities, my advice doesn’t always work. If I truly wanted to ruin your skin though, this is what I would ask you to do.


1. Use baby wipes to take off makeup

My issue with baby wipes is that they contain mineral oil. That’s the reason they take off makeup so well.

You might have heard already that petrochemicals (like mineral oil) can cause cancer, that’s not the reason I hate mineral oil though. I hate it because it’s difficult to absorb, you put it on your skin and it just sits there waiting to cause breakouts. 

2. Homemade oil cleanser

Oil cleansing with a tincture of oils formulated by you is a bad idea. You can’t mix and match essential oils as you wish, it requires training. Essential oils can be lethal if used the wrong way. 

But since you want to ruin your skin don’t listen to me, make your own oil cleanser. It won’t emulsify with water like store bought cleansers do, that means you’ll have to use a hot face flannel to take it off.

3. Steam with a hot flannel

Steaming skin, especially with abnormally hot steam, can worsen redness and potentially result in broken capillaries that show up as thin, spider-like lines.

Go ahead and use a hot face flannel to take off your homemade oil cleanser.

4. Use SPF moisturizer at night

Never mind that taking off SPF is the sole reason some people double cleanse every night, put on your daytime moisturizer at night. It will only increase your chance of irritation and stinging, especially if you have dry skin with a damaged moisture barrier.

5. Scrub your face

For this you will need an apricot scrub or a clarisonic with a less than gentle attachment brush. Scrub away.

6. Get a back alley facial

A back alley spa is the place where they’ll damage your skin in all the ways you missed before.

They love to scrub skin, if you’re lucky you’ll also get an aggressive acne extraction and a nice soothing massage with an essential oil which hasn’t been adequately diluted.

7. Repeat 

Thanks for stopping by!

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