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

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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, and other Amazon sites. 


carbonated water facial 

​We spend a lot of time debating about what are the best formulas to put on our faces when it comes to cleansers, masks and serums. However, we do not often think about the type of water we are splashing our faces with. The most you might think about is whether you should use lukewarm water, cold or hot. What about the kind of water? What about switching your tap water for something a little bit more, well, fancy? Say carbonated mineral water.

Carbonated water cleansing has been all the rage in Japan and South Korea for quite some time now.I’ve always hated that fizzy water that often comes in a green bottle, so why not wash my face with it?

But first things first, what do experts say about washing your face with carbonated water?

“Carbonated water has been reported to cause vasodilation (dilated capillaries), which would improve delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the skin,”explains dermatologist Dr. Emily M. Wise.“However, there have never been any studies in dermatology literature to validate the specific claims made by this trend.” 

Celebrity aesthetician Kate Somerville agrees. “The bubbling sensation of carbonated water can give the perception that the water is acting as micro brushes to help cleanse pores and remove dead skin (because you feel a’tingling’ effect), but that is not the case.”

 Washing my face with carbonated water reminds me of the time I used this beauty formulas face mask.
It billows up like a bubble bath, covering your every pore with a thick layer of grey, soapy suds that seemingly arise from nowhere. It didn’t do much for me but honestly, I only bought it for the bubble action. 

Without further ado, here’s how you wash your face with carbonated water. 

Step 1:
Choose a carbonated water with absolutely no artificial scents or coloring. No lemon, lime or any flavorings, either; you want pure carbonated mineral water.

Step 2:
Fill a large bowl with half regular water and half carbonated water. You want a 1:1 ratio.
Step 3:
Dunk your makeup-free face in the bowl and hold for 10-15 seconds.

I added my own twist by using the water to rinse away my facial cleanser instead of dunking my face in a bowl. I also used the undiluted carbonated water to tone my face. You probably shouldn’t do this if you have sensitive skin. 


The bubbles when  paired with said cleanser actually do a nice job of cleaning out my pores. I performed this facial on myself last night and woke up to glowy skin this morning. 

Would I do this on a regular basis? Washing your face with carbonated water on a daily basis is prohibited. This also has the potential to bring underlying pimples to the fore. I wouldn’t use this when I feel a break out coming on. However, I will keep some carbonated water on hand to use as a toner on days when I want to give my acid toner a break.

 Thanks for stopping by!


 Neutrogena one step cleanser review

In the past I’ve used water cleansers,oil cleansers, balm cleansers, cream cleansers, basically every type of cleanser but I must say I’m partial to foaming cleansers. 

There’s something so refreshing about the way foam binds to dirt and oil on your face and just lifts it off. When a foaming cleanser is really good at its job, you don’t even need a face flannel to help it along. 

That’s what I thought I was getting when I bought this Neutrogena cleanser. 

I do take care to avoid sulphates in my foaming  cleansers so this cleanser is sulphate free. Sadly that’s the only good thing it has going for it. 
Who is it for? 

All skin types. 

First cleanse/second cleanse or AM cleanse? 
First cleanse/taking off make up. 

How do you use it? 

I apply to damp skin and massage it in. Less is more. Add more water rather than product to build it up.

Can it be taken around the eyes?

Yes, but it does a poor job taking off eye makeup. 

How long was it tested for?

I’ve had it for three months and used it sporadically throughout that time.

What’s good about it?

I absolutely hate this cleanser and hate myself for not buying Neutrogena’s oil cleanser instead. It retails for around the same price. 

The formulators did a bad job on the one step cleanser. It’s a lot of trouble getting it to foam. On top of that, it doesn’t take off makeup of any kind. If you love it when your make up comes off at the sink rather than  on your towel, then your going to be seriously pissed. 

If a cleanser is bad at taking off make up, ordinarily I’d try to use it as a second cleanse cleanser. This however, doesn’t  rinse  clean even when I’m using it on a bare face. I have no choice but to toss it in the bin. 
Thanks for stopping by! 

My latest buys.

Hello my name is Maureen and I’m a shopaholic. My search for the perfect product this time brought me to this dove body wash.

A few weeks ago, I resolved to stop using body washes that contain sodium lauryl sulphate and any of it’s harmful cousins. This sent me on a quest to find a new body cleanser and the qualifications were :
1.SLS free,
2.non-soap formulation and
3.richly foaming.

At first I settled for Aveeno moisturizing bar, an SLS free syndet bar. We had our good times but this melted like butter and didn’t perform so well in the foaming department.


Exit Aveeno, enter Dove nourishing body wash. This is everything I was looking for and more. In place of sodium lauryl sulphate, this body wash is formulated with sodium lauryl glycinate.

Glycinate is a new development in body wash surfucants. It’s an ultra-mild surfactant with low potential for damage to Stratum Corneum (outermost layer of the epidermis) proteins and lipids. For further reading on this ingredient you can check out this website.

This body wash has been around for a while now but it doesn’t turn up on the internet  when you search for SLS free body wash, hence why I took so long to find it.

On my last post I promised I’d reveal what I’m using in place of my salicylic acid cleansers. I thought it would be useful to share this for people who want a deep cleanse but can’t tolerate Salicylic acid, other beta hydroxy acids or even alpha hydroxy acids.

Currently I’m using clinique cleansing balm to take off my makeup and Aveeno ultra calming foaming cleanser for my final cleanse.

This two are very mild but do a very thorough job both individually and when teamed up.

Now, I know foaming cleansers are generally bad news. Most of them contain SLS or a substitute surfactant that is just as irritating or doesn’t get the job done. This Aveeno cleanser however is refreshingly different, it’s SLS free but still strong enough to take off makeup. 

I imagine bathing in a cloud would feel like using this cleanser. This comes highly recommended for people with dry skin.

Thanks for stopping by!

Can you reduce your dependence on acne treatments?

Hello there,
Are you an acne sufferer? If so, then it is imperative that you know about benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid and how they can help you win the fight against acne.

I’ve written other posts about bp and salicylic acid but here’s a quick recap of how these two work.

Salicylic acid.
Topical salicylic acid treats
acne by reducing swelling and redness and unplugging blocked skin pores to allow pimples to shrink.

If you’re acne is the persistent kind, it’s a good idea to opt for a salicylic acid toner or cleanser which doesn’t require rinsing. This will give it more time to work on your skin.


If you break out only periodically, there is no reason you can’t use a salicylic acid toner but a rinse off cleanser will serve you just fine.

Benzoyl peroxide.
Benzoyl peroxide works by breaking into benzoic acid
and oxygen, and this oxygen acts as a free radical in the skin destroying cells and bacteria it comes into contact with. This is something you need to try, especially if you suffer from cystic acne.


Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic work so well you’ll never want your skin to be without them. Which begs the question, are there any side effects?

Just the other day I read a review on that vindicated salicylic acid for lightening skin.
One way to explain why is that salicylic acid is a chemical exfoliant. These slough off dead skin cells and reveal newer skin. Using a product with salicylic acid can help you get rid of a tan, but the lightening effects aren’t incremental, you won’t get lighter than your natural color by just exfoliating.

Another concern people using bp and salicylic acid have is how drying they can be.

Given the pros of using bp and salicylic, I think giving them up completely is ridiculous, however, reducing your dependence on them is probably a good thing, especially if your breakouts are caused by commonplace reasons like refusing to cleanse, not moisturising in the daytime  and leaving your makeup on at night.

Moisturising is something some of us oily skinned girls don’t love to do. Refusing to moisturise during the day leaves your skin vulnerable to the elements and your skin will eventually break out.

Leaving your makeup on at night, I think it’s rather obvious why this is harmful to your skin.

Another thing you could do to make sure you always need your salicylic or benzoyl, is to use comodogenic moisturizers.

You may also want to stay away from cleansing lotions and makeup removers that contain mineral oil, they don’t rinse off very well and may cause you to break out.

If you cleanse effectively everyday you could go without bp for months, and reduce your salicylic acid use from everyday to maybe three times a week.

In my next post I’ll reveal my latest buys and what I’m using to replace my salicylic acid cleansers.

Thanks for stopping by!

What is double cleansing?

There is a fallacy doing the rounds that double cleansing means using oil followed by foam. No.
If you’re using two products to cleanse at night then you’re already double cleansing.

The whole idea behind oil cleansing is that like attracts like. Oil dissolves oil— and so it’s supposed to be the very best thing for removing ALL traces of makeup, grime and sebum without stripping or irritating your skin. But oil cleansing certainly isn’t the only option you’ve got for your first cleanse. The idea is to get your makeup off and the following products are suitable candidates for the job:
  –  Eye makeup removers
  – Micellar waters
  – Greasy balms
  – Cleansing creams and
  – Oils


If you’re considering adding a plant oil to your routine, avoid essential/fragrant oils (like lavender, eucalyptus, or any type of citrus). These fragrant oils do not have the
same benefits as the non-fragrant variety, and they contain compounds that have significant potential to irritate skin.


I prefer cleansing balms and reformulated oils because they have been emulsified to make them a lighter texture for all skin types. Formulas like clinique cleansing balm and cleansing oil also rinse away completely with water thus negating the need to use a hot face flannel.

You want to avoid a hot flannel on your face because it can dilate and break your capillaries. No treatments can make the capillaries shrink! (Though there are a variety of methods to
cover, improve or make them disappear).

Second Cleanse.

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.


When using a single product to double cleanse, I find cleansing balms work exceptionally well. Other products suitable for your second cleanse are:

  -Cleansing milks
  -Cleansing gels – non-foaming
  -Cleansing creams
  -Cleansing clays and
  -Cleansing oils


My personal favorites for a second cleanse (I have oily skin) are clean&clear blackhead clearing daily scrub, St Ives apricot cleanser and clean&clean blackhead clearing cleanser. I, of course, never use them all at the same time and only use the scrubs every other day.

Double cleansing isn’t essential in the morning unless you wore your makeup to bed. But you won’t be doing that, will you? Use any cleanser of your choice in the morning except wipes and foaming cleansers.

Thanks for stopping by!

The proper way to cleanse.


Cleansing properly is important especially when you use products with SPF. I’ve seen one too many friends give up on sunscreen because it breaks them out. Others are on an endless journey to find a non comodogenic sunblock.

Sunscreens block pores and that is their nature. In order to maintain your  comedo free skin while still enjoying the benefits of sunscreen, you need to invest in a deep action cleanser.

Cleansers with salicylic acid (a chemical exfoliant that works great on people with acne) cleanse away all the dirt, makeup and sunscreen in one simple step (if they are the foaming kind).

I would only recommend the above product for an oily skinned person on a tight budget. It does take away all the dirt and SPF but part of the reason it works so well is because it contains SLS, a foaming agent which is a known skin irritant.

If you have a little more to spend then you can invest in a makeup remover and this clean and clear cleanser that functions as a toner.

Much as salicylic acid is a wonderful ingredient, some people are allergic to it and other BHAs.
For those beauties with normal to dry skin and/or are BHA intolerant, a milder product like clinique cleansing balm would work great
for them. They can use it to double cleanse, or for a single step cleansing routine on those lazy days.

Thanks for stopping by!