Zoe’s beauty blogs from 2006 – now

28
Oct

Liquid illuminator: Should thoust be using one? How? Which one?

That depends.

If you were to have asked me back when I was a gung-ho little squid in my twenties with nay a face crease to be seen, I would have bellowed YES and then roughly thrust several (Benefit High Beam etc) in your face and told you what a moron you were not to use them everyday for all-over glow and delight.

NB: I am referring not to concealing illuminators, such as YSL’s Touche Eclat, but rather the tinted, gleaming skin luminising variety that are used all over the face, or for spot highlighting on cheekbones etc.

But now, as a more mature llama in her early thirties I am a little more reserved on both my use and endorsement  thereof. For while liquid illuminators and highlighters are indeed a delicious way to achieve a flawless dew and gleam to the skin, they are not for everyone.

WHAT ‘NOT FOR EVERYONE’ MEANS:

- Those with large pores, fine lines/wrinkles, scarring or blemishes. This is because just like anything with shimmer, no matter how finely milled, it will exacerbate these things. (This is why you need to get your mum/granny off shimmery eye shadows, by the way.)

- Those with oily or sheeny skin: you should stick to cream or powder illuminators instead.

- Those with a lot of hyperpigmentation will need to fully conceal this before applying illuminator, as illuminators will (some say unfairly) highlight the uneven skin tone.

- Those who cannot be trusted to be light-handed. This is not body glitter, and this is not 1998.

– Those who have a habit of not blending thoroughly, or taking the time to check their makeup in a truth mirror before leaving the house.

However. When used correctly, skin illuminators can be a marvellous thing. Just ask one Cate Blanchett who is rather fond of them, and who has no qualms whatsoever using them on her (admittedly flawlessly smooth and event-toned) skin, and fierce cheekbones in particular.

They can make the skin appear to be well-rested and full of gorgeous, arrogant health, and glow in a way that is usually reserved for several high-strength peels, or taking a new lover. They create fantastic effects in photos, even if you choose to then filter the shit out of them for Instagram.

THE BEST WAY TO USE YOUR LIQUID ILLUMINATOR:

1. Added to moisturiser or primer for a subtle and believable ‘skin-level’ radiance. Be sure you choose the right tone for your skin, so that it looks like your skin, not something you have put on your skin. Alternatively, choose more of a ‘moisturiser’ style illuminator for this purpose, like MAC Strobe Cream. Just on primers, they are a terrific idea when using liquid illuminators, which have a habit of racking off after a few hours. Also a light dusting of loose powder to finish is not the worst thing you could do. Especially if you feel a bit too … gleamy.

2. Apply one part illuminator with two parts foundation for all over glow. I recommend this as a night time look only, just in case you look a bit too sparkly during the brutal light of day. Having said that, Armani Fluid Sheer is not too shimmery for day, as is hailed as the king for this.

3. Bronze illuminators are a wonderful way to get your face up to the tan level of your self-tanned body, and achieve a soft tanned glow. Apply gently all over the face underneath your foundation. (After primer if you’re using it.) You can also use these buffed gently onto areas you would normally use bronzer after having done your makeup, but be sure to only use over liquid foundation (always keep textures with like textures), be very light handed and if possible, use a cheek stippling brush (like the wonderful MAC 188 brush below) which buffs liquids and creams into the skin perfectly.

MAC188Brush

4. Use on top of blush. Adding some pinky luminiser on top of creme blush gives the best – and most long-lasting – result. Illuminators by themselves are usually not pigmented enough to act as blush. And nor should they be – their job is to throw light, not colour. This is me with Revlon Photoready Skinlights in Bare Light gently dabbed over my cheekbones, on top of some creme blush. Lovely subtle glow innit.

LuminiserZo

 

5. As a finishing product, illuminators beautifully highlight and skim the top of cheekbones and brow bones. Be sure to warm up the product thoroughly in your hand before applying, and it’s best to use a foundation brush for precision, although fingers will be fine, too. If in doubt, apply in a boomerang shape, starting under the highest point of your eyebrow and dabbing down around underneath the eye along the top of the cheekbones. Also on the top of the cupid’s bow. Adorable.

6. As a guitar pick.

LIQUID ILLUMINATORS I AM RATHER FOND OF.

Revlon Photoready Skinlights – They took them away from us years back, but thankfully the original skin illuminator is back. There are only three shades this time around (bronze light, bare light and pink light), but I find the bare light the perfect shade for my warm skin tone, (go for pink light, fair-skinned babes) and I happily dab it onto the high points of my face as a finishing product. It’s probably a bit to shimmery for me to blend with my foundation day to day, but if I’ve just had a facial, or am having a great skin day, or am heading out for an event, then I might add a drop (A DROP) into my foundation.

3RevlonPhotoreadySkinlights

Tom Ford Skin Illuminator Fire Lust – a luxurious, sheer peachy-gold that is perfect for applying over creme blush, (I am not messing around when I say sheer, there is little point using this alone as a finishing product) or, if your skin tone is warm enough, added to your foundation for an all over gleam without any glitteryness or overt pearlescence, Just lovely good-skin-ness.God, Tom Ford is good. Someone let me know if he ever gets it wrong, won’t you? Annoying NB: This is out now but limited edition.

TomFordFireLustilluminator

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector – Wonderful as a skin-perfecting (hence the name) base underneath your foundation, and the perfect amount of glow but NOT shimmer to mix in with your foundation for a genuine your-skin-but-better look. Great too as a targeted highlighter, and I deeply enjoy using the tanned shade, Topaz, as a liquid bronzer on fun summery nights, and mixed with moistirser on my décolletage, or “booby area.”

BeccaShimmeringSkinPerector

Armani Fluid Sheer – The high priestess of liquid illuminators, this lush, makeup artist favourite does everything a grown up liquid luminiser should, from being used on its own or mixed with moisturiser for glow-from-within lightbulb skin, to the finishing touch on a perfectly dewy complexion. Shade #11 -a rosy, flushed hue – is extremely enchanting for cheeks and on pinker skin tones, while I love #10 for a more golden radiance.

 Armani_FLUID-SHEER_10

 

 

Responses to this drivel: 18 Comments
16
Oct

How to properly treat and prevent hyperpigmentation.

I love my skin, we get on well. We hang out every single day, so tight is our bond.

The hyperpigmentation that is perched on it, however, NO. We are not friends. We are enemies, and it is my chief focus in terms of corrective skin care. I wish it a grisly death many times over.

Hyperpigmentation, also known as sun spots, age spots, dark spots, brown marks and ‘the mask of pregnancy’, is so common among Australian women that my statistic calculator broke when I asked it for some numbers. We all have it, and while all skin tones suffer from pigmentation, those with darker Asian, Mediterranean and African skin tones are particularly prone. Especially if they have a lot of sun exposure.

IT’S REAL EASY TO GET.

Just ask any doll who’s spent a week on a beachy holiday only to return with brown smatterings across their nose, upper cheeks, upper lip and forehead and they will tell you just how easy.

pigmentation_face
Standard hyperpigmentation… Look familiar?

This is because hyperpigmentation is (most often) caused by UV exposure. Ysee, UV stimulates the pigment cells (melanocytes) in our epidermis to start making melanin. This is what causes suntans (sooo ’80s) but also hyperpigmentation. Another terrific reason to not to hang out in the sun.

Sadly, most of the hyperpigmentation you’ve got now, you actually probably actually earned 20 years ago. (It takes an average of 10 years for sun damage to translate into brown spots.) It’s just being encouraged and worsened by current UV exposure. Cute!

Other causes:

Heat: Environmental heat can trigger your hyperpigmentation. This is so incredibly shit because even if you are FBI vigilant about your skin care and physical sun protection and hat and sunnies, you can still cop discolouration, because thermal heat encourages those naughty melanocytes to produce melanin.

Hormones: Hormonal hyperpigmentation looks the same as UV hyperpigmentation, but has a bitchier attitude and eats more Tim Tams. It’s generally caused by the pill or pregnancy and is further exacerbated by that big hot witch in the sky.

Injury: Know how when you pick at a pimple, you get that red-browny scar that won’t piss off, no matter how much Vitamin E oil you use on it? That’s because it’s not a scar, it’s post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which comes about after trauma or injury to the skin. It can also happen after needles, injections, burns or any kind of inflammation.

WHY SHOULD I CARE SO MUCH ABOUT MY PIGMENTATION?

Because, to be blunt, it’s making you look older than you actually are. You see, hyperpigmentation creates uneven skin tone, which I believe is far more ageing than lines and wrinkles. 

I’m not alone in my thinking of this. In the last five years or so, you would have seen a whole bunch of new products pop up that are skin discolouration targeted. They have names like ‘Dark Spot Corrector’ or ‘whitening’ or ‘brightening’ and work to fade that excess melanin to the point where your skin is brighter and in the case of Caucasian and Asian markets, whiter. They are not bleaching products. Most of the time they simply exfoliate the skin to remove the layer of skin cells with the brown spots and therefore give an overall more luminous complexion, and/or they incorporate ingredients and technology to specifically target the site of the melanin production, and put up some stop signs.

If you have hyperpigmentation, you should be using these products.

Trust me on this one. If you focus on removing (or seriously fading) those dark spots, and making your skin look as bright and luminous as possible, you won’t care about any lines and wrinkles you have. I promise! I promise. Such is the power of even skin tone. Think about women in countries that see very little sun: they may have many wrinkles, many creases, but since their skin tone is free of sun spots, they still maintain a look of youth and glow. Compare this to a woman who has spent a lot of her life in the sun, and has a face covered in dark splodges: the skin looks uneven, weathered, aged, uncared for.

FaceBeforeandAfterpigmentation
This woman has had a series of intense laser treatments for her discolouration. (I think it was worth it.)
See how even though she has the same lines and creases in both pictures, she looks far younger in the right?


A study in 2010 brought this to light using photos of middle-aged women that were Photoshopped into two sets: one version with extremely uneven skin tone (“hyperpigmentation”), and one version with an abundance of deep wrinkles. Both sets of pictures were showed to a group of people who had to rate the attractiveness and youthfulness of the women’s faces. Almost unanimously the women with uneven skin tone were voted less attractive (reeeowr!) and much older than their wrinkled compatriots. Clearly we shouldn’t be judging any woman on her ageing process, digitally manipulated or otherwise, any dingus knows that, but what we can take away from this is that our brown spots age us more than our wrinkles.

THE RULES OF FIGHTING PIGMENTATION.

The first rule in Pigmentation Club is that about pigmentation is patience. It took you a while to get that sun damage, it’s going to take you a while to get rid of it. Most products will take at least four weeks until results can be seen.

The second rule is diligence. There is zero point buying and using a mountain of fancy new products and having expensive professional treatments if you then neglect to wear a physical sunscreen every single day, and cover your face thoroughly from the sun when outdoors. Your pigmentation is always, always lingering just under the surface, like a creep, waiting for a chance to come back. Don’t let it.

And I think the third rule is something about not talking about Pigmentation Club.

THE PRODUCTS YOU NEED

A pigment blocker.

There are various types of blockers or inhibitors, each working in their own way to prevent pigmentation triggering in the first place, which means less time spent treating it. There are tyrosinanse inhibitors, (a group which includes famous pigmentation fighters like the controversial hydroquinone and kojic acid, as well as the non-controversial mulberry extract) which work to block the enzyme tyrosinase that’s needed to make melanin. There are also PAR-2 inhibitors, like soy and niacinamide, which can result in reduced melanosomal transfer and distribution, leading to a lightening of skin pigmentation.

Ideally you would use a pigment blocker morning and night on clean skin. I use Aspect’s Pigment Punch (hydroquinone-free) as my serum, and it is exceptional. Lady Dame Brooke Walker at Me Skin and Body in South Yarra put me onto it. Terribly knowledgable lass that one. (She’s been helping me in my efforts of pigmentation obliteration.) Other options include Plunkett’s SuperFade, or for one without hydroquinone try Skin Medica’s Lytera Skin Brightening Complex.

SkinMedica-Lytera-Skin-Brightening-Complex-324-2431_1 ASpect Pigment Punch

An exfoliant.

But not your daggy old apricot scrub. You need chemical exfoliants, in the form of gentle AHAs or BHAs, which will rid the skin of cells with pigment, or the “expression” stage of pigmentation. Look for ingredients like glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid and salicylic acid, and retinol if your skin is up to it. Your exfoliation can be in the form of a cleanser, toner,  face cream, a serum, or a dedicated exfoliant, and it’s best to get some professional advice on how often you should exfoliate (especially if you are having professional peels as well) although a good guide for most of us is 2-3 times a week. Let me stare at you for a good minute here and remind you that this is not a case of more is better: milder products used every few days will serve you much better than really aggressive actives used too often… that will lead to inflammation which leads to hyperpigmentation. Oh, what fun.

There are SO many great products out there in this category, and hopefully a bunch of you babes will offer you best and most loved in comments. I am a fan of Alpha-H’s Liquid Gold, Ultraceuticals Even Skintone Serum and Dermalogica’s Tri-active Cleanse.

Dermalogica_tri-active cleanseEVEN-SKINTONE-serum

Physical sunscreen.

Less of an option, more of a command. Use a zinc oxide or titanium dioxide physical/mineral sunscreen for your best chance. (As I wrote here, chemical sunscreens can actually trigger hyperpigmentation. Bastards!) Use it every single day, on top of your pigment blocker, and underneath your makeup. This is so crucial, not only to stop UV getting to your skin and starting mischief, but also because as we all know, whenever you use AHAs or BHAs, you MUST wear sunscreen every day, to protect the lovely fresh skin you’ve just exfoliated.

I use O Cosmedics Mineral Pro SPF 30+, Aspect HydraShield and Invisible Zinc Tinted Daywear or ESP.

 

Invisible Zinc ESP OCosmedics mineralpro2

 

It’s also a smart move to ensure there are big wallops of antioxidants in your skin care when dealing your dark spots. Vitamin C, for example, is a stupendously good skin-brightener. Go hard on it.

SHOULDN’T I BE GETTING LASER TREATMENTS OR IPL OR SOME SUCH THING?

Maybe. If you have lighter skin, you will get good results, but the overwhelming feedback from those who’ve had laser to correct their hyperpigmentation is that it came back, or it was a lot of work to maintain. I had Fraxel a few years ago for my pigmentation and I would not recommend it. I tried it in my role as a beauty writer who should try things she writes about so she can authentically recommend them, and dearly wish I didn’t. I long for my pre-Fraxel skin tone. Whether it brought out old hyperpigmentation that was laying dormant, or allowed new hyperpigmentation to settle in, it has definitely made my skin worse. I appreciate that you often have to have a few treatments to get the full and best results, but my keenness was hovering somewhere around minus 74893% after the trauma my skin went through.

Laser toning is one treatment that does get good reviews, (even for darker skin tones) but remember: you have to be willing to basically live as a vampire if you go down the laser route. Because one day in the sun, even a few hours, can mess your skin back up.

IPL is a good, non-invasive solution that over a course of treatments will definitely give you great results, but I can’t go past a good in-salon lactic peel myself. It’s the most gentle of the AHAs and doesn’t irritate, but it does give great, glowing, bright results. I’m on a program of a peel every 2-3 weeks at the moment, combined with my at home stuff and my crazy vigilance with sun protection, hats and sunglasses.

Okay. This is a very long post, and I for one, need a crumpet.

What do you use for your hyperpigmentation?

 

Responses to this drivel: 147 Comments
03
Oct

How to properly and completely conceal a cold sore with makeup.

Don’t worry, I don’t really want to look at pictures of me with a cold sore either.

But! If it helps women who are fed up with having their face hijacked by these vile offenders to look and feel better, then it’s obviously worth it. Now please excuse me while I adjust my halo.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

Ensure you have destroyed your cold sore thoroughly, using the artillery and techniques listed here.

Obviously the best case scenario is that you avoid events and outings until your cold sore has hit the dry, flaky healed stage (and remember: you must wear those Compeed patches until then, if you stop using them too early, it will scab and then every dingus and his dog will notice your big, red cold sore. The patches stop the scab from occurring, that is their magic), but this isn’t always viable because often we have jobs and a life and need to buy groceries or attend birthday parties or pan flute class.

So, here’s what to do in the meantime, here is a tried and tested, friends-have-done-it-too-and-swear-by-it way to completely conceal your cold sore, which I sincerely hope works for you.

NOTE: Some people prefer to just apply a paw paw cream to the cold sore and a lot of shiny nude lip gloss when they go out, and look, in the past I have recommend playing up the eyes and leaving the lips nude so as not to draw attention to them/that area/the sore, but over the past few years I have much favoured the technique below, which is a dark long-last lipstick with bronzer and fresh, wide-awake eyes. I feel more confident, and I feel like the cold sore is far less visible. To the point of invisible, in fact. Try it out anyway, and see if it suits you.

 

photo 1

Remove your patch and allow the sore to dry off. Apply some nail polish remover to some tissue and press on the sore for 10-20 seconds. Yes, really. This will further dry it out, which is what you want before applying this kind of concealing sorcery (and going without your patches for several hours.)

Apply a pure lip balm to your lips to hydrate them – crucial when you wear a long-last lipstick as they’re generally pretty drying. Apply foundation all over the face.

photo 3

Grab some creamy concealer – I used Maybelline NY Fit Me concealer- and apply a small amount to your index finger. 

photo 8

Gently press the concealer onto the cold sore. Do a few layers if required. 

photo 7

Once it’s completely covered, go on and press concealer over the lips.

photo 7x2

IF you prefer to play up your eyes, or are not one for bright lipstick, you could realistically stop here. Keep in mind though that the lips will crack and flake soon, (they will likely already be dry and cracked because lips that harbour cold sores are always fucking dry and cracked  for some reason) and will need more balm and concealer.

photo 10

The magic product! Revlon Colorstay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick in Top Tomato. Is a lovely warm red lipstick that DOES NOT MOVE FOR HOURS AND HOURS and is fantastic as a stand alone product, but since it has saved my arse many times in cold sore situations (I never travel without it for just this reason) I have come to fondly think of it as my Cold Sore Wizard.
Revlon must be so proud.

photo 12

Apply using a cotton tip, a disposable lip brush or the applicator if you are CONVINCED the cold sore is dead/you need a new tube and this will be its last use as in my case. We all know about cold sores and spreading them via lip products, toothbrushes, etc…

photo 15

Be sure to take the colour right into the corners and do the entire outline of the lips. This is acting as camouflage, remember: it needs to be thorough. Spend time ensuring you cover any portion of the cold sore on the lips properly and neatly, and work fast cos it sets quick. I do two layers.

photo 15x2

Now take a waxy, long-last hard concealer – I use Revlon’s PhotoReady Concealer – and apply a small amount to your index finger.

photo 16 

Gently press the concealer over the site of cold sore with your finger to set it, and ensure it is thoroughly concealed. Do this around the entire mouth so it is uniform, ensuring you still have a fetching sharp red lipstick line. if you like, you can set with a touch of loose powder too, although I find powder can sometimes exacerbate any of the flakes/bumps.

photo 17

What cold sore?  NO cold sore. Well done, you clever bastard. You have completely concealed that thing.

photo 18

As perfect as it looks now, and as steadfast as that lipstick and concealer is, it will need maintenance and for you to keep your eye on things. So, after eating, drinking (not a problem if you use a straw) or just a couple of hours,
I would lightly conceal and lipstick again.

 

…. And there you have it! How to make your own baked ricotta cheesecake using only your microwave and a pair of dice.

Responses to this drivel: 32 Comments
30
Sep

How to kill a cold sore, fast.

When it comes to sexy blog topics, there are few that can hope to reach the glimmering heights of cold sores. There’s just something so… alluring about them, and the way they completely mess up your face and confidence for up to two weeks, wouldn’t you agree?

I think you might agree, because the cold sore post I did on this very blog five years ago is still one of the highest trafficked on the site, and after writing about them in Amazing Face, I am “proud” to say I have had many women email me over the years telling me how they now feel in charge of their cold sores, not the other way around. I wear the crown of Cold Sore Queen with pride! And a little bit of embarrassment. But mostly pride.

But it’s time to update. Reveal some new tricks and treatments so that we cold sore sufferers can win the battle faster and with less hands-covering-our-lips when we go into public. And hey, so many of us get them. Even CELEBRITIES, as the images below point out. (I did that gallery not be mean to those women, but to assure everyone just how indiscriminate they are.)

Obviously I am suffering from one currently, or I wouldn’t be writing about them. I’ve been smashed with flu and chest infection, which is probably why, because I always get them when my immune is shot, and also the reason this gorgeous blog has sat dormant for the past couple of weeks.

So, here’s how to stop your cold sore in its filthy little tracks. Here’s how to make sure it doesn’t even get to festering blistering stage and ensure it won’t scab. Basically, here’s how to manage and destroy a cold sore so that you can still get on with your life, and not feel like a social leper, and cut the whole process down by at least half the time if not more.

THINGS YOU WILL NEED AND SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE ON HAND:

* Famvir or similar (a 3x pill oral famciclovir cold sore treatment you buy from the chemist)
* Lysine (an essential amino acid that fights the virus internally. Take one daily if you’re prone to breakouts, and two 2x a day during a breakout.)
* Acetone nail polish remover and cotton pads/tips (buy the pre-made pads for travel)
* A sterilised pin/needle
* Compeed cold sore patches (keep a few in your wallet in case of sudden attacks and never travel without a full box)

 THINGS NOT TO DO: 

* Drink coffee or caffeinated drinks
* Eat seeds, chocolate or tomatoes
* Stress – it makes the little bastard worse

WHEN YOU FEEL THE AREA GO HOT AND ITCH, MOVE FAST, BITCH

I do apologise for the name-calling, but I cannot stress how important speed is at this point. Actually, I can: A LOT. VERY MUCH. It can come down to minutes between a cold sore that lasts three days and one that lasts 10.

If you can get a Compeed patch onto the site at the tingle stage, you’re basically a hero. Take your Famvir, which will greatly lessen the time the cold sore hangs around, but only if you take it on the first day of the sore manifesting, and some Lysine now and you’re a godamn national hero.

compeed_coldsore_patch

If you haven’t acted quite fast enough and there are bumps popping up, wash your hands and then take some acetone nail polish remover on a cotton pad or some tissue and press it on the site for a good, painful 20 seconds. Do not let any get into your mouth obviously, because it’s toxic. And wash hands straight after. What it does is dries the skin out so that the virus doesn’t have that lovely moist, bubbling warm environment it needs to keep growing. It’s a very well-known and effective home remedy, up there with using rubbing alcohol, hand sanitiser, or peroxide. The NPR will buy you time to get to the nearest chemist and buy some patches (and Famvir if you haven’t already got some on hand, which you should, because you are a cold sore sufferer, and like boy scouts, our motto is Be Prepared.) Obviously if you have a Compeed patch nearby, and you will if you know what’s good for you, then jam it on now. I often cut mine with nail scissors to shape, because the Compeed circle is definitely not a one-shape fits all, and especially if your cold sore is only half the size of a patch, and you have this obvious crinkled plastic sticker on your face or lips.

famvir-famciclovircold-sore-relief-lypsine-blackmores_4ef11c6777f09

And now for something completely different: My Chinese herbalist tells me when she feels the tingle she uses pins to break the skin and “bleed the cold sore out”. I don’t really know what this means, but she says you need to do it before there are any blisters present and then the cold sore never appears because you have released the virus in the blood. Hmmm.

 

WHEN YOU SEE BLISTERS APPEAR, SORT THEM OUT

My advice is to pop them. Controversial, but if you let the blisters keep growing and multiplying, well, I reckon you’re a dingus. I recommend doing it very carefully and hygienically by first washing your hands, then taking a sterilised needle or pin, break open each blister/bubble, then very quickly blot the area with a small square of tissue to stop the serum weeping and spreading. Blot once only then use new tissue and toss all of the blotters straight in the loo. Next, once the area is dry, ‘sanitise’ the area by applying nail polish remover on a cotton pad. Hold for up to 30 seconds. Of course, now place a patch on straight away to get to work on healing and to reduce the heat, pain and discomfort. Wash hands.

 

Acetone

DO NOT REMOVE THE PATCH UNLESS YOU ARE CHANGING TO A NEW ONE.

Cold sores do not need to breathe. They need to suffocate and die at the hands of nail polish remover and under the nurturing plastic shield of a hydrocolloid patch. Try to keep liquids (drink through a straw etc) away from the patch which will mess it up. At night or in the morning before work, wear your old one in the shower – because you should not let the sore get wet! – and then remove once you’re out. Before applying a new patch, hold some more nail polish remover on a cotton pad on the sore for 30 seconds to teach it who’s boss. Then, brush your teeth and place a new patch on before you go to sleep and dream sweet dreams of a cold sore-free life.

STAY VIGILANT

By doing all of the above, I usually only suffer for 3-4 days now. (Bad breakouts in my teens and twenties used to run well over two weeks, so this is a fucking miracle, in all honesty.) But! Just because you think it looks healed,doesn’t mean it is. And we all know how easily cold sores can rise again if not completely killed. So, keep on with the NPR/Compeed Patches for as long as it takes. If you’re lucky, the scab won’t even arrive, and you will gain a free pass straight to the dry, flaking skin stage. If you do get a scab however, well, the good news is that it’s healing. Keep up with the patches, and learn the art of Cold Sore Concealing Makeup, which, at the risk of enormous public humiliation, I will demonstrate in my next post, complete with step-by-step photos and the products that work.

My latest hope in the ongoing fight against cold sores comes in the shape of the Virulite Cold Sore Machine, which I am trying to buy online but keep hitting cool roadblocks. These little electronic zappers are kind of the new wave in cold sore treatment and I for one, have unrealistically high expectations.

Do you have any amazing tips or tricks that you use to annihilate your cold sores? Share them, for God’s sake!

 

 

Responses to this drivel: 92 Comments
09
Sep

This is the best week of the year to buy a new lipstick.

Because it’s Dream Week, which means that $1 from any lipstick you buy at Myer or David Jones this week goes to Look Good… Feel Better*, and you can feel good about buying one or even a couple.

Here are my three picks for lipstick as we shimmy into Spring…

A poppy red lipstick. Prada did it, so we should all do it. Another reason is because it’s wonderfully flattering on many many skin tones, and can look cute-as through the day, but devilishly sexy at night. Try Clarins Jolie Rouge in Poppy Red, $38.

AlexaChungPoppyRed

Alexa Chung, obviously.

A nude lipstick. Try a Bobbi Brown one, $44, because she is the queen of nude. Choose one that is low on shimmer, creamy not matte and enjoy a sophisticated, non-boring nude lip to complement any of the blues or greens you might be sassing on your eyes. I like Nude Beige for a hint of dusky pink and Peachy which is a bit better with a tan. Best to try them out to get the best match for your skin tone.

Ashley+Madekwe+Makeup+Nude+Lipstick+_iOgmlAc8g1l

Ashley Madekwe. You know, from Revenge.

A coral or orange. You need to stop resisting. These shades are fabulous, not Nanna. They are fresh, They brighten the face. They look glorious with bronzer and slick hair and drop earrings. Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Vernis à Lèvres Glossy Stain in #21 Orange Fusion, $50 is a glossy balm-stain, so you can start off light, then layer until you get the depth of orange your prefer. (Read: Great for wusses.)

JessicaAlbaOrangelips

Bert Newton. 

 Obviously you should expose what a wonderful Samaritan and cool bird you are by slipping a pic of you wearing your juicy new lipstick onto Twitter and Instagram and tag it with @LGFBAustralia and #dreamweek13. Obviously.

But!!

Another excellent thing you can do to support Look Good… Feel Better (and please do!) is not wear makeup on Thursday.Hashtag your pics #gonakedday, if you do, please so you can all feel part of the nude party.

This is because the Priceline Sisterhood (a real thing, not just the colloquial name for all of us Priceline fans) are hosting Go Naked Day in order to raise funds. When you’re done showing off your natural beauty, pop into Priceline nationally or the huge (very pink) event being held at Martin Place in Sydney, donate a gold coin, and grab yourself a mini-makeover and some goodies.

Alternatively, and I love this one, because it just makes so much dang sense, you can donate some cash straight up to $7 for 7 Days of Hope.

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Your donation goes towards LGFB At Home Confidence Kits, so that those who can’t get to a LGFB workshop because they live in the bush, or health reasons, can still enjoy all of the lovely skin care and cosmetics they would receive in a workshop (all donated lovingly by the beauty industry – everything from Rimmel to Chanel), plus a step by step DVD.

… Imagine if you did one of or even ALL THREE of these things, how amazing you would feel. You would probably start to see some kind of beautiful halo glow above your head. That’s what I heard happens anyway.

*Look Good… Feel Better is a a terrific charity, and one that I am proud ambassador for. I work with them a lot in my role as ambassador for Pantene Beautiful Lengths, (where we ask you to lop off your ponytail to donate, and help make real hair wigs for cancer patients) and also help to gain awareness for the beauty workshops which they hold at hospitals and cancer treatment centres for women undergoing cancer treatment. At these workshops, women (and men!) learn how to apply skin care, makeup, wigs and turbans and scarves in the spirit of “if you look good, you will feel better”, and I can four billion percent say that this is true, because the transformation these women undergo (physically) but most crucially in confidence and self-esteem after their two hour session is phenomenal. They then are given all of the products to take home. Read more about LGFB – or insist a friend attends – here

 

Responses to this drivel: 15 Comments
06
Sep

Sometimes beauty products just sell themselves.

I mean, WHO EVEN NEEDS TO KNOW WHAT THIS IS?!

She’s loving it.

I’ll take five.

 

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Responses to this drivel: 9 Comments
28
Aug

Why I’ve switched from chemical to physical sunscreen.

You can’t speak to any dermatologist or beauty editor without them mentioning (“becoming hysterical and evangelical”) about how important sun protection is.

I am not exempt. Use it daily! Take it all the way down to your boobs! Re-apply! Use enough to actually get the SPF worth! No, your makeup’s token SPF 12 is not enough to protect you! Don’t eat it! And so on.

One of my biggest rules has been to apply your sunscreen (chemical, broad spectrum) on clean skin, underneath all your other skin care and makeup.

I WOULD HEREBY LIKE TO ANNOUNCE I NO LONGER DO THIS AND THERE IS EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST YOU MIGHT LIKE TO ALSO CHANGE TACK.

Not because any of the sunscreens I used are ineffective or did me wrong, but I now use a physical sunscreen, and I apply it after my serum and face cream, and underneath my foundation or BB Cream.

This change came about after researching chemical Vs physical sun protection, and a wonderfully engaging chat with a very intelligent and knowledgable skin care expert I’ve enlisted to get rid of my pigmentation (more on that and her, soon).

And so, I now use broad spectrum physical sunscreen on my face/neck/chest every single day. To prevent burning. To stop sun damage. Premature ageing. And halt that bastard, pigmentation, in its tracks. Also, it allows me to bypass all of that re-application shit (unless I wet my face or sweat) that is so tricky with chemical sunscreens and wearing makeup. I will often use a BB cream or foundation with chemical sunscreens on top of this, that is to say, I am not making a stand against them, but for my primary sun protection on the face and chest? Physical sunscreen.

Of course, which sun protection you use is entirely up to you, it’s your face and your wallet and your skin. Here are some facts about chemical and physical sunscreens to help you make The Right Decision.

BUT FIRST LET’S GET THIS SUPER REALLY WILDLY STRAIGHT: WE ALL NEED SUN PROTECTION.

Especially since we live in the kind of ridiculous country that insists on having extreme UV. Also because without it we burn, and get skin cancer, and our immune system suffers and our beautiful skin becomes lined and spotted. Yes, we should get about 15 minutes (depending on the time of year/UV strength/your skin) of sun exposure per day for Vitamin D and general happiness, as many miserable Brits will attest. The best way to get it and not soil your lovely skin is to expose the arms, in my opinion.

YOUR CHOICE: CHEMICAL OR PHYSICAL SUN PROTECTION.

(Or one of the many hybrids which utilise both, of course.)

Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing (or sometimes scattering) UV rays. Physical (or mineral) is when the UV is reflected off the skin, and doesn’t absorb into the skin at all.

Chemical sunscreen is far easier to find and use than physical, and is probably what you’re using currently.

– Chemical sunscreens must go directly onto clean skin, and take 20 minutes to work. They are reputed to be better at the UVA (ageing) protection, while physicals are better at UVB (burning) protection, but as long as you’re using broad spectrum, you’re covered. (Or, choose a hybrid with some chemical sunscreens and some zinc oxide.)

– They rely on chemicals like Octylcrylene, Avobenzone, Octinoxate, Octisalate, OxyBenzone, and Homosalate and Helioplex to absorb or scatter the UV rays your skin is exposed to. There is growing concern that some of these chemical filters used can generate free radical damage (“bad”), and some are even thought to be endocrine disruptors, which means they’re messing with your hormones. I would avoid OxyBenzone personally.

– Also, and this is very important if you’re on a mission against pigmentation, WHICH I DEFINITELY AM, chemical sunscreens can actually trigger pigmentation. Fuckers!

– Because chemical sunscreens are resistant to sweat and water (unlike physical sunscreens) they are best for a day of swimming, or the beach or sweaty sportsy playing. But, since the sun can break down their effectiveness (some up to 90% in one hour!) you MUST re-apply often. If you’re wearing makeup and don’t want to remove to start again, use a clever mineral powder on top of your makeup, like DermaQuest DermaMinerals On-the-Go Finishing Powder SPF30.

Debate continues on the long-term safety of using chemical sunscreen. I personally have switched to physical because it’s stronger, more natural, and most crucially, is a better bodyguard against pigmentation. Ms. Sarah Wilson has written about her choice to ditch chemical sunscreen here for those interested.

And then there is physical or mineral sun protection, which relies on zinc oxide or/and titanium dioxide to physically block the UV from getting to the skin.

– You remember zinc from your childhood, right? Horrible, shitty stuff that had zero spread and was thick and unappealing on numerous levels, not to mention usually hot pink or green. But just like Miley Cyrus, zinc has come a long way. Modern versions use micronized zinc, which means they’re transparent and won’t make you look like a Geisha each time you apply. Some even more advanced sunblocks use nanoparticles, but I’d avoid those. Just til we know more.

– Physical sunscreens are unlikely to cause irritation, (think of them as the mineral makeup of sun care) which is why all of the organic sun care brands are physical. If they do make you break out, it’s likely the titanium dioxide, not the zinc oxide.

– Physical sunscreens go on TOP of all your other skin care, just before makeup. They start to work immediately and require no application, unless water or sweat or tears or a spray of Fanta interferes with your original application. You can layer physical on top of chemical (pretty amazing protection assured) by using mineral makeup or touch up powders like the one mentioned above.

SOME PHYSICAL SUNSCREEN RECOMMENDATIONS

 

For those who want glow: Invisible Zinc Tinted Daywear SPF 30 $27

The original and one of the best. I’m a loooooong time fan and have welcomed it back with loving, slightly freckled arms. Doubles as my tint/makeup. I like the dewy finish, but I’m a dry-skinned dame and can handle it. Others might like to set with powder.

For those who want dry-touch: BECCA Mineral Face and Body Sunscreen, $39

A great dry-touch version that looks and feels like a chemical sunscreen.

For those after a moisturiser and sun block: Aspect Hydra Shield SPF 15, $55.95

Doubles as a moisturiser, but I wear on top of my face cream for extra hydration. Lightweight and lovely.

For those who want a matte finish: Coola Mineral Face SPF 30 Matte Finish $40

I’ve not tried as I despise a matte finish, but this gets excellent reviews from the organic and shiny communities.

For those who hate the feel of zinc, Cosmedix Reflect SPF 30, $72.60

Quite the superstar in the physical sunscreen world, being one of, if not the only spray versions. Created for post procedure, (so not hands were required) this is a cocktail of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and antioxidants.

Which do you use? Chemical or physical? Why?

Responses to this drivel: 115 Comments
23
Aug

Are you overusing your anti-ageing skincare?

You might be. I definitely have some friends who are thrashing their AHAs and retinol products, and need to pump the brakes. Otherwise they risk over-exfoliating their skin and ending up with thin, shiny texture, not to mention potential redness, flaking and long-term sensitivity. No good. These ingredients are Power Ingredients, and should be used with care and treated with reverence, not slapped on like your antioxidants and hyaluronic acids.

For instance, if you use a glycolic acid cleanser, then a full-strength brightening serum with lactic acid, and then a retinol based night cream before bed, you’re doing the equivalent of a mini-chemical peel every night. And don’t even get me started on people who don’t use a dedicated broad spectrum sunscreen each and every day when they’re on the Power Ingredients.

Ideally, you should have these ingredients – especially the cosmeceutical type – prescribed by a skin professional, so you know exactly how much to use, and when.

Anyway, watch this informative little piece I did for A Current Affair last night for the full story.

Mini glossary

AHAs: Alpha Hydroxy Acids, natural acids used in the bulk of anti-ageing/acne skin care. I fondly refer to them as the “ics”… Glycolic, citric, lactic acid. They dissolve the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, giving your a fresher, more glowing complexion, they moisturise, they tighten pores, they even out skin tone and reduce pigmentation, they reduce fine lines, the help  fade acne scars… they are magnificent. BUT. Using them a couple of times a week, (or for a program, and then a break) is generally enough for the skin to get the benefits. Lactic is the more gentle of the bunch, start with him.

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Olay Regenerist’s Renewal Elixir with glycolic acid is a bloody good, bloody well-priced bedtime serum.

Retinol: The lower strength version of prescription only retinoids (best saved until after you’ve had all your babies), both are Vitamin A derivatives, and are seen as the holy grail of youthful skin by all beauty experts. Because retinol works. It’s wildly effective at cell-turnover, unclogging pores, reducing fine lines, evening out skin tone, smoothing and softening the skin, and making you look rather fantastic, and very young (in as little as four weeks.)

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SkinMedica’s Tri-Retinol Complex is (STRONG!) and said to give results as good as OTC retinoids.

Uh oh. Miss the bit where I told you to watch the video? Here’s that link again.

Responses to this drivel: 19 Comments
20
Aug

Three fantastic long-last glowy foundations.

Remember the days when I used to talk about silk pillowcases? Seems like an eternity ago. Anyway, on that pillowcase post there was an interesting query by a fruit named Amy, who said:

“I was hoping you might have some product suggestions for foundations that suit long day wear, wedding occasions. I was hoping to go for the glowy look!”

To which I obviously in my head yelped, OF COURSE I DO YOU GORGEOUS DUNCE! Here are three long lasting liquid foundations, right here, right now, as Jesus Jones once famously sang.

The radiant, nourishing one: Lancome’s Teint Visionnaire, $65

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This is a liquid foundation with skincare benefits that was created for a “mature” skin, which means it will be a bit richer, a bit thicker, and real good at smoothing out your lines and reducing the look of pores and uneven skin tone. And, it gives a radiant, non-matte finish. I don’t think at 33 I quite qualify for mature skin, but I will tell you that this is my foundation of choice because I have thirsty, dry, dehydrated skin, and it can take the richness of the formula, and I very much enjoy the full coverage and the glowy – but not shiny – finish, which lasts beautifully. It comes with concealer in the lid, which is undoubtably handy, but I find it too sheer for my undereye circles. It’s better for around the schnoz, lips and on the eyelids. I find a touch of powder down the T-zone sets it perfectly. Tip: Use primer underneath and a touch of powder on the T-zone to set. Don’t eat for breakfast.

 

The natural-looking one: NARS Sheer Glow Foundation $68

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Possibly a better choice for those who prefer a lighter, more ‘skin-like’ finish, this makeup artist’s fave gives a more natural-medium coverage finish, but since it’s easily buildable, you can layer for more coverage that still looks and feels light and glowing. No powder is required to set this stay-put foundation, in my opinion, but I’m not a shiny dolly, so it may differ for others. Lack of pump can be a bit annoying/messy – but you can buy them internationally online. Tip: Use primer underneath for the best results. Don’t apply to elbows.

 

The all-in-one with a matte finish: Cover Girl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3 in 1 Foundation, $19.95

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Definitely the pick for those with oily or combination skin, this primer, foundation and concealer in one (translation: it stays put, and is high coverage, therefore able to act as a concealer on uneven skin tone/pigmentation/redness, dark cricles etc) is remarkable in its lightweight texture/high pay off. In other words, you don’t feel like you’re slapping on a layer of stage paint, but get excellent all-over coverage that doesn’t move for many hours. The finish is definitely on the matte side, so avoid if you have dry or lined skin, as they may be exacerbated, and you will look older than you are, which seems unfair. Tip: No primer or powder required. Finish off with a luminous highlighter for glow. Don’t use as deodorant.

 

Responses to this drivel: 56 Comments
16
Aug

Probably the best anti-ageing beauty “product” a dame can use.

What a headline! What a hook. So intriguing and exciting. Aren’t you excited? Can you even believe what you’re about to read?? God, I can’t, and I’m the one who wrote it.

Disclaimer: If you have been so generous and popular and attractive to buy or read my beauty book, Amazing Face, this will not be news to you. But, back then when I wrote the tip, I didn’t have an actual product to recommend, just a genre, so there’s still something in this post for you beyond the obvious hilarity.

Disclaimer #2: I had chia seeds in my porridge this morning, sorry if there are some between my teeth.

Okay, are you ready? The product is A SILK PILLOWCASE.

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Don’t make that face. It’s not as big an indulgence as you think, in fact, you probably spend the same amount on that Shellac pedicure you get each month. ($60)

Why it’s worth it:

It’s simple: because silk looks after your skin while you sleep like some kind of angelic babysitter. It’s a breathable and natural fabric, and quite the anti-ageing device too. It’s extremely soft and gentle on the skin, unlike cotton or cotton/polyester blends or satin, which are harsh on your face, and will thieve the moisture from the skin. My favourite part is that silk prevents those gnarly sleep lines you wake up with all over your face when you use non-silk, which, over time, you better believe will have a long-term effect on the texture and appearance of your face. (Ditto the chest lines, which is why I always say your face stops at your boobs, in terms of sunscreen/moisturiser/masks etc.)

And! Silk pillowcases do good things for your hair too. It keeps your blow-dries longer, and prevents your painstakingly created hair styles from being a mess in the morning. If you have curls, they won’t tangle and knot. And if you prefer a bed head look, like I do, when you wash your hair at night then roughly blow dry it off, your hair is that lovely, soft, non-frizzy bed head, not the wild ratwoman one.

I have been using the same two silk pillowcases for years. When I was between the two cities, I had one in Melbourne and one in Sydney, and I always pack one when I travel overseas, such is my dedication to not having sleep-crease lines, and my addiction to the softness. I can’t even remember where they came from, except that they are no longer white, but a charming grey colour, and they have my initials on them, which makes me think they were part of a press kit from a cosmetics brand years back, or else I once dated a man in his 70s with a penchant for embroidery. Who can say.

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I didn’t like the fact that my husband’s pillow case was one colour (a nice colour which matched the linen) and my pillowcase, while doing terrific things for my skin, looked sad and out of place and shabby. So I bought some more. Now obviously you can get silk pillowcases at bedding shops and Myer and David Jones, but I went with slip, an Aussie brand I have become quite fond of and not just because their pillowcases are terrific and their marketing is cheeky. Now I have SEVERAL pillowcases in the shades I like my bedding to be (dark chocolate, latte and grey – all terrific shades for masking fake tan marks, I find), which means my husband gets one too, because I shouldn’t be so greedy and hog all the non-wrinkling, and apparently men age too although Sylvester Stallone leads me to think otherwise, so fresh and youthful is his face.

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Consider ditching the cotton and sassing some silk. You won’t regret it. The fact that you feel rich when you wake up on a silk pillow is merely a happy bonus. Oh, and also they make a wonderful gift, because strangely some women can’t justify spending some of their salary on fancy pillowcases. I KNOW, can you believe it??

Responses to this drivel: 48 Comments