Category: Skin

15
Dec

We spend an hour a week worrying about our hair looking shit.

Prowling round the web like a creep today, I found some “stats” on how we birds spend our time in reference to our appearance. They came to light via a survey in which it was revealed women spend an average of 628 hours a year fretting about how they look.

Frustratingly it gave no indication of how much time we spend reading stats resulting from surveys.

Here are some them, and how much time we spend on them weekly:

What to wear – 50 minutes

Whether outfit / clothes then look okay – 1 hour and 32 minutes

Whether my wobbly bits are covered up – 1 hour and 26 minutes

What underwear to wear under an outfit – 39 minutes

Being bloated – 1 hour and 1 minute

Having spots 56 minutes

Uneven skin tone 50 minutes

Tan / lack of a tan – 36 minutes

Frizzy / greasy hair – 57 minutes

Total time spent worrying each week: 12 hours and four minutes

You probably won’t relate or agree with all of these.

I, for example, wear the same fetching silver and purple Lycra one-piece every day which I know looks fantastic, so I certainly don’t spend an hour and half worrying about my outfit each day. But some, like the frizzy/greasy hair, yeah… I get that. I spend FAR too much time on my hair. Each day I wake up and some of the first thoughts in my head are: Is my hair clean? Do I need to wash or style it? If it IS clean and good to go, how much more time in bed looking at Instagram does this permit me?

If it was more obedient and didn’t insist on being attached to my scalp and therefore prone to oiliness, life would certainly be a lot more swift, appearance wise. I probably will never do it again (or WILL I?) but when I had permanent “Japanese” hair straightening ten years ago, and I had wash and go hair, and rain and swim and gym proof hair, life was incredibly sweet. (You can of course mimic this effect without all the growing-outness by having keratin smoothing, and I might actually get that again soon, although it does tend to mess with your colour…)

Anyway. I felt their weekly breakdown was lacking some things:

Eyebrow shape scrutinising –  30 minutes

Spot picking regret – 50 minutes

Blackhead inspecting – 41 minutes

Curiosity regarding overuse of dry shampoo with regards to grey tinge on scalp – 24 minutes

Admiring a freakishly perfect eye liner application – 42 minutes

Fretting over the correct order of beauty products – 34 minutes

Looking at chipped, dry nails and feeling bad about not having time to do them – 18 minutes

Removing eye poo – 9 minutes

Wondering if hairdo is passable as a ‘hairdo’ and not just a scruffy bun/knot thingy – 23 minutes

Taking a stream of selfies because everything looks kind of great, actually – 10 hours and 22 minutes

Have I’ve missed any? By all means, add yours below.

 

 freshbrows

Visual Aid:
The popular “car” or “taxi” selfie, taken in this case sans makeup (unusual for a selfie, unless posted by a supermodel in bed with moody filtering and a sexy piece of hair covering the face with the seemingly innocent caption ‘good morning’) to admire the fresh look a brand new brow shape and tint offers a dame.

 

 

Responses to this drivel: 25 Comments
27
Nov

Everything you need to know about pregnancy beauty.

… will probably not be found in this post.

That’s because I DON’T KNOW ANY OF IT YET. I’m sorry! God, stop looking at me like that. New to this. Still finding my feet (among all the Twisties wrappers.)

Look, pregnancy is something that I, like many of us, spent most of my life actively trying to avoid; my information on it relegated to how it happens (“sex”) and how it ends (“a baby”).

But now that I have been lucky enough to have scored my sweet little uterus tenant, I am suddenly and acutely aware of just how much I do not know about this strange, mythical new world. I imagine it’s much the same for those who have recently taken up neuroscience, competitive wind sailing or Minecraft. That’s not to say I am not learning. I have my books, I have my body pillow on order, and I am missing sashimi more than you will ever really understand, to be honest. But the beauty stuff? The stuff that I am good at in Real Life, (similar to Pregnant Life, but with smaller bras and more wine), it hasn’t just immediately manifested.

I’ve picked up a few things, of course. I ask a lot of questions, especially when getting beauty treatments and when in the company of mums who have a vested interest in that stuff, and some of it is obvious. But a lot of it is NOT obvious. Like spray tans, for instance. Are we allowed to get them or not? I had an organic one and wore a face mask, just to be sure/paranoid. (The answer is below, for the record.)

I can’t help thinking there are a lot of unnecessary precautions in the world of pregnancy beauty, and that common sense, as always, should prevail. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to ask you all to throw up your beauty beauty tricks and tidbits in comments below, so that we can all learn, together, at once, united in lower back pain and nausea. (Just on nausea, which I was slammed with all-day for the past three months but am finally seeing the end of, I think sugar definitely makes it worse. Ditto too long between meals/snacks. Also my hunch is that pregnancy can definitely exacerbate it.)

Here’s what I’ve gleaned so far:

HYPERPIGMENTATION

I wrote a huge post on this recently, which I urge you to read if you haven’t already. Hyperpigmentation can become a real bitch during pregnancy, due to hormonal changes and an increased sensitivity to UV. Your best chance is to use a pregnancy-safe pigment inhibitor, followed by a physical or mineral sunscreen, (zinc or titanium dioxide based) each and every day. Also, a wide brim hat, and sunglasses. IT’S WORTH IT. It’s only going to be harder to shift once your hormones return to normal, so you may as well try to keep a lid on it now. Tight lid. Screw top. Vacuum sealed. Sticky tape on the sides.

At home I use: Aspect Pigment Punch OR Aspect Vitamin C serum (less active than Pigment Punch), followed by O Cosmedics Mineral Pro during the day, and the serum plus a lovely thick face cream at night. (I have heard from another pregnant beauty ed that Aspect’s Exfol L is great, too.)

 

O Cosmedics Mineral Pro Tinted

In salon: I am keeping up with my occasional lactic peels. (I go here, Brooke is unreal.) AHAs are fine through pregnancy, but lactic is the best bet, being the most gentle. My skin is glowing, which is terrific for people thinking you have the “pregnancy glow” when really you’re sleeping terribly and engaging in a diet more suitable to a stoned teenager. Just be mindful, if you do go for a peel, that your skin may be more sensitive due to hormones, and it may actually make the pigmentation flare up, (and return swiftly) so do small patch tests and low solutions to begin, and have a full “I’m with child!” consultation with the therapist.

The standard avoid list…

– Things with irritants and toxins. Skin can be more sensitive when you’re preggo, so go easy on it.

– Products with more than 2% salicylic acid (found in a lot of acne treatments), also known as BHA. Small amounts, such as in a cleanser once a day, or a spot treatment are fine. If in doubt, switch to AHAs, which will have a similar effect but are deemed totally safe.

– Vitamin A, Retinol, retinoids, retin-A, retinoic acid, Retinol Palmitate, Retinyl Palmitate etc.

Soy products, which can aggravate your pigmentation.

– Oil of Bergamot, for the same reason.

STRETCH MARK PREVENTION

Every woman has her swear-by-it stretch mark preventer, but I really swear by mine. I do! I stand next to it and yell obscenities each morning. Hilarity aside, as long as you are using something on your stomach, hips, thighs, back and bum, you will help a lot. That’s not to say all products are created equal… Share your pick below, obviously, and stop hogging all the non stretch marks.

Before we do that though, the best piece of advice I’ve received is to keep up with the lotions/oils/butters post birth as well. Don’t drop the ball just cos you dropped a baby.

I use: Gernetic Synchro, (I got my facialist Natasha – who, wait for it – swears by it) to snaffle me the bucket/salon size as it is generally used as a face cream… which I use it for, as well) and a special belly butter made for me by my dear friend at Sodashi, Megan Larsen. HOW LUCKY I AM. I also use (this might be the most frustrating list of products in history) a dreamy body oil that is not yet on the market but will be early 2014 and will blow any socks off you happen to be wearing. Ideally you would alternate between oils and creams, because the skin is made of and needs both moisture AND sebum/oil.

Gernetic Synchro

Others use: Check comments below for evangelical ideas from women who have actually HAD a baby, but I know that The Body Shop and Palmer’s body and shea butters rate well, as does Weleda’s stretch mark oil.

SPRAY TANNING

DHA, the ingredient that marks your skin in spray tans is considered safe, however, you should cover your schnoz and mouth while you have your spray tan to prevent inhalation, so check your salon has face masks available. Also, maybe wait til you’re in your second trimester to salon spray.

BOTOX

Not approved or recommended. The definitive jury is out on its effects on the baby, due to not enough research, but why on earth, wind or fire would you risk it. Also deemed unsafe while trying to conceive, breastfeeding and flying planes.

LASER SKIN TREATMENTS

Not advised. Nor are depilatory creams, due to heightened chance of allergy. Guess it’s back to waxing, ay bro.

TEETH

One of the joys of pregnancy is being allowed to leave early when dinner parties are dull. Another is gingivitis, AKA inflamed, sore, bleeding gums and manky breath. Cute. I saw my dentist last week and it was a godamn blood bath. Horrible. Definitely see your dentist at least once during up duffery, and absolutely brush, tongue clean, floss and mouthwash daily. (Cause we all have two hours to get ready, yah?) Important though. Bad breath is about as alluring as month-old sushi.

I use: My Philips Sonic Airfloss (read my review here, it is AWESOME and excellent for floss-haters), toothbrush, Listerine Zero (no alcohol, means no drying out of the mouth) and a shitty tongue scraper I bought from the chemist.

philips-sonicare-airfloss

HAIR

There are lots of (around 798,982 at last count) conflicting reports regarding what you can and can’t do with your hair when pregnant, but generally the guidelines are to wait until you’re in your second trimester (you know, the one when you can stomach more than white toast and walk up stairs without gasping for breath), opt for highlights rather than tints, so as to avoid scalp contact (things like balayage are great, because the highlights begin at the mid-lengths) and go for semi-permanent colours rather than permanent to avoid ammonia. I had my hair coloured recently and sacrificed exactly nothing in terms of its appearance by using these techniques.

Okay. Time to pop an Elevit/a hairband around the button on my jeans.

What are your pregnancy beauty tips and favourite products? For the love of leg veins, tell us.

Responses to this drivel: 51 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: 178 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: 46 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.

Olay-regenerist
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.)

skinmedica-tri-retinol-complex
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: 20 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.

silk-pillowcase-3

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.

case-pink-box-open

 

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.

 Slip_pink

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
30
Jul

Sleep in your makeup? Ruin your skin and look older, faster.

What could be better than being lectured at as you innocently read a blog?! Most things, I’d say, especially banoffee pie.

But for once this isn’t just me being bossy: The Daily Mail (yes, yes, I know, everyone’s font for authentic, intelligent journalism) did a study on wearing makeup to bed, and while admittedly, the poor dame subjected to the test didn’t cleanse at night for a whole month, and you might only do it once a week or so, you are still doing your skin damage.

Here she is, poor lamb. Before and after.

fml-anna pursglove 'after surgery eyebrow'-15.jpgslept in make up for a month

The findings were that not cleaning your face properly at night not only caused havoc with your skin, but it ages the skin.

If you don’t cleanse your skin at night – and I’m talking even the fastest in-shower foam and rinse – you may just be the lucky beneficiary of:

Larger, dirtier and more visible pores that may irreversibly stretch

Redness leading to rosacea

Deeper lines and wrinkles

Acute dryness

Irritated, puffy eyes

Brittle, shitty lashes that fall out

Not to mention feeling self-conscious when you read posts like this.

Bottom line is, and I know you’ve heard this before, but perhaps you’re still not listening because you have earphones in or something: You have to cleanse your skin at night.

I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to clean your face at the end of the day.  ESPECIALLY if you’ve been wearing a shittonne of makeup or even just sunscreen, or face cream. (It’s not just the products you need to remove, but dirt and grime from, you know, the world.)  If you don’t remove it properly each night, you’re building onto it again the next morning, and as this case study shows, the skin enjoys that about as much as a swift kick.

Even in your drunkest moments, use a facial wipe (keep them in your bedside drawer for just these occasions), or if you’re stuck at a “friend’s” place (WINK WINK) use his stuff, or even just wipe olive oil from the kitchen over the face with some tissues or toilet paper. Yes, that actually works.

Sure, you can do it a few times with no real consequence, but if you’re doing it more than say, ten nights a month, and this study suggests that a lot of women are, well, that’s enough to have a long term effect. Also, all those expensive and impressive serums and creams you’re using can’t do their job if your skin isn’t a clean slate to begin. Loading them on top of yesterday’s layers is an atrocious idea but a wonderful gift to any pores that were hoping to produce a pimple that day.

I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever done it, but that’s just the cute anal retentive babe I am.

What I cleanse with at night: On a normal day, when I just wear some daily moisturiser with SPF and BB cream I use  a cream cleanser in the shower. Massage on, rinse off. When I’ve been wearing full makeup, I first use a cleansing oil on dry skin, then I follow on with regular cleanser in the shower or over the sink. And three times a week I use an AHA exfoliating cleansing gel to really clean all that product I wear off.

In the morning: I quickly rinse with some Cetaphil and water to remove all the night creams and serums.

Are you guilty of this?

Will you now finally change your ways?

Isn’t it awesome fun when I yell-write at you?

 

Responses to this drivel: 58 Comments
24
Jul

Just some lovely new products.

That’s all.

Nothing to be scared about.

Here we go.

A LARGE, USEFUL SIZED BOTTLE OF WHAT MIGHT BE THE WORLD’S FINEST MAKEUP REMOVER SLASH CLEANSER.

Bioderma Crealine 500ml

I concede it is not a new product, actually, but a new size of a product (twice the usual 250ml) that we already all love, and is, ‘ow you say, magnifique. I’ve written about it before, and so has every person who has ever:

Been into a French pharmacy and bought some because they read about it on a blog or in a magazine
Been French and just known about it since birth, thank you very much
Been on a photographic shoot and had their makeup removed for a new look with this gentle, soft, powerful cleansing water
Been a model or a makeup artist or celebrity, because they go mad for this shit.

It can easily qualify as your night time cleanser, so thoroughly and wonderfully does it remove makeup and grime, but I prefer to use it as a makeup remover, then cleanse when I get in the shower again (for the heavier stuff like sunscreen and primers etc.)

(It’s a limited edition, this 500ml, and will be available via Adore beauty and Priceline and selected stockists just before Christmas. Buy regular-sized Bioderma Crealine st these places right now, this second.)

A HYDRATING MIST THAT SMELLS LIKE A COUNTRY ROSE GARDEN, AND QUENCHES YOUR DESIRE TO HELP WOMEN.

Jurlique Rosewater Intense

Mists are underrated. They are far more than just nice smelling water, they can tone, calm, soothe and depending on the formula, even brighten or firm or exfoliate. I apply a few mists before I apply makeup to ensure the face is happy and hydrated, and then often when it is complete, a few more to set it, and add just that touch of glow. Also, I keep one on my desk for squirts through the day. They smell good. Make me relaxed. Do nice, moisturising things to my computer face.

Jurlique’s new limited edition Rosewater Balancing Mist Intense, $69 is probably good looking enough and scented so deliciously that it need not incorporate a charity angle, but guess what, it bloody well does. Jurlique have an umbrella charity called the Ideas of Beauty Fund, which exists to support and empower women all over the world. This particular product sees them contributing a portion of each sale of this mist to AIME (Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience), which helps Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders complete high school at the same rate as all Australians, and more specifically, to help 500 young women become mentors for the program, which is obviously terrific. Also, it smells great. Which I think I mentioned. (And rose is the new gardenia, fragrance wise.)

A CHEAP, LONG-LASTING EYE LINER IN A TRENDY COLOUR.

CoverGirl LiquilineBlast

In scary news for some, exciting news for others, blue, aqua and green eye makeup is trendy again. I blame/attribute this to Pantone calling emerald green the colour of 2013. In any case, I think we can all agree a huge splodge of these colours on the eye suits only the very young, the very fashion-forward, or the very on-stage-in-an-80s-musical.

So, sneak into the trend (and in all honesty, watch your iris explode with new depth of colour, esp if it is blue or brown) with just a line of colour on the upper lashline. OR, smash a few cool-o-meters, by leaving the top lash line bare, (LOTS OF mascara notwithstanding) and do the lower lashline instead, smudging it in for a lived-in look. Oooooh, get you!

I like the CoverGirl Liquiline Blast liners in general, ($14.95) but found this shade, ‘Blue Boom’ to be quite fun for this exact style of makeup hooliganism. It’s soft, waxy and easily smudged (with a brush or the rubber smudger on the opposite end), but also stays nice and put when used as a thin, precise liner, because it’s waterproof, innit. You DO need to sharpen it, which might sound obvious, but with all the self-sharpening crayons out there, is worth mentioning.

Obviously if there are any new products YOU are enjoying, you ought to list them below. Can’t be all one way now can it? How terrifically dull that would be.

Responses to this drivel: 38 Comments
16
Jul

How to deal with a blind pimple and teach it a lesson also.

Look closely at this photo.

CLOSER.

The chin region, specifically.

BlindPimple

Can’t see anything?

Doesn’t matter, I am feeling enough for both of us to be able to see it because there is a WHOPPING great shiner on my chin. It feels like the size of a 5c piece, and might well be. As it’s a blind pimple, I can’t see it’s head yet, but oh, it’s coming. The fact that my whole chin is pulsing with pain guarantees it. Why it’s pulsing, for the record, is because it’s so deep, right down near my nerves. Regular, 20/20 vision pimples are up close to the top layer of skin, God bless them. So thoughtful.

In the interest of it not ruining my face for the next 10 days, and especially for the wedding I am attending this weekend, here’s how I will be dealing with this bastard. The technique works, which is the good news provided I  DO NOT pick at it, which I won’t. The bad news is that I have been known to pick at it.

While it’s just a painful, red, half-bump ice it and reduce the swelling

This is crucial, this bit. If you play this right, it might not Vesuvius all over your face. So: take an ice cube, and wrap in a tissue. Hold it on the spot for five minutes on, 10 minutes off. Do this at least three times in a row if you can. Drink lots of water.

When it starts to show a head, you need to carefully, gently get The Monster up to the surface

After a shower (the steam assists greatly in the drawing-out process), take a clean face cloth or a thick cotton pad and dip it into a sink of as-hot-as-your-skin-can-handle, water. Hold this compress, while swearing and kicking the toilet, for as long as possible. Re-dip in the water when it cools down. Do this for at least five minutes.

Now apply a drawing paste, a thick goo usually comprised of things like clay, sulfur and zinc oxide, to the head of the pimple with a cotton tip, and go to bed so it can do it’s work. and you will have either a very obvious whitehead in the morning, (or as sometimes magically happens, just a some faint redness, because it’s matured the whitehead so fully that it’s completely gone.)

Payot-pate-grise

I have been a tremendous fan of the famous and fantastic Payot Pate Grise for many years, and my beloved pimple drying lotion by Mario Badescu also works (although the skin will lightly flake due to the benzy peroxide). Magnoplasm, a hardcore drawing agent for boils, splinters and blind pimples is also excellent, albeit stinky and gross to use.

When the whitehead is right at the surface, it’s time to carefully extract 

If things are still red and tender, or shiny and taut, no touchy touchy. It’s not ready. Conceal it and repeat the drawing process that night/as soon as it’s viable.

If the whitehead is more evident than redness, and it’s trying to jump out of your skin, you’re ready, sugar.

Do the hot water compress biz from above for a couple of minutes, then wrap half a tissue around each of your index fingers. Put a finger each side of the whitehead, then carefully, very gently, with NO NAILS DIGGING IN, push down on the sides, then kind of roll your fingers upwards to encourage the head to pop out. The idea is to get down deep on the sides, and push the very bottom of the whitehead up and out. Do the same motion from a few different spots to share the pressure (and fun!) around.

You should see no blood. There shouldn’t even be indentations where you’ve been pushing: it has to all be very gentle.

Finishing up and preventing scarring…

This bit is important, you guys. Once you’ve popped it’s all open to bacteria, so be sure to lock that shit well out.

First, apply a bit of pressure on the spot, to stop any potential bleeding or swelling and redness. Then wipe on some purifying lotion with a cotton ball or pad. I love Gernetic’s Sebo-Ger, or Garnier’s Pure Active Daily Pore Purifying Toner.

Garnier Pure Pore Toner

Now leave it the hell alone for a couple of hours. It needs to heal and breathe. So no makeup, nothing. (Extractions are always best done at night, or a few hours before you need to go out.) Once the area is flaking a bit, and dry, use some paw paw ointment or some such natural emollient on the area to encourage healing and scar reduction.

If you follow these steps, you can successfully wallop a blind pimple without all the mess that usually accompanies them.

If follow these steps, I get all of that and a Snickers Ice Cream bar as a special reward.

Responses to this drivel: 94 Comments
11
Jul

Who makes up your Personal Beauty Army?

CHILL. I’m not asking cos I’m nosy, or because I want to steal them.

Yes I am.

Sorry.

After writing up a delightful beauty space earlier this week, one which I have decided has become part of my Melbourne Personal Beauty Army (a very specific appearance-based army focused on grooming and maintenance) I realised I still had a way to go in terms of my Melbourne PBA.

Like, just say I can’t shimmy back to Sydney to have Lien Davies masterfully, lovingly tend to my eyebrows for six weeks (I’m at seven and counting, things are getting tense) – who will do them?

[Just on Lien, she has released a fantastic ebook called How To Create Your Ultimate Brow Shape At Home – complete with How To videos and a mountain of gorgeous illustrations and photos. Yes, I see the irony of promoting her DIY Brow Shape book in the same paragraph as detailing my desire for a new professional brow shaper. Shut up.]

And what if I need a spray tan? FOR GOD’S SAKE WHAT IF I NEED A SPRAY TAN.

I don’t even have a hairdresser down here. Still pop up to Barney Martin for my hairs. (Finally getting my ‘underlights‘ put in this Saturday. Thinking very hard about installing a fringe as I do every now and again, but then remember do not have Jane Birkin’s hair texture/lack of cowlicks and am forbidden.)

 

02_jane_birkin

Jane Birkin arrogantly showing off her great hair texture and terrific fringe.

Anyway.

As I mentioned the other day, the way a dame generally finds her PBA is via word of mouth. And what better use of the comments section than for us to all share our PBAs? Let’s use our keyboards as our mouths, and our eyes as our ears and our teeth as our teeth! (In case we’re eating almonds.)

Just before we begin, let’s clarify the Personal Beauty Army Code.

To be considered a member of ones’s PBA, one must be not only reliable, talented, honest, skilled, pleasant to be around and offer better results than any other in their field, but they must thinly skate the line between being too good to share with others, and so good they must be shared with others”

Probably most women have a hairdresser, waxer and facialist in their PBA, but those who are slightly more invested in their physical upkeep, or who may be in a profession which demands a higher level of personal grooming, may also occasionally employ spray tanners, massage therapists, manicurists/pedicurists, eyebrow shapers, Botox injectors, dentists (for Invisalign/whitening, say), makeup artists for special occasions and of course, an ear polisher.

So, share!

Go right ahead and share. First clearly list which city you live in, and then list the members/salons of your PBA. And don’t be all greedy and keep some for yourselves. This is the sisterhood we’re immersed in here, we need to help each other out.

Just think, maybe one day your job as a Nanotechnological Bioinformatics System Integrations Researcher might see you transferred to Wollongong, and wouldn’t it be nice to know where to get some decent highlights when you arrive? Yes. It would be splendid.

In a perfect world, this post will become a kind of Little Black Book for Excellent Australian Beauty Services, where you can type in a search word (such as “Burleigh Heads”) and then just find the waxer of your dreams instantly…

So I dare to dream big. Sue me*.

A VERY HANDY HINT: Press Control F (“find”) and type in the city or state you’re looking for.

*Please don’t sue me.

Responses to this drivel: 329 Comments