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March 15, 2019

Micro-emulsions & layering: Get more out of your skin care

So many of us are applying multi-step, multi-layered skincare routines, and often don’t know what to put on first, or how to get the most out of your products.
As a general guide, skincare should be applied from lightest to heaviest, and water-based products should always go before oils. However, there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules, and if you’re a little lost as to what order to apply oil, serum & moisturiser, read on!

 

Layering Your Skincare

After cleansing, you should apply a toner. Often a water-based hydrosol, toners can help the rest of your skincare penetrate more deeply and swiftly into the skin. With many options available, they can also address skin concerns such as acne, oiliness, dryness, inflammation and ageing. 

Next you’d apply your water-based serum/s — these usually contain active ingredients targeted towards specific concerns and do most of the heavy work in your routine. 

After letting your serum/s sink in for 30 seconds to a minute, you’d apply your facial oil or balm and/or moisturiser to lock in hydration. 

 

Micro-Emulsions

This may not be a term many of you are familiar with, but essentially, it refers to mixing your skincare in the palm of your hand before applying to the skin, rather than in individual layers. 

I do this if I’m applying multiple products and just want everything to absorb much faster — it can also increase the effectiveness of your skincare, by absorbing into the skin rather than you having to massage it around for 5 minutes. 

If you want to use this method, after cleansing, apply spritz your skin with a toner as per usual. 

How you mix the following will depend on what products are in your routine, so experiment to see what works best for you. 

You can mix your water-based serum with your facial oil or balm (in your palm), then spread over the skin. Resist the urge to massage it in too much, and notice how quickly both products absorb. 

If your serum and oil/balm don’t play nicely mixed together, you can switch to mixing your oil/balm with your moisturiser (layering over a water-based serum). 

This can work particularly well if you find you have a serum that leaves a sticky or tacky feeling to the skin, often eliminating that issue. 

Misting the skin liberally with your toner between layers (so it’s damp/wet) is another method that works similarly to creating a micro-emulsion, without you having to mix the products. I like to do this if I find I have a face oil that is slow to absorb, or I accidentally apply too much and you want it to absorb more quickly!

It will leave the skin feeling silky-soft and you don’t have to wait around for everything to sink in. How do you layer your skincare? Let me know if you try creating micro-emulsions, and how it works for you!

February 07, 2019

Valentine's Day Beauty Rituals

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and it’s the perfect time of year to celebrate love — whether it’s with your partner, friends, family or self-love. 

For me, Valentine’s Day has never been the exclusive ground of romantically-involved couples —so, whether you’re heading out for a date-night with your significant other, celebrating Galentine’s Day (Valentine’s with your girlfriends) or indulging in some self-care, here’s my top picks to get loved-up and Valentine’s Day ready!

 ~

Whether you’re going out or staying in, starting your Valentine’s Day prep with a long soak in a hot bath is guaranteed to have you feeling all relaxed and glowing. Pop on a face mask (Leahlani’s Meli Glow is great pre-makeup for a glowing complexion), add in the Romeo + Madden Coconut Milk, Rose & Ylang Ylang Bath Salts, light a few candles and settle in! 

Once you’ve soaked for 15-20 mins, you can give your body an all-over scrub. The H Is For Love LIN Purifying Scrub gently sloughs off dead skin cells whilst moisturising the skin. Follow up with their Glowing Skin Balm for skin that is petal-soft and glowing from head-to-toe.

If you really want to amp up the relaxation, add a few drops of Leahlani’s Bless Essence to your tub, and pulse points afterwards.

leahlani bless aromatherapy essence

 

For make-up, I always feel like Valentine’s Day is a fun time to create a sweet & sultry look, in hues of soft pink. I love Hynt Beauty’s Pinkbelle Lipstick for a fun pop of pink. Use it on the lips & cheeks for a cohesive (not to mention effortless) look. 

Tight-line the lashes using a soft brown pencil, ending in a subtle upward flick. Brown is more subtle and softer than black, and if you use a pencil, it doesn’t matter if you aren’t well practiced at applying eyeliner. Use gentle back-and-forth motions along the lash line to fill it in and give the illusion of thicker lashes — if your hand is quite unsteady, you can then buff or smudge out the edge with a clean eyeshadow brush or your finger. Trust me, this method is fool-proof for all.

Make sure to curl the lashes and finish with plenty of mascara for full, flirty lashes. Hynt Beauty’s Nocturne Mascara is lengthening and dramatic — perfect for Valentine’s!

 

Makeup look created with 100% Hynt Beauty products

 

How will you be spending Valentine’s Day?

 

 

January 25, 2019

How to get that 'holiday glow', in 15 minutes!

We all want a glowing, radiant complexion, the kind you usually get after a tropical holiday when you have a light tan and that well-rested look. Well, here are my little tips to keep that glow year round — and have everyone wondering what your secret is!


First things first, give your skin an all-over golden glow with Eco Tan Invisible Tan. The aim here is for it to look as natural as possible, so if you’re quite fair, mix it with your body lotion before applying to the skin to dilute it — this is also a handy tip for newbies or those that want to avoid an overly bronzed look! I do this whenever I want to add a bit more colour to my skin (like after winter), but don’t want it to look overdone. The result is a subtle glow no-one will guess is faux.


If you’re not into using a self tanner, you can also up the glow-factor by applying a light-reflective balm such as H Is For Love KINU Glowing Skin Balm to legs, shoulders and décolletage. 


Before makeup, give your skin some extra TLC - whatever this is that works for your skin, whether it be a face mask, 5-min facial massage (I do this with my cleanser and it really gets the blood flowing!) or extra moisturiser. 


Use an illuminating moisturiser as your primer, or mix a little highlighter with your base.

Then, apply concealer sparingly to only the areas that require coverage. I love Hynt Beauty’s DUET Concealer for this as it works brilliantly to spot-conceal, but you can really sheer out the edges for a seamless finish. If you prefer all-over coverage, mix a small amount with your moisturiser and apply as you would a foundation. 

The key here is to go as sparingly as you possibly can - only apply full-coverage on spots where you need it and leave the rest as sheer as possible. It should be undetectable.


Next, apply a lip balm or press lipstick, using your fingertips, onto the lips. Choose a soft, natural shade, no more than one to two shades darker than your natural lip colour. A shade like Hynt Beauty’s Tierra Blush is universally flattering, as is H is For Love’s Lip Glace.

Use your fingertips to dab the lip colour onto your cheeks, tapping it out in circular motions. This gives the illusion of a naturally flushed cheek and ties everything together.


You can finish the look by filling in brows and curling eyelashes, adding a layer of defining mascara. I also like to add a touch of cream highlighter to the high points of the face - cheek bones, inner corner of the eye and cupids bow. 


The best thing about this look is it quick, simple and fresh-faced — and appropriate for all occasions. If you want to dress it up, you can by simply switching up your lipstick shade and adding shadow or liner to the eyes. 

 

Do you have any favourite glow-inducing products or tips? Share them below!

 

 

 

 

December 18, 2018

How to use a powdered face mask for perfect results, every time!

After a recent incident that resulted in a powdered face mask turning into a soupy mess, I was reminded how tricky it can be to master the art of the Perfect Face Mask - even when you've had lots of practice!

Whilst there are many great brands on the market, not all I’ve come across include as-great instructions, so here is my fail safe guide for the perfect powdered face mask, every time.

  • Start with a small bowl, preferably one with a decent edge/depth (not a flatter style; it can be too hard to mix!)
  • Place a heaped teaspoon* of your face mask into the bowl. *Note: if the directions call for more (some say a tablespoon), adjust accordingly. 
  • You can mix a face mask with water, toner, honey, or even yoghurt, depending on what you’re after. I’ve seen some suggestions that you can add a face oil to your mask, but I strongly advise against it with a clay-based mask. It can cause the texture to become kind of separated and make it incredibly difficult to get the mask to adhere to your face and set properly. If you’d like to use an oil, apply just 2 drops to the skin beforehand, although I always recommend starting with clean skin. Water is just fine for most masks unless you suffer from very dry or sensitive skin (or your skin feels that way inclined that particular day). If your skin is dry or sensitive and you'd still like the benefits of a clay-based mask, you can use raw honey or plain greek yoghurt instead.
  • Add just a level teaspoon or water/liquid to your mask. Never place the mask bowl under a tap*, or pour from a jug over the bowl to measure out your spoon. Either set the bowl aside as you measure out the water/liquid or take it from a glass/another small bowl. *See the start of this article!
  • Begin to mix in slow, circular motions (like you would a cake batter), using your spoon. Most times this won’t be enough water, but do not add more until the water/liquid has been completely mixed through. Use gentle motions so as not to splatter it everywhere!
  • Once the liquid has been fully absorbed/mixed, you can add just a few drops more using your fingertips — I’ll either dip my fingers into the water bowl and sprinkle in 1-2 drops more, or if you’re unsure, use an old, clean glass dropper from a face oil etc. 
  • Continue to mix, adding water only 1-2 drops at a time if needed until you achieve a thick, spreadable consistency. Remember it’s better to make it too thick as you can always add a touch more water if needed!
  • The mask needs to be thick enough to apply opaquely to the skin (you shouldn’t be able to see your skin through it), but thin enough that it spreads without crumbling. Think the texture of thick melted chocolate or smooth peanut butter ;) (whatever your preference!).
  • Apply your mask with the back of a spoon or mask brush (I use a flat foundation brush) and let sit until dry (usually 30-45 mins).


I know this sounds long and looks like a lot of steps, but in reality, it takes me 2-3 mins to mix and apply a face mask — hardly any time at all!

Now, once the face mask is dry, I prefer to take mine off in the shower as it can get messy, but here’s what I do for the best results and ultimate glow =

 

  • Firstly, do not just stick your face under the tap/shower!
  • Start by wetting your hands, pressing them to your face to gently begin to soften the mask. Wet/press/repeat until you begin to soften your entire face/neck. 
  • You are aiming to return the face mask to the texture it was when you applied it. Gently begin to massage in circular motions, wetting your hands again if needed to further loosen the mask. 
  • Once the mask is a smooth paste again, begin to massage your face and neck in circular motions, for at least a minute or two. I like to massage until I can feel the heat in my skin — that’s getting the blood flow to the surface of the skin. 
  • Make sure to be gentle - you don’t want to scrub off your skin, but rather gently exfoliate and massage. I take it all down my neck and chest, too. 
  • Once you’ve finished your massage, rinse off and enjoy your fresh, soft and smooth skin!


I do this at least once per week, often twice. It’s like an at-home facial and keeps my skin wonderfully soft, smooth and clear. 

 

If you have any tips to share on mixing the perfect face mask, let us know!

 

November 15, 2018

Clearing congested & acne-prone skin naturally

Having congested, acne-prone skin can be a frustrating experience — and in more severe cases, can really impact on your self-esteem. Whilst it may seem like a bad curse you’re stuck with, it doesn’t have to be! At its worst, my skin used to be blemish-prone, congested and lacklustre — and I would regularly get cystic-acne  spots that refused to budge for a week or more before finally dissolving, leaving a mark that would last even longer.
These are some of the changes I made to heal my skin — and it’s now 90% clear, 90% of the time!

 healing acne naturallyMe at various stages of my acne journey to now; with clear, healthy skin

  1. Start within. Your skin isn’t an entity separate to the rest of your body - what shows on your skin is often a reflection of a deeper issue. The majority of my skin issues cleared up with dietary changes. The biggest culprit for me? Refined, white sugar. This also includes refined, white flours and any other processed foods, but just cutting sugar intake entirely will make a notable difference to your skin (as it includes a wide range of food products — make sure to read the labels!). Depending on your current diet, it can be a difficult transition, but it doesn’t mean going without. There are alternative sweeteners available – raw honey, rapadura sugar, coconut sugar or agave syrups and the like. Another dietary culprit is dairy - both dairy and refined carbohydrates/sugars encourage the production of 'androgens' in the body, one of the major hormones responsible for acne. Try cutting these down and see what happens.

  2. Be gentle! Often acne-prone skin is treated far more harshly than is good for it. Using harsh, chemical-based products can end up stripping skin of its natural oils, damaging the delicate acid mantle and lipid barrier that protects your skin. This in turn can lead to further inflammation, congestion, sensitivity, acne and dryness. Switch to a gentle cream or oil-based cleanser (avoid gels and foaming cleansers entirely), that will cleanse without disrupting the pH. 

  3. Moisturise. As mentioned above, congested, acne-prone skin is often treated with harsh, drying products (just take a look at the ingredients in any off-the-shelf drugstore acne wash), when in reality, what acne-prone skin needs is TLC, moisture and hydration. Don’t shy away from light-weight creams such as Blissoma’s Peace Evening Calming Creme, which will moisturise whilst gently refining skin texture, clearing pores and preventing acne. Follow with a lightweight oil formulated for troubled skin to seal in moisture.

  4. Exfoliate — but be gentle! Congested skin can be caused by a build-up of dead skin cells and sebum, leading to clogged pores and blackheads. Regular, gentle exfoliation — both manual and chemical (such as from fruit enzymes or the vitamin A serum mentioned above) — will do wonders to restore a glow and smoothness to lacklustre skin. Use a dry powdered mask or exfoliant 2-3 times per week to give your skin a thorough but gentle massage and exfoliation. Treat your skin at least once per week with a hydrating, exfoliating mask to cleanse on a deeper level without drying out your complexion. 

  5. Spot treat & fight pigmentation with a serum rich in vitamin A such as Blissoma's Smooth A+ Correcting Serum. The carrot seed oil will help prevent and fade marks left from acne, clear congestion, refine pores and prevent new flare-ups. It will also help improve skin tone for a more radiant complexion. Use this after cleansing & toning, and allow to absorb before following with a moisturiser.

  6. Most importantly, remember that your acne does not define you. Believe it or not, nobody else notices your blemishes as much as you do - it's basic human nature to focus-in on what we believe to be our imperfections while everyone else just sees the whole, beautiful package. Treat your skin, and yourself, with kindness - always!

 

 

 

October 24, 2018

5 easy ways to improve your sleep quality

Whether you’re a mother of young children desperately trying to catch a few extra winks in nap time, working two jobs or have a disturbed night from a restless mind or snoring partner, better quality sleep is something we could all do with more of. 
Getting better quality sleep starts with forming a healthy bedtime routine. Here are my top tips for getting a more restful snooze.

 

  1. Switch off devices + wifi (or utilise the Do Not Disturb function) at least an hour before bed. It’s been well documented how the blue light from digital devices negatively impacts melatonin levels (the sleep-inducing hormone), and the mental stimulation from scrolling endlessly through social media can be enough to ward off sleep. Not to mention notifications buzzing on your phone throughout the night!
  2. Practice yoga before bed. Whilst this may sound like a complete pass if you’re unfamiliar with yoga — it’s not all crazy poses and intense workouts. There are a host of videos on Youtube (this is a favourite of mine) that will get your body and mind completely relaxed and ready for a restful night’s sleep. Don’t be too skeptical — give it a shot and see what a difference it makes. 
  3. Read a book. Whilst settling into bed a half hour or so before bedtime with a good book is one of my favourite ways to get ready for a restful night, I would caution against getting started with anything too exciting — and certainly not if you’re on the last few chapters (unless you have better self-control than I do…I may or may not have stayed up until 1am to finish a book on more than one occasion!).
  4. Whilst you’re cozying up with that good book, brew yourself a cup of hot chocolate, with an added dose of The Balanced Pantry’s Peace blend or Glow Milk Turmeric Latte. It will help settle your body and mind so that you feel more peaceful, calm and ready for sleep. 
  5. Take a shower or bath, and really settle into your skincare and/or body care ritual. Take 15 or 30 minutes to thoroughly care for your body and skin — exfoliate in the shower with a deliciously scented scrub, then follow up with a body balm. When it comes to your skincare — even if it’s as simple as face oil or balm for you — take the time to close your eyes, inhale the scent and press it into your just-cleansed, damp skin. Give your face a gentle massage as you press it in and settle into a state of relaxation for the night. 

Do you have an effective bedtime routine or any tips you’d like to share? Which of these ideas do you think you'll try? Share your thoughts below!

 

herbal sleep supplement

Soon this could be you!

 

 

August 27, 2018

Healthy Recipe: Banana, Blueberry & Greek Yoghurt Muffins

I LOVE to bake, but I’m often short on time or fancying a sweet treat at the last minute – so any recipe that’s quick and with a simple ingredients list is right up my alley. I adapted this one from the Taste website, but I cut back on the refined sugar and added some protein & omega-3s from flax seeds. I hope you enjoy it!

 

Ingredients

2 cups of self raising flour (wholemeal if you have it)

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 heaped Tbsp flax seed meal

1 large banana, mashed

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsps milk (more if needed)

1/3 cup greek yoghurt

Large handful of fresh or frozen blueberries (if they’re frozen, let them thaw for 30 minutes or pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds, so they’re not cold when you put the muffins in the oven).

1 Tbsp each of oats, sunflower seeds & brown sugar (for topping individual muffins).

 

Directions

Combine dry ingredients, then add wet ingredients, stirring as you go to combine. Finally, add fruit.

Spoon a (very) heaped Tablespoon into muffin tins (should make around 6-8 muffins). Top each muffin with a sprinkle of oats, sunflower seeds & brown sugar.

Bake at 180C for 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

 

Enjoy!

 

healthy muffin recipe