Sunny Days Ahead

Hello, dear reader!

Summer is around the corner, and with that comes the damaging rays of Sydney’s sunshine. Cancer Council Australia published a survey today revealing that 2.7 million Aussies are getting sunburnt on a week – don’t be a statistic! Protect your skin and your health.

This post is coming to you from sunny Bali, where I’m getting a head start on summer. I am crazy about sun protection, and want you to be too. Excessive sun exposure and a lack of sun protection is the number one way of ageing your skin, and undoing all the good skincare routines you have.

There is a lot of talk of chemical and physical sunscreens in beauty media – I personally like a combination of the two, and think there is no such thing as too much sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens essentially soak up the sun’s rays, like a protective sponge. Physical sunscreens protect your skin by creating a physical layer between the sun and your skin.

Physical sunscreen is recommended for those with sensitive skin and for children; chemical sunscreens are ideal to mix with makeup. Physical sunscreens are a lot thicker and sit on top of the skin, whereas a chemical sunscreen mixes and blends into the skin a lot more easily.

As always, here are my recommendations… complete with a Bali backdrop.

Neutrogena Beach Defence

This stuff comes in a spray bottle, and comes out really thin and easy to apply. Recommended for difficult to reach spots on your body, as you can angle the spray directly onto those areas. I’ve been using this sunscreen religiously for years and have never been burnt whilst wearing it. It is absorbed easily by the skin and has an inoffensive scent. It does leave a bit of residue, so I recommend it for casual wear, or let it dry properly and then get dressed.

RRP: $16.99

As you can see, the product is extremely minimalist.

Invisible Zinc

This stuff is when I want to be really serious about my sun protection. It’s thick, takes ages to rub in and leaves a nice, white layer where you apply it. If you are going to be shamelessly in the sun all day, this is the stuff for you – you won’t get the ultimate Instagram shot wearing this stuff, but you will save your skin.

RRP: $21.95

This product is thick and serious.

Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster

This is a new addition to my skincare, and is ideal for incidental sun exposure (e.g. walking to a cafe). It is a chemical sunscreen, so is easily absorbed by the skin and is nice to mix in with your usual moisturiser. It’s not enough on it’s own as skincare, so should be mixed with whatever you are already applying as your base layer. SPF 50 – very serious sun protection yet less effortful than the Invisible Zinc.

RRP: $72.50 (can easily be found cheaper online/ in salons)

Texture is thin and easily applied – like a normal moisturiser.

So those are my top 3 sunscreen recommendations for this summer. Don’t look prematurely old – slip, slop, slap and wear a hat.

And if irritation occurs, discontinue use.

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Skin skin skin

I’ll try not to keep going on about my posting frequency… but thanks to all the ladies who have commented in the past couple of weeks about my blog. One of my main motivations for blogging is from the conversations I have – I figure if one person is asking, at least ten other people are interested – so may as well write about it! So hello to all my readers, old and new…

It’s currently winter in Australia, so moisture is much-needed. Windy days, combined with cool mornings means we have to work a bit harder for our skin. I know a lot of people try to improve their skincare at this time too, so I’ve had a few people asking me about what they should be including and what order.

Five components, all take next to no time and give great results. The word “dry” in French is “sec” and it’s going to be important in your routine.

Cleanse – Tone – Sec

Cleanse
Avoid anything soap-like, anything that foams or anything that doesn’t really move your makeup. A good cleanser should get the majority of your makeup off; all of it if you are wearing a minimal amount. If you have party makeup on, use a proper eye makeup remover and do a double cleanse.

Luxe pick: Dermalogica Precleanse Oil
Starter pick: Aveeno Positively Radiant Brightening Cleansing

Tone
This is where I save money and just buy something that won’t irritate my skin. I’ll be honest and admit I’m not totally convinced as to the necessity of this step, so I include it, but at the lowest cost possible. Generally, this step for me just helps calm any redness and tighten up my pores.

Luxe pick: Dermalogica Multi-Active Toner
Starter pick: La Roche Posay Physiological Soothing Lotion

Now we move into Sec territory – Serum, Eye Cream and Cream (Moisturiser). Follow this order and kiss dryness goodbye.

Serum
I love a serum and think they are worth spending a bit more on – so save your dollars on a toner and invest in a decent serum. The difference between drugstore and department store serums are significant, so I apologise in advance for the high price point in the items I’ve included in my picks below. Use enough to cover your face, and try to use a patting motion, rather than massaging it into your skin.

Luxe pick: SK II Facial Treatment Essence
Starter pick: Clarins Face Treatment Oil

Eye cream
Eyes show one’s age, so a seperate eye cream can reduce your thoughts on cosmetic procedures. Apply gently with your ring finger, both below your eye and on your eyelid. Eye cream packaging is always tiny, but it will stretch a long way.

Luxe pick: Clarins Eye Contour Gel
Starter pick: Clinique all about eyes

Cream (Moisturiser)
Get the best that you can afford – and never, ever skip this step. Whether you wear a lot of makeup, or none at all, moisturiser is a must. You may want one with SPF, you may want to apply your SPF separately – do some research to see what suits you and your needs.

Luxe pick: Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream
Starter pick: QV Moisturising Day Cream

Initially it will just feel great, but when you put in some serious time, you’ll see some results in your skin. Best case scenario, do this once a day, preferably at night. Worst case scenario, spend some time once or twice a week following all of these steps. Spend some time trialling some products – don’t be afraid to ask for samples. You’re often looking at an item that is >$50 – you should at least be able to make sure it doesn’t give you a reaction prior to your investment. Good luck with your winter skincare!

And if irritation occurs, discontinue use...

Travel Ready: Skin 

Regular readers will be overwhelmed by my increase in post frequency – how many posts do I have to do to officially state that I’m making a comeback?!

Anyways, jokes aside, I’m excited to post more than once in 6 months! 2017 is turning out to be a year of travel for me, so another travel post seems fitting. Prior to my last post, I was prepping for Nepal, and now I have another country in sight – #blessed. Unfortunately, overseas travel results in dehydrated skin and break outs for me, so I’ve learned over time to shamelessly take a range of skincare abroad with me.

Moisture

Flying dries out skin big time, so commit to something that will give you serious rehydration. Drinking water is obviously key, but you can further aid that with a serum. The Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum is great for this – if you are a regular Clarins user, you may be able to get a sample of this for a trip, or get a mini-version in a gift pack. I don’t necessarily use this all year round, but it is great for when you are travelling. I apply this day and night soon after a flight.

Sun Protection

Invisible ZincI admit, I don’t wear sun protection on my face all year round, but on days where I will be outside a lot and during summer, I try to use a face cream with SPF. When I’m on holidays, I’m out and about a lot more than usual, so need some serious protection. QV Moisturising Face cream is SPF 30+, and is light enough to wear after a hydrating serum, and under makeup. If I am going to be in serious sun, I use Invisible Zinc (SPF 50+) and avoid applying any face makeup. QV is great for something less intense –  it’s non-irritating, and you won’t need any additional moisturiser on top.

Break Outs

Unfortunately, my skin breaks out quickly and easily. For this reason, I really can’t afford to leave my overnight spot treatment at home.
I’ve recently converted to the Dermalogica Special Clearing Booster (prior to this I was using the Overnight Clearing Gel). This stuff is great if you can feel something coming, or if something does pop up and you need it to be gone asap. It’s small, and can fit into your clear carry-on liquids bag.

The Final Layer 

Anybody who is yet to use the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm (BFB) is missing out, big time! This is a cult product and has never needed a sponsored ad in it’s lifetime. Think of this as a moisturiser, a clear BB cream and an instant face lift. I use this on top of a moisturiser; I think of it as almost like a protective film – perfect when the air quality is compromised, and you have pores to think about. It tightens and brightens, and gives you a youthful glow – great if you are trying to avoid wearing too much makeup while on holiday. This stuff needs to be carefully applied – avoid rubbing it in as much as a moisturiser; it really does sit on the skin.

Pamper 

Now, am I even me, if I don’t suggest a mini-pamper? You’re away from home, away from the usual demands of life, so treat your skin with some TLC. A sheet mask takes up minimal space, and can help your skin when it’s been ravaged by a pressurised air cabin as well as changes in food, water and air quality. Pack one per 7 days that you are away (i.e. if you are away 2 weeks, pack 2), and no doubt, you will find some time to use this – you can thank me then for the suggestion. Sheet masks take up a lot less space than a tub face mask, and I personally find them more intense than a liquid/clay mask.

Skincare while travelling seems so indulgent, but it’s easy to do, and the pay off is worth it. Travel size bottles/jars make it light and small enough to fit into your on-board luggage, so there is really no excuse. Don’t return home looking like you were living in a hut without running water (unless of course, that is exactly where you were living)!

And as always, if irritation occurs, discontinue use. 

Welcome to Rancho Relaxo (Monday Night Pamper)

I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged about a pamper session – I do apologise! I actually haven’t had a lot of inspiration lately, but this month I was inspired to not only have a pamper session but to take it to another level – visit a skin spa.

BBRL-FrontAll my readers who are my real-life friends will know this is my regular beauty spot. All forms of hair removal, hair maintenance and skin repair happens in this place for me. I’ve been a long-term client of this place, and have seen it grow and change over the years. There are multiple therapists available, however my regular appointments tend to be with Rachael-Lee herself. She’s seen me through my early 20’s problem-free skin, my adult acne days and I guess what is now my (early stages of) ageing skin (although that’s not something I want to admit!). It had been quite a while since I’ve had a facial here (about 12 months), so I figured it was about time I treated myself.

I’m a passionate small-business supporter, so avoid going to large chain spas or laser clinics for any of my treatments. I mean, check out these little details at Beauty By Rachael-Lee (the link will take you to their Facebook page).

BBRL - Bed

 

BBRL - Products Close Up

I ended up having a Multivitamin Facial, which was amaaaaazing. There is nothing quite like a proper facial – I can do my own little pamper sessions throughout the month, but nothing beats a deep exfoliating and cleansing facial. I always need a little bit of extraction, and I forgot how painful this can be! Luckily, I only needed a few extractions (I’ve had some very intense extraction sessions with Rachael-Lee in the past), and I can see the value in this step – for me, it makes a really dramatic difference in my skin health and appearance.

BBRL - Room

I don’t always care for the relaxing waterfall-style music that is played on endless repeat in day spas, but luckily Rachael-Lee sometimes gives me the option of more upbeat music (if we’re the only people in at the time). This time, I went with the already-playing cover music (one of my favourite genres – if it is one). The massage and products were all amazing, and I left feeling very relaxed and ready for bed. I always book my facials in the evenings (or late afternoons) and make no plans afterwards – I want to maintain my zen state, keep the products on my face overnight and wake up feeling refreshed.

Obviously I live in a small part of the world, and not everybody can get out to this lovely place. Therefore my tips for judging a facial treatment and spa quality are as follows:

  • No sales – you should not feel pressured to buy something after the facial. There should be no feeling of sales tactics during the facial either.
  • A decent temperature – if the spa can’t maintain a reasonable temperature during your facial, it’s going to be a struggle to enjoy it.
  • Respect for your privacy – once I went for a facial at a random spa and the therapist told me to get completely undressed, left me with a hand-sized towel to cover my body, and re-entered the room without knocking, and I was definitely not ready. For the record, Rachael-Lee offered me a robe, will knock before attempting to re-enter the room, and really just wants straps off your shoulders – I don’t remove any clothing.
  • You should know what they are doing, but keep it to bare minimum details. This may just be my personal style, but I like to know what step the therapist is up to, what she is applying and that is about it. I don’t even think this much detail is necessary, but as a skincare lover, I’m always interested to know what the beautiful product is that is being rubbed on. Any more details and I really start to over-think it.
  • The therapist should actually advise you on what you should be getting for your skin needs and skin type. I had a glycolic peel many years ago from a random therapist and afterwards was advised by my regular therapist (incidentally it was Rachael-Lee back in her hey-day of being someone’s employee) that the procedure was completely unsuitable for my skin type at the time. You should never get a specific treatment just because it’s the most expensive.

ONE WEEK ON….

My skin is looking and feeling amazing. I had a few raised inflammations (very tiny) for the following two days, but these settled easily. Unfortunately I am not one to really go without makeup, even though I know it would be quite helpful following a facial, but my skin never seems to get irritated with makeup application after treatments. I think it’s worth keeping your skin as makeup-free for as long as you can after your facial. I try to avoid any exfoliation for about 5 days, which was a little trick I picked up on after having a series of microdermabrasian treatments. It’s a particular recommendation following microderm, to avoid exfoliating. I feel like giving my skin 4-5 days after any facial before using an exfoliant works wonders – my skin is really glowing post scrub!

If for some reason you’ve never tried a professional facial, or are unsure where to start – dive in. Make a gentle decision for your first one, something with deep cleansing and scrubbing but maybe nothing more invasive than that. It is the ultimate pamper and a great way to treat yourself.

Beauty by Rachael-Lee is located on the corner of Stafford Street and Colless Street, South Penrith. In case there’s any confusion, this is most definitely not a sponsored post, I really am just that big of a fan! [Treatment was $AUD80 and went for 1 hour]

And remember – if irritation occurs, discontinue use…

Scrub a Dub Dub: Facial Scrubs

Firstly, apologies for being a bit lax with the posts lately, I blame the Sydney weather! I understand now the importance of artificial lighting; currently I’m relying on natural daylight for my blog photos, and the sunlight quality has been particularly poor this week.

Regular readers will know I love a good, grainy scrub. I’ve recently expanded my scrub range, after years of using one product religiously. My current scrub repertoire includes: ASAP Daily Exfoliating Facial Scrub, St Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub and Dermalogica daily microfoliant. If you love to scrub a dub dub like I do, read on!

Scrub Collection

ASAP Daily Exfoliating Facial Scrub

This scrub has to be my Holy Grail scrub product. Although the name and marketing suggests it can be used on a daily basis, I personally use it 2-3 times a week maximum. It has a 14% glycolic acid content, so I’m always careful to apply an SPF moisturiser afterwards. It is noticeably grainy (don’t waste my time and say you’re a scrub if I can’t feel any granules), and after using it, my skin is left feeling soft and smooth. I really think the addition of glycolic acid to the granules tips this over the edge as my ultimate product. The packaging is great; it has a little push top lid that snaps closed, so this happily lives in my shower.
RRP: $49.00 – I buy mine on Skincare Store and there is constantly some sort of 20/25/30% off sale.

St Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub

Now I’ve tried St Ives before, knowing it has a bit of a cult status around the world for it’s wallet-friendly skincare products. They’ve never done anything for me, so I gave up on them. Last year, I travelled to the Middle East, and someone I met on my trip bought this scrub, and it came in a BOGOF pack – St. Ives managed to weasel its way back into my life. Due to the desert conditions, I was hesitant to use the ASAP scrub too much, as I was really over-exposed to the sun. This scrub has now become a staple part of my routine – I usually use it around 2 times a week, on the days I’m not using the ASAP scrub. It smells delicious, and has a really nice almost mud mask-like texture – and y’all know how I love a good mask. It’s cheap as chips, and can be easily sourced – Priceline, Woolworths, Coles, Big W, etc.
Does it help with breakouts? Not as much as the ASAP, but it’s a great scrub to get your skin feeling squeaky clean mid-week, with minimal effort. I do find the granules get in my eyes, but I think this is more a reflection of my scrubbing technique. I’m actually not sure if the same product is available in Australia, but I have repurchased an Ageless Skin Apricot Scrub – perhaps I’ll be raving about that next time?
RRP: $9.99 – also constantly available on sale.

Dermalogica daily microfoliant

Now, this is a very recent addition to my routine. I think of it more as a polisher than a deep cleaning scrub. I’ve been using it as part of my morning routine, about 2-3 times per week. It’s great for something different for my skin, and has a very unique application technique. It comes in a powder format, you put about a tablespoon of powder into wet hands and then lather it up to make it into a scrub. Feels gentle on the skin, and isn’t messy at all. It’s a rice-powder based product, and I was knocked for six when I smelt it once lathered up – revolting. I just cannot get over the smell – it is so bad. It’s nice to know that products aren’t loaded up with perfumes, but c’mon Dermalogica, at least make it smell medicinal! It does feel nice on the skin, and makes my skin look fresh and awake once used, but the smell is definitely worth considering before you add this to your routine.
RRP: $71.00 – I bought it for $58.65 on Adorebeauty (side note: ordered Tuesday 8pm, it was on my doorstep Thursday 8am!).

Which one do I recommend? If you are in the market for a serious scrub, and glycolic acid doesn’t scare you, go for the ASAP Daily Exfoliating Facial Scrub. It can definitely be used as a daily scrub – I just personally found that my skin responded really well when I gave it a break between uses. It’s not ridiculously expensive, the packaging is a great design and it has really helped control my breakouts and oil levels.

How can you get it? Plenty of Australian beauty salons stock ASAP, otherwise I am a diehard Skincare Store customer.

Who knew oil would clean so well?

Dermalogica is a much loved brand of my skincare loving friends. Back in my money-poor, time-rich days of university, essentially all my local-living girlfriends and I went to the same skincare salon. Of course, being money-poor and time-rich, meant that I looked at products regularly, but rarely purchased. Dermalogica was one of their much-loved range of products, but I never got the fuss. Why would I pay $50 for a facial wash that removes my makeup, when I can buy one at Coles for $9?

Fast forward a few years, and now I’m slightly more money-rich, and increasingly time-poor, which hasn’t impacted how much I browse products. My beauty therapist left that salon, I was lost for a while, and then she was found. Like a line of ants heading towards a picnic basket, a number of my friends and I returned to her. And she was still lovin’ Dermalogica. One of the greatest things I managed to add to my skincare routine after entering gainful employment, were regular facials. I did also increase my spending habits, especially for products I was placing against my skinSomething that came up during a facial once was the Dermalogica PreCleanse.

Image

OK, I GET IT NOW. I get why people are crazy lovers of Dermalogica. This one product changed my view of the entire brand. The packaging is nothing, it matches the uniform look of all Dermalogica products, but oh dear, the product inside is amazing. Essentially, it is an oil that you apply to dry skin, massage into the skin, and it removes all your day’s muck. Now, I’ve been dying to review this product because I love it so much. And this is why – it really does get off all of your makeup. Rub longer, and more and more comes off.  And it feels so good! It has this amazing medicinal smell, nothing overly fragrant or fake. Once you’ve removed all that you have the patience for, add water, it becomes a milky liquid and it washes off. No residue, no oily remains. To be honest, my $9 cleanser was getting most of my face makeup off, what tips this over the edge is that it gets all my eye makeup off! So when I move onto an actual cleanser to clean my face, it isn’t still working off the makeup.

Now, before I officially put in all my review information, I want you to know there is no short-cut to this product. I got a clever idea one day, that since it’s basically just an oil (I was terrible at chemistry – in hindsight I realise that how can it just be an oil when it becomes milky when mixed with water?), why don’t I get some other oil and try to see if it works the same magic, at a fraction of the cost?

It does not.

I decided to use an after-wax oil (because I’m not stupid, I’m going to use an oil I got from a skincare salon, not olive oil) – OH DEAR. Needless to say, I came to appreciate the step that Dermalogica lovingly refers to as “milky emulsion”. I ended up using a plethora of products to get the oil off my face, and then additional products to get my makeup off, and then increased my prayers that my skin wouldn’t explode overnight from that hideous oil. So… do not use an alternative oil-like product. And definitely not oil.

Would I buy it again? I’m already on my second bottle, I love this stuff. I started using the product about 18 months ago, so you get plenty out of it.
Who would I recommend it to? Anyone who isn’t interested in using multiple products to remove makeup; anyone sick of using their cleanser multiple times to remove makeup, and then actually clean; anyone who loves medicinal-smelling products, like me.
Is it value for money? Yes. And I can finally be a pretentious Dermalogica lover.
How can you get it? Any salon that stocks Dermalogica. RRP $51.00. I never buy RRP for anything, so I’m buying mine online at http://www.skincarestore.com.au, they regularly do 20/25/30% off products.

The only real con (beside the con that this product convinced me to apply oil to my face) is that you have to be careful to have dry skin when applying this – and careless me, I often get into the shower, wet hands, and then realise that I’m doomed and cannot use PreCleanse at that time.