Great Products to Prepare Your Skin for Summer

With spring (and therefore summer) right around the corner, it’s time to get serious about preparing your skin for the warmer months so you can step out from under all the layers into your fresh summer wardrobe with confidence.

Winter, even here in Durban, can be a harsh time for your skin. My skin tends to be a little on the dry side so I need to pay attention to moisture during the winter months however, keeping one’s skin in great shape is more than just applying moisturiser. Exfoliation plays an important role in maintaining skin health and in achieving the maximum benefit from the moisture we apply (or should be applying) on a regular basis.

If you are putting a plan together for your wedding day, you can use these tips and products to ensure that you look and feel like a princess on your special day.

Let’s Start With Exfoliation

Starting with a good exfoliation to slough off dead skin cells is one of the quickest ways to see tangible results quickly and it’s not about using the most expensive products either. I have a a couple of products that I have on rotation, one of which is homemade, to ensure that I cover all my bases.

For my face and certain parts of my body I use Lamelle’s Cathepzyme. The enzymatic action of Cathepzyme is key to ensuring that any hyper-keratinazation doesn’t cause any blockages in the hair follicles. I also use a Lamelle enzymatic alpha hydroxy peel on my face regularly for a deeper exfoliation and to ensure that skin texture remains in tip top shape.

Lamelle-Cathepzyme-home-exfoliation-1-and-2

Lamelle Cathepzyme 1 & 2, the best facial exfoliator I have come across to date.

 

Even though I use an enzymatic exfoliator, I will never be able to say no to a good old salt scrub and on days when I feel like I need a little extra skin smoothing, I have in the past turned to Ocean Salt Scrub from Lush which contains limes steeped in vodka, grapefruit and lashings of salt.
This scrub is great for the body and smells really good too. I recommend jumping into the shower, wetting the skin and then turning the water off, before gently scrubbing small handfuls of salt scrub onto the skin and always in the direction of the heart, which helps with lymph and blood flow. If you have a problem area like the back of the arms, elbows or knees, then you can use the scrub on dry skin. Remember that gently does it!

Lush Ocean Salt Scrub - great for body, but not advocated for use on the face.

Lush Ocean Salt Scrub – great for body, but not advocated for use on the face.

My only complaint, and it’s not really a complaint, is that Lush is not a cheap product–it is hand crafted after all–so to use this scrub regularly is not particularly cost effective.
If you’re after a more natural type of scrub, you can make your own with coconut oil, kosher salt and a few drops of your favourite essential oil. Coconut oil is a moisturiser which makes a great base for a salt scrub.The benefits of coconut oil are well documented. You can do heaps of research online or strike up a conversation with an informed health store owner.

Elim's soap free shimmer body polish - great, except for the micro-plastics contained therein

Elim’s soap free shimmer body polish – great, except for the micro-plastics contained therein

Another great product I came across is Elim Exfoliating Body Polish, a soap free nutrient-rich exfoliating polish infused with sparkle dust. The sparkle dust is a novelty, yes but it imparts a very subtle shimmer to the skin which is quite stunning, especially in summer. After the very first use the difference on my skin was significant, baby soft and incredibly smooth and hydrated. I was wowed right from the beginning.
My only criticism of this product is that one of the ingredients are poly-propylene wax beads, great for minimising damage to the epidermis because there are no sharp edges but, if you don’t already know, are causing significant and alarming damage to our marine ecology at plankton level.
I spoke to Elim’s CEO, Shantelle Booysen about these concerns and received a refreshingly honest and open email in return, where she stated that they are currently looking into a replacement for the plastic due to all micro plastics being banned in California–with more states in the U.S. sure to follow suit–and they would like to get back into that market and provide an eco-friendly solution that is marine conscious. I applaud this and would love to check out their new products when they become available.

Some facial scrub advice: I strongly recommend that one does not use an abrasive scrub of any kind on the delicate skin of the face. Arms legs and the skin of the knees and elbows can take a good scrubbing but in general, people scrub too vigorously to use an abrasive on the face and risk micro-lesions in the epidermis which can open up channels for bacteria. This was one of the principle reasons micro plastics were introduced into face washes and exfoliators, which has become a marine pollution nightmare. I would recommend using an enzymatic exfoliator instead.

Moving On To Moisture

After a good exfoliation, it is vital to ensure you moisturise well. Here are some of my absolute favourites.

Dermalogica Body Hydrating cream is light yet nourishing and suitable for all skin types

Dermalogica Body Hydrating cream is light yet nourishing and suitable for all skin types

Dermalogica’s Body Hydrating cream has Lactic Acids and natural hydroxy acid extracts from sugar cane (glycolic acid) and apples (mandelic acid) to relieve skin dryness and smooth the skin, bolstering the effects of your recent exfoliation treatment. Lavender, Patchouli and Orange essential oils combine with Green Tea to soften and soothe, it smells great–in a non-perfumed kind of way–and is non-greasy which I really appreciate.

Lush gets it right with their gorgeous hand and body lotion

Lush gets it right with their gorgeous hand and body lotion

One of my all time favourite body lotions has to be Lush’s Sympathy for the Skin. With banana, vanilla, lemon and sandalwood this lotion is spectacular for hydrating and nourishing the skin, plus it’s vegan. This body lotion is not heavily scented so won’t clash violently with your perfume but does impart the most delicious scent and leave the skin feeling pampered.

Great, easily absorbed, light moisturising body oil.

Great, easily absorbed, light moisturising body oil.

If you are looking for an oil, Palmer’s Moisturising Body Oil is light, very easily absorbed into the skin and does not feel greasy. This oil seals moisture into the skin and I use this directly after I step out of the shower, after drying excess water from the skin surface.

If you have skin preparations that you absolutely love, let me know in the comments section so I can give them a try!

 

Get Your Halo On

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It’s product review time and in today’s post I will be talking about the wonder of Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder. If, like me, you are not a fan of liquid or cake makeup then this product may just about change your life!

As you can see in the picture, the foundation is in powder form and one of the massive pros of this product is the ability to turn the top of the compact and loosen only the required amount of powder. Sure you can do this with tubes and pump bottles but this compact has a higher cool factor.

Fancy packaging aside, I am well impressed with this foundation. I use it successfully for both day and glamorous night applications.
During the day after my moisturiser and sunblock, I apply some BB cream to areas that need a little extra coverage and then I apply a light covering of Halo powder all over the face with a large powder brush. You can use a kabuki brush if you need more coverage. There is no heavily made up or cakey look to my skin, which maintains a healthy glow and is precisely what I am after; especially in the humid summer we are about to hit in Durban.

The only products I add if I am going for a more glamorous night application are a primer and an under eye concealer.
Primer as we have discussed previously, is an essential tool that you need to have in your makeup arsenal and using it over a BB cream makes the halo powder glide onto the skin and gives a near flawless appearance.*
*This of course depends on the condition of your blank canvas.

For night I use a bronzer to contour my face, adding back some dimension that can be lost under a heavier makeup application and artificial lighting.

I am so impressed with Halo powder that it’s now a permanent fixture in my makeup bag. The cost of the product (ZAR625 at Woolworths) is tempered by how long it lasts. I am more than 6 months into my compact without any signs of it coming to an end. I am told you can expect it to last in the region of between 8 to 12 months, of course depending on how much you use. If you need more coverage I would suggest using Halo powder in conjunction with a foundation or it will prove to be rather costly to keep using.

I give this product a 10/10, it wears very well, lasts more than 6 months, is easy to work with, gives the skin a gorgeous finish and primer makes this product truly glorious.

To Prime or not to Prime… That is the question

Smashbox, MAC & L'Oreal Primers

Smashbox, MAC & L’Oreal Primers

I received a question from a reader wanting to know if it really is a necessary item in a make up kit, which ones are good ones, when and where you use it and most importantly, why use it at all. All very good questions. Let me start by saying that primers do for your foundation what lingerie does for your clothing. If you need a little extra help smoothing out wrinkles around your eyes and mouth or disguising pores on your nose and cheeks, primer is what you need.  Some contain light reflective ingredients to give your skin the J-Lo glow. (Some of us may not like her but we have to admit, she has really great skin!) Others contain ingredients to help even out your sallow or ruddy (reddish) complexion. Others still contain vitamins and other ingredients to lighten, brighten and perfect. Some deliver on their promises, a lot don’t. Whilst moisturiser is important crucial prior to foundation application, primers can be saved for special occasions or when you need your makeup to work a little harder. In general, I favour mineral primers because they leave out more of the ingredients that can irritate sensitive skins and oil which can aggravate acne prone skins. Mineral makeup usually contains ingredients like mica and silica instead of talc and oil. They are hard to come by in South Africa though and attract a very different price tag. One primer can be applied all over your face, including your eyes. Let’s remember that the molecules used in primer are designed to sit on top of the epidermis, not to penetrate it so you don’t need to buy a primer for your eyes, lips and face. Use one for all areas, cutting down on costs and time of application. My favourite primers include Smashbox’s Photo Finish Foundation Primer. It is iconic for a reason. Smashbox has gone a step further and created a range of primers for different things including hydration, luminescence, sallow skins and redness to name a few, ensuring that everyone is able to find the primer they need. Another favourite is MAC’s Prep & Prime Skin which targets oil, redness and soothes all in one product and creates a near flawless canvas for the application of foundation. Truly a magnificent tool to have in your makeup kit! Another favourite is L’Oréal’s Lumi Magique which provides a luscious dewy glow if applied all over the skin but it can also be applied to the forehead, cheeks and the bridge of the nose for subtle yet noticeable luminescence. One of the primers I purchased and tried out recently was Stila’s One Step Correct. It looks great with the triple helix swirl but it didn’t deliver on it’s radiance or redness reducing promises and I found the texture thin and unimpressive which was disappointing because while Stila have some amazing products in their range, this is not one of them. At the end of the day you really need to decide what you like and how it suits your pocket but my advice is a resounding ‘Yes!’ to the question of using primer, especially when you know you’ll be in front of a camera lense! Please continue to send in your questions! Thank you for reading!