The Best Kind Of Skincare

Sunday May 18, 2014 | Skin Care

The best kind of skincare is the simplest kind of skincare. I know that.

But somehow, in preparation for THE big day, I’ve allowed my skincare routine to go all topsy turvey.

I fell into the trap of quickly switching from one product to another, hoping to find that one miraculous product that will give me perfect airbrushed glowy skin you find in stock photos. (Hint: never gonna happen.)

And you know what happened? My skin got really mad.

A Skincare Routine In Disarray

An array of skincare products

Two weeks ago, my skin broke out into angry giant cystic pimples and it felt raw and it looked dry and flaky. The exact opposite of what I wanted it to look like!

A retinol serum did that. Obviously the concentration was too much for my skin to handle. So I stopped using that ish right away.

When your skin hates a product, there is only one thing to do. Cold turkey STOP using that product.

Don’t keep going at it with ideas like, “Oh, my skin will get used to it.” or “It’s just making the bad things come up to the surface.”

Listen to your skin. It’s begging you to stop!

It took about two weeks but my skin is finally back to normal again.

Phew…

Two more weeks to go!

My Truest True Love: Rose Floral Water

Sunday May 4, 2014 | Beauty Skin Care

Simplicity In Skincare

Aroma Zone Rose Hydrolate

Nothing embodies simplicity and beauty in skincare like a pure rose floral water.

Floral water, more generally known as hydrosol, is the condensate water left over after extracting the essential oils from flowers and plants through the process of steam distillation.

The water retains the aromatic essences of the plant plus many of the hydrophilic parts of the plant that are not captured in the extraction of the essential oil.

Hydrosols carry the scent of the plant, though the fragrance is much softer and more rounded. As such, it is wonderful for aromatherapy.

It is often the first thing you will find in the ingredients list of many natural cosmetic products, though it may go under the name of essential water or water distillate.

There is a whole universe of floral and herbal waters to discover, each with their own unique properties.

But above all, my favorite is Rose Floral Water.

A Rose Is A Rose

A rose is a rose

It’s almost a cliché how much roses have come to symbolize beauty and romance.

But there is something in all of us that knows beauty when we see it.

What may not be so obvious is the many ways roses can be used.

For example, rose water can be used in cooking. Many North African recipes call for rose water. I’m thinking especially of those small rose-flavored Algerian nougats. Mmm

When it comes to skincare, rose floral water has many beautifying properties.

It has a toning, hydrating and nourishing effect on the skin.

It can soothe inflamed skin and calm allergic reactions. Because of this, rose water can be a real godsend for people with sensitive skin.

Before applying moisturizer, your skin should be slightly damp in order to enhance absorption and seal moisture. And rose water is perfect for this.

For hot days, after exposing your skin to the sun, you can take a chilled bottle of rose water and spritz it on your face. Seriously, you must try this! The sensation is incredibly refreshing and rejuvenating.

In aromatherapy, the soothing scent can help relieve anxiety. In fact, the main reason why I love rose floral water is because it smells so divine.

Of course, not all floral waters are created equal. So when looking for rose water, I recommend you look for ones that are labeled as “pure hydrosol” or “pure hydrolate.”

Many products labeled as “floral waters” may be nothing but regular water mixed with essential oils. But true hydrolates are obtained through the process of steam distillation which I described above. 

A True Hydrolate

Aroma Zone Rose Hydrolate
One of the purest rose floral waters I’ve ever come across is the Damascus Rose Pure Hydrolate by Aroma Zone.

The scent is amazingly natural. You can’t mistake it for anything else. It’s rose! In all its glorious watery essence.

The brand, Aroma Zone, is not really a brand but a specialty shop in Paris. They sell the most basic natural ingredients & equipment with which you can make your own beauty products.

Normally, it doesn’t take long for a hydrolate to lose its aromatic properties. But the quality of the roses used in this bottle (grown and picked by organic, fair trade farmers in Morocco) and the technique involved in the distilling process must have been rather superior, because it has managed to maintain its aromatic essences for months.

Also, keeping hydrolates in the fridge helps to preserve them for much longer.

Nowadays, with the proliferation of so many super complex skincare products that boast of the most cutting edge technology and the rarest plant from the remotest corners of the world…

Sometimes it’s just nice to go back to basics…

Rose floral water. Ingredient: Rose.

Much Ado About Weddings

Monday April 28, 2014 | Culture Musings

If you are planning a small and simple wedding, here’s what you need to know…

Everyone will try to make it into something more complicated!

Wedding pointer

There is truly no point trying to make others happy and fit their mold of how your wedding ought to be.

It’s your wedding. If you stick to your guns, you can make your wedding as simple as you would like it to be.

For my wedding, (which is literally happening in a month–AAaaah!) all I want is:  Beach. Family. Friends… and lots of food!

Yet the simplicity of this idea was at first difficult to get across to our families. I even tried referring to the damn thing as a “beach party.”

But family members balked at this. They protested that we were making too light of a matter that is actually very serious.

Uhm…

Beach wedding archway

Another point of deviation: I did not get an engagement ring.

As I confessed in my previous post, sure! I wouldn’t mind one. I am a girl after all. A silly girl who can still be suckered into hankering after shiny, expensive things even though I am highly educated and progressive and know that engagements rings are a scam.

But ultimately, I would rather save that money for things that have REAL value. Like traveling!

Still, I am amused how whenever I tell people I’m engaged, their eyes will unfailingly trail down to my left hand.

Try it sometime. Tell people you’re engaged. Then watch how their eyes quickly dart over to your left hand in search of the bling.

Who trained us to be like this??

8

Not that I have anything against people who follow conventions.

Having a wedding is, by itself, inherently conventional. I just wonder what people used to do for weddings before it became this highly commercialized and contrived affair.

Eventually, we managed (I think) to get the idea across to our family and friends that ours is going to be a very simple and low-key affair.

The idea is… show up at the beach and you’ll probably get fed!

Wedding Cake

Behind the scenes, we’ve been slowly and steadily organizing this wedding over the months.

Details are coming along quite smoothly. Check-lists are being checked. Little fuss has been made. And you know what? It’s been very satisfying to get things done on our own.

How have we been managing to keep our wedding so simple and minimal?

We are keeping a small guest list. Less than 40 people. Of course we are making a little room for wedding ‘crashers,’ so we are counting on 45 to show up at the most.

One thing that has helped has been the use of Pinterest.

You may laugh. Yes, I used to laugh at girls who I thought were just sublimating their fantasies and frustrations on Pinterest. But now I know better. Pinterest can be useful for mapping out your ideas visually.

Just keep in mind that it’s a tool. And stay away from falling into the envious, hate-your-life-it’s-not-as-good-as-Pinterest trap.

Wedding Dress Detail

Dear readers, now you know!

This whole DIY wedding planning thing has been what’s keeping me so occupied these days.

That… and starting a new job!! One that I freaking love!!!

I’ve been staying happy, healthy and busy! And I hope you have too.

I will write more soon. Pinky promise :)

 

 

** Images taken from Pinterest. Obviously.