Current Skincare Favorites

Thursday February 5, 2015 | Beauty Skin Care

My skin has been looking much better these days.

I think it’s majorly to do with giving up a certain vice that I’ve previously hinted at…

But it also helps that I have an amazing collection of skincare products at my disposal!

My Skin Type

I have a complicated skin type: Combination Normal/Dry Skin, Sensitive and Blemish-Prone.

Which is why I tend to go for products that are suited for combination skin and are gentle and made with clean, safe ingredients.

Let me show you some of my top favorites!

1

Makeup Remover: Bioderma Crealine Micellar Water

I’ve gone on and on about the magic of micellar waters and how Bioderma trumps all micellar waters in the cleansing game. So it’s no surprise that Bioderma become a staple in my beauty cabinet.

It cleanses gently and effectively without disturbing my skin’s natural balance.

This is also my cheat product for nights when I don’t feel like washing my face. Which, you know, doesn’t happen that often.

2

Cleanser: Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel

This was recommended to me by an esthetician for my acne-prone combination type skin.

I’ve been using this cleanser for over a year now and as a result, have had less breakouts in the problem areas of my face.

Dermalogica products are formulated to be non-irritating, which is a boon for my sensitive and reactive skin.

3

Toner: Sanoflore Lavender Floral Water

Floral waters are a great alternative to alcohol-based toners. Lavender naturally has anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties. Which means it cleanses while calming the skin.

The droplets of moisture preps your skin to better absorb moisturizer. Meaning it’s the perfect step between cleansing and moisturizing.

I usually switch back and forth between rose floral water (my true love) and lavender floral water.

For night time, the soothing scent of lavender is simply divine.

Take a few spritzes to your pillow too! Why not?

4

Moisturizer (night-time): Weleda Iris Hydrating Night Cream

There’s really no need to use a different cream for daytime and night-time.

But at night, I like to keep my room really cold (it helps me sleep better.) So I need something that will help my skin to retain moisture (cold air dries out skin).

This cream does just that. But it’s also light enough to let my skin breathe. I love the texture, formulation, and scent of this.

And my skin wakes up feeling soft, balanced, and happy!

7

Exfoliation: Dermae Exfoliating Mask With Fruit Enzymes and Dead Sea Salt

This is a clay mask that helps to purify skin while gently sloughing off dead skin cells.

I use this once a week and continue to marvel at how my skin looks so fresh and radiant afterwards.

This one’s gone under the radar amidst all the hyped and over priced exfoliating products out there.

5

Serum: Ren Keep Young And Beautiful Serum

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve re-purchased this serum. Holy crap it’s pricey! But my skin loves it.

It’s gentle and powerful all at the same time. The spotlight ingredients are hexapeptides, more peptides, hyaluronic acid and vitamin c.

I use this sparingly, usually after I’ve exfoliated so my skin is prepped to absorb it.

I love the light tea scent and how it’s gentle enough to use around my eyes.

6

Moisturizer (day-time): Juice Beauty SPF 30 Oil-Free Moisturizer

Some people would probably call this a BB-cream because of its multi-tasking properties. It moisturizes, protects against the sun and works to heal the skin from blemishes.

I’ve noticed that my blemishes have been healing at a much faster rate since I’ve started using this.

Big thumbs up for its clean and safe natural ingredients!

***

While it may look like I use a complicated array of different skincare products, I maintain simplicity because I keep things consistent.

I’ve been using many of the same products for over a year now and I’ve been following the same routine.

And here I will end by re-affirming that simplicity and consistency is an important aspect of skincare!

Try This On Yo’ Face! Tanaka Facial Massage

Monday January 12, 2015 | Beauty Skin Care Wellness

Here is a beauty practice that doesn’t require spending any money.

Facial massage is an ancient technique that has a rational basis behind its application.

Adding facial massage to your daily beauty routine can help with the following:

- Drain lymphatic fluids
- Improve circulation
- Tone facial muscles

Thus helping to reduce puffiness, lift the sagging of the jowls, and reduce the formation of wrinkles on your face!

yukoku

The Tanaka Technique

The method I use is the Tanaka facial massage, which was created by Japanese makeup artist Yukuku Tanaka.

You can learn the Tanaka technique by watching these videos:

Tanaka Face Massage – Part 1
Tanaka Face Massage – Part 2
Tanaka Face Massage – Part 3
Tanaka Face Massage – Part 4

Although there are many of the Tanaka massage videos floating around on YouTube, I wanted to give a shoutout of thanks to Stephanie of Epic Beauty Guide who took on the the task of translating the videos into English.

If you watch the videos, there are some things that you may notice:

  • The massage is done according to a very specific sequence
  • Getting the right amount of pressure is important, “between pain and comfort”
  • For the sake of symmetry, always do to one side exactly what you did to the other
  • Yukuku Tanaka looks like a stern-faced Michael Jackson

Why I Think It Works

The reason for following the sequence according to the instructions and applying the proper amount of pressure is in order to facilitate the drainage of lymphatic fluids from your face.

Look at this illustration of the human anatomy:

lymph

[Henry Gray (1825–1861).  Anatomy of the Human Body.  1918. Source.]

Isn’t it beautiful?!

Ok, it may not be the most up to date illustration of the lymphatic system. But you get the idea.

There are lymph nodes in front of your ears, behind your ears, around your mouth, under your jaw line and down along your neck.

The movements of the Tanaka massage follow a path that hits the superficial nodes (the ones close to the surface of the skin) and moves the fluid down towards your chest.

Now you should be aware that lymphatic massage is a method that was developed and is used for people with lymphatic issues. It hasn’t been scientifically studied for its anti-aging benefits.

But personally, I do the massages on a regular basis and I’ve noticed that my jowls, which were starting to sag a bit, look better.

Also, if you suffer from puffiness because of allergies and sinus issues (like me), the massage can certainly help to reduce puffiness.

tanaka

How Often To Do This

Although the massage can be done safely every day, I do this about three times a week.

Usually it’s while I’m performing my nighttime routing using a creamy cleanser (like the sweet Aloree cleansing milk) or when I’m applying my nighttime moisturizer.

If your skin responds well to natural oils, then I would recommend using sweet almond oil or coconut oil.

Some words of caution

It’s very important to follow the sequence as shown in the video. If you don’t do it properly, it can lead to facial sagging.

Always keep symmetry in mind.

Also, it’s important to apply the proper amount of pressure so you are massaging the muscles and not just tugging at the skin.

If you are concerned about pulling the skin around the eyes, try applying pressure with the pads of your fingers on the space between your eye and brow bone. It will have the same effect of draining fluids and reducing puffy eyes.

And one last thing: if your skin is prone to acne, you may want to slowly try out the massage.

If it’s leading to more breakouts, I would suggest stopping or reducing the amount of time that you perform the massage.

In Closing…

No matter your age, I hope you bring the practice of facial massage into your life.

It can be a very relaxing and pleasant addition to your nightly or morning routine :)

And do let us know how it works for you!

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.