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Friday, October 28, 2011

DIY: Pumpkin facial mask

October 28, 2011 0 Comments
Hello everyone!

Did you know that pumpkins are not just used for jack-o-lanterns and Thanksgiving pies?
Pumpkin makes an excellent facial mask ingredient, for all skin types; it’s incredibly rich in vital antioxidants and vitamins.  Pumpkin is high in vitamin A, vitamin C and Zinc.

pumpkins on hay

So, here is a simple recipe for a nourishing, pumpkin facial mask:

  •  ¼ cup of cooked or canned pumpkin 
  •   ½  teaspoons honey (moisturises the skin and provides antiseptic properties)
  •   ¼  teaspoons milk (moisturises and exfoliates)

  • For very dry skin: Add ¼ teaspoon heavy whipping cream (moisturises and exfoliates).
  • For oily skin: Add a ¼ teaspoon of apple cider (astringent and regulates pH) or cranberry juice (high in antioxidants).

  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and use a hand blender to get the right consistency (purée)
  • Apply liberally to face and neck
  •  Leave for 15 – 20 minutes
  •  Rinse off with warm water
  •  Apply moisturiser

This pumpkin mask will gently exfoliate, nourish and moisturise your skin.


I suggest using a headband to keep your hair off your face while using a facial mask.

Happy Halloween!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

DIY: Avocado hair mask

October 26, 2011 0 Comments
Hello everyone!

Have you ever tried making your own hair masks?  Hair masks help you to nourish and improve the condition of your hair.

One of the most effective hair masks is the avocado mask.  Avocados contain minerals, vitamins and fatty acids that can add shine to your hair.  Of course, you can buy avocado hair masks, but making your own is very easy and inexpensive.  Besides, homemade masks do not include any chemicals and harmful ingredients.  An avocado mask works as a natural deep conditioner and can help restore shine to dry and damaged hair.
This is a simple version of a DIY avocado hair mask with few, yet very effective ingredients.  It’s very quick and easy to prepare.


  • 1 ripe avocado (½ for short hair)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons pure coconut/almond/olive oil (whichever you prefer)

avocado in  plate

  • Peel the avocado and remove the pit.        
  • Mash the avocado and make sure it’s free of big chunks.
  • Mix the coconut/almond/olive oil and raw honey with the avocado.
  • Blend the mixture until it turns creamy.
  • Apply the mixture from roots to tips onto clean, towel-dried hair.  
  • Let the avocado hair mask sit in your hair for 30 minutes.  If you suffer from a dry, flaky scalp, massage the mixture into your scalp.
  • Rinse the mixture out with warm water.
  • Shampoo and condition as usual.

Use this mask twice a month to maintain soft, shiny and healthy hair.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day cream and night cream: What’s the difference?

October 25, 2011 1 Comments
Hello everyone!

A lot of people use facial creams every morning and night, to maintain healthy skin.  Very often people use a different facial cream for the daytime and for nighttime, these creams are commonly referred to as day creams and night creams.

One of the main differences between day creams and night creams is that most day creams contain SPF to protect the skin from UV rays, whereas night creams don’t have such ingredients.  There would be no point in applying a cream containing SPF at night.

face cream in a jar

On the one hand, day cream has active ingredients that protect and replenish the skin throughout the day; while on the other hand, night cream revitalises and restores the skin.  Night creams contain more nutrients and vitamins than day creams; this is because the body absorbs more during the night.

Night creams usually contain more emollient, hydrating and moisturising ingredients.  These formulations work fine at night, but they may appear greasy if applied during the day.  Day creams have a lighter consistency and this helps the pores breathe properly.  Besides protecting the skin from UV rays, day creams also protect the skin from other environmental factors, namely; pollution, cold, heat and wind.

If you want just one cream that can be used both day and night, then opt for a non-SPF lightweight moisturising cream that can be applied with sunscreen during the day and without at night.

Do you use one facial cream or two (day cream and night cream)?


Friday, October 21, 2011

Haircare products may cause acne!

October 21, 2011 1 Comments
Hello everyone!
Did you know that not only skincare products but also hair care products, can cause acne (acne cosmetica)?  If you breakout primarily around your hairline and/or forehead, your hair care products could be the cause.  That’s because, greasy or irritating ingredients in sprays, gels, mousses and waxes can clog pores.

hair gel
hair gel
Furthermore, your shampoo and conditioner may also cause acne around the hairline and/or forehead.  As I previously told you in Choosing facial cleansers, most shampoos contain Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.  The percentage varies in different shampoos, but these chemicals are highly comedogenic and are known to cause breakouts in some people.  Besides, silicones like Dimethicone are also comedogenic ingredients commonly found in hair care products, particularly conditioners.  (Read Silicone-based hair care products if you want to know more.

shampoo bottles
shampoo and conditioner
So, if you tend to breakout around the hairline and forehead area; shampoo and condition your hair, rinse carefully (with cold water) and always wash your face afterwards.  You should also use as little product as necessary to get the job done.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Silicone-based hair care products

October 20, 2011 3 Comments
Silicone in hair care products? 

Silicone can be found in a great number of shampoos, conditioners, and other hair care products.  Silicone covers the hair with a thin water-proof layer (does not penetrate the hair).  Thus, the hair absorbs less humidity, helps lock in moisture, and it makes your hair look smooth and less frizzy.  So, should you use silicone-based hair care products?  Keep reading to find out the advantages and disadvantages of silicone.


It makes your hair look really good, for a while (read the disadvantages). Silicone adds shine and softness and also reduces fizz.

hair shampoo and conditoner bottles


Silicone does not penetrate the hair (its molecules are too large to be absorbed into the hair shaft).  If you use hair treatment and masks and do not see the results, this is probably why.  Silicone is not water-soluble and you can’t wash it out with regular shampoo.  Ultimately, product build-up will make your hair look dull, flat and dirty.  So, if you use silicone-based products, use a clarifying shampoo once a week!

In most cases, any chemical that ends in _cone or _one is silicone.  However, not all silicones are the same.  Some are heavier than others.  Dimethicone is the heaviest of all silicones used in hair care products.               

Personally, I do not use silicone in my hair anymore.  Silicone used to weigh down my hair and make it look dull and flat.  Now my hair looks so much different; it’s wavy and has a lot of volume!

Still, I can’t say that all silicones are bad.  Some people will find silicones too heavy for their hair, while others will love the way it makes their hair look and feel.  You have to try different products to find out what’s best for your hair.   

So tell me, do you use any silicone-based hair care products?  If so, I want to know about your experiences.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

An Aboriginal skin care secret! - Emu oil

October 18, 2011 0 Comments
I am always on the lookout for new skin care products, especially all natural ones.  A couple of years ago I tried 100% pure Australian emu oil for the first time. 

So what exactly is emu oil?

Emu oil is made from the fat of the second largest bird in the world, Dromaius novaehollandiae, known as the Australian emu (the ostrich is taller!).


This is the product information of the 100% pure emu oil I use:

Australian Aboriginals have long used the oil of the Emu for its anti-inflammatory and rejuvenating powers.  …may help reduce the symptoms of joint inflammation associated with arthritis and provide symptomatic relief of rheumatism. …may also provide relief of muscular aches and pains, PMS, effects of psoriasis on the skin and symptoms of eczema. In addition, application may also aid recovery to damaged skin including burns, blisters, scars, cuts, abrasions, cradle cap, sunburn and nappy rash.  Pure Emu Oil may also be taken internally.
Emu oil is well-known as being able to deeply penetrate all layers of the skin providing nutrients like essential fatty acids Omega-3 & Omega-6.  Emu oil is an anti-inflammatory which is great for acne and will not clog pores (non-comedogenic).  Emu oil helps to thicken and replenish skin to reduce wrinkles and signs of aging.
How to use:

Rub a small amount of pure emu oil directly on your face, this will deeply moisturise the skin, help to fight bacteria and bring down any the swelling and/or redness. 

Use at night.  Emu oil has a distinctive smell and leaves the skin looking greasy!

Emu oil has soothing, restorative and nourishing propertiesWhen I use pure emu oil at night, the next morning I wake up with incredibly smooth, even skin. 

You can find a wide range of products with emu oil as an active ingredient, including; facial soaps and cleansers, moisturisers, shampoos and rubs.

You should try this all natural product, especially if you have acne prone skin, or very dry skin.  This is one of the few products that are beneficial to all skin types.  (However, vegans and animal activists probably won’t be comfortable using animal-based products, like emu oil.)


Friday, October 14, 2011

Removing and preventing ingrown hair

October 14, 2011 2 Comments

Ingrown hair is a condition where the hair curls back or grows sideways into the skin.  Ingrown hair can affect any part of the body, not just areas that are depilated or epilated in any way.  Usually, they are minor irritations that can be painful and can become infected if left untreated.

Tips to help you get rid of ingrown hair:

  •  Exfoliate the area.  This will help to remove any dead skin cells, dirt and oils that might be trapping the ingrown hair.  I suggest using an all-natural sugar scrub!
  • Apply a small amount of acne medication; ingrown hair is very similar to a blemish.
  • Apply a warm compress for a few minutes to soften the skin and bring the hair to the surface.
  • Use a sterile needle or tweezers to gently tease the hair out of the skin.  The warm compress should have brought the hair to the surface.  If it hasn't, do not try to remove the hair.
  •  Use a blackhead/comedone extractor.  The comedone extractor is very simple to use.  Just press the tool’s loop on the area around the ingrown hair and press down against the skin.
blackhead extractor and tweezers

  • Wash the area and apply an antiseptic to provide protection against infection.   

Normally, an ingrown hair corrects itself in its own time.  Try to prevent ingrown hair; by shaving with proper shaving gel/cream, shave with the grain of the hair, use aftershave cream that prevents ingrown hair and exfoliate regularly.  You should also avoid wearing tight clothing on the affected area.

If these methods do not work, consider consulting a dermatologist for advice.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Make your own tinted moisturiser

October 11, 2011 0 Comments
What is a tinted moisturiser?

A tinted moisturiser is a moisturiser with a hint of colour that can be used in place of foundation for a natural appearance. 

Advantages of tinted moisturiser:

Undoubtedly, there are some great tinted moisturisers on the market but, maybe you don’t want to spend extra money on a product you won’t use as much.  In that case, it's so easy to make your own with liquid/mineral foundation and moisturiser.  Besides, when making your own tinted moisturiser, you can determine the level of coverage you want/need.
Tinted moisturisers give you just a hint of colour that you need to look and feel pulled together without the fuss of a full make-up application.  They are perfect for younger girls who are just starting to wear make-up.  Foundation can be too heavy and make young girls look older.
It’s also a great choice for ageing skin; the added moisture helps to de-emphasise the appearance of wrinkles.  You can read more about make-up tips for ageing skin, in this earlier blog post: Does your make-up make you look older?

How to:
It's really easy to make your own tinted moisturiser.  Just mix your favourite foundation and moisturiser together and apply to the skin.

Mix a small amount of the two products together until they are completely blended.  For a lighter coverage, use more moisturiser and vice versa.  Apply all over your face and just under the chin.  You can apply with your fingers, just like you would apply a regular moisturiser.  Finish with some translucent loose powder to eliminate shine.

So tell me, do you prefer a full coverage foundation or a light tinted moisturiser?

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Sugaring vs. Waxing

October 09, 2011 2 Comments
Sugaring vs. Waxing: Aren't they the same thing?  Both are hair epilating methods.  But when it comes to the pain aspect, the two methods are very different.  Sugaring is also a cheaper, homemade alternative.

sugaring mixture in a gar

The sugaring paste is made up of all-natural ingredients like sugar, lemon juice, water and sometimes essential oils.  Most waxes are made mainly of resins and contain artificial fragrances, dyes, chemicals, and preservatives.  Even though you can be allergic to any given ingredient, natural or not, it’s more common for people to be allergic to artificial fragrances and ingredients.

Sugaring paste is water-soluble; therefore you can simply wash it off with water.

Sugaring will only take away dead skin cells, unlike waxing which also removes live skin cells.  This means that you don’t have to worry about the sugar accidentally removing skin!

teaspoon of sugar

There are various sugaring recipes; I am going to give you a basic version, one I used myself.

  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice/apple cider vinegar (whichever you prefer)
  • ¼ cup water

lemon cut in half

You will need; a saucepan, an air-tight glass jar and a candy thermometer (optional).


Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and heat on low.  Heat the mixture to a hardball candy stage.  The hardball stage refers to cooking candy to a certain temperature, usually between 250 oF and 265 oF (or 121.11 oC - 129.44 oC). You can use a candy thermometer to determine when you've reached this stage. This should happen after about 25 minutes of simmering; the sugar mixture result should be a dark amber colour. Remove it from the heat and let it cool for about ten minutes before placing it in an air-tight glass container. Be careful it's hot.

Once the product has cooled, you are ready for hair removal. 

How to use:

Wax is applied warm but sometimes overheated causing a skin burn. Sugar paste is used either lukewarm or at room temperature, so there’s no chance of burning the skin. Some people heat the mixture and remove it with a cloth strip, just like you would use hot wax. However, I suggest using the sugaring mixture at room temperature.

Dip your fingers into the container of sugaring paste and take out a small amount (roughly the size of a quarter). Flatten the paste in your hands until it feels slightly warm. Apply it to the area you wish to epilate. Smooth it along the area until it is approximately ¼ inch thick. You don’t need to use any cloth strips for this method. 

As you probably know, wax is applied with the direction of hair growth, but removed against the grain of hair growth. However, with sugaring, the past is applied against the grain of hair growth and then removed in the same direction of the growth, putting less strain on the skin. This means less pain.


  • Take a bath/shower beforehand and use a body scrub, this will prepare the skin for epilation.
  • Make sure the hairs are about ¼ inch long; you won’t be able to remove hair if it’s too short.
  • If you don’t use up all the mixture the first time, you can keep it refrigerated and warm-up/thaw when you want to re-use.
  • Sugaring can be done on all body parts. 
  • Sugaring is much gentler to the skin than waxing. I suggest you give it a try if you haven’t already.



Saturday, October 08, 2011

Re-grow over-plucked eyebrows! (part 1)

October 08, 2011 2 Comments
Hello everyone!

I have to admit, I’m kind of obsessed with eyebrows.  And I mean eyebrows in general, not just my own.  Some things I notice right away are over-waxed brows, over-tweezed brows, drawn-on brows and unibrows.  Just like a great hairstyle, the right eyebrow shape can and will make a remarkable difference in the way you look.

Eyebrow shaping can be done in various ways.  The most popular methods are tweezing, waxing and threading.  I do not suggest waxing your eyebrows (unless you have a unibrow).  With tweezing and threading, you have great control, and can accurately choose the hairs you're removing. Plucking is the most popular method of eyebrow shaping since it is easy to do and doesn't require anybody’s assistance.

eye closeup

So, what can you do if you over-plucked your eyebrows?

Ideally, you should wait for all of the hair to grow back before you begin plucking.  Leave stray hairs alone to prevent over-plucking again.  But the truth is that doing this would make you look messy and un-groomed!  
Instead, I suggest using a white eyeliner or concealer on the hair that you don’t want to remove when tweezing, so you don't end up plucking the hair you want to grow back.

thin eyebrows
Over-plucked eyebrow

Invert in a good quality pair of tweezers.  If your tweezers slide off or break the hair instead of pulling them out, or can't grab onto short hairs, you'll end up frustrated.  This is when you’re most likely to make a mistake and end up with over-plucked eyebrows!  Always tweeze one hair at a time.
Fill them in with an eyebrow pencil and/or powder while you wait.  Be very careful, if you use the wrong products or techniques your brows will look painted on, instead of natural.  Choose a colour that is close to your natural hair colour.  Gently pull the pencil away near the edges of your brow to prevent the dreaded painted on look.  Apply some eyebrow gel to keep everything in place.
Using a magnifying mirror (or standing too close to a mirror) is not the best way to get perspective on how your brows are looking, so you'll end up over-plucking.  Use a regular mirror and make sure you have good, natural light when tweezing.

I also recommend using this DIY eyebrow growth serum formulated for encouraging the growth of healthier, fuller-looking brows.

Always take your time and never pluck your eyebrows when you’re in a hurry!