Beauty Treatments To Heal Summer Skin Breakouts & Make Your Skin Glow

heal breakouts summer skin glow
Did you go hard with the partying, drinking, merriment over New Years? I didn't. But nonetheless, here I am in this ridiculous 30 degrees and upward heat of Melbourne, not idling in air conditioned office space but happily trundling off to Hot Yoga or walking instead of taking the tram.

All of this has an impact on the skin. Fortunately, much research has proven that at any age, exercise strengthens and fortifies the skin from the very deepest layer of the dermis to essentially create "young", naturally radiant skin. There is a catch though - not all exercise is beneficial. Just like healthy food is good for you, even too much of it is...too much. So, while short bursts of high intensity training are good, doing over 45 minutes of intensive training on regular occasions will deplete the skin and body. Especially if that training is outdoors in the elements.

Some people like to get a manicure as their luxury treat-to-self but I'm much more into having my face kneaded with delicious smelling things or having all the nasties sucked right out of it with high powered machines. If it's going to make my skin clear and glowy, bring it on! I've done the hard work for you and tried and tested stuff. Here's the essential treatments in Melbourne and skincare to know now.
natural beauty therapist melbourne

Belinda Hughes is an award-winning organic beauty therapist. She is an absolute master face massager. I was sceptical, to be honest, the first time I saw her over a year ago. Could natural, organic skin products applied gently without a whole lot of high powered lights and lasers and harshness really impact my skin? Turns out, yes.
There's not many occasions when I'm totally bare-faced but after Belinda massaged and cleansed and masked me, my skin was so dewy and fresh and there was zero puffiness around my eyes: I felt absolutely confident with not a skerrick of concealer. I mean, for the rest of the day! I have a tendency to get spots after a facial too, but nothing. Total clarity and dewiness. The key is that Belinda doesn't apply the same treatment and products to everyone. She is an expert at analysing, suggesting and then making the magic happen. Her latest development is the Matcha Treatment. I have used a matcha face mask in the past and nothing tightens my skin like that fabulous green powder. It's like an antioxidant powerhouse. If you are conscientious of sustainable, ethical skincare and products and you have concerns around your skin, I cannot recommend Belinda enough. You can find her via her website, Facebook and Instagram.

claire francoise microhydrodermabrasion

If you have never had Microbrasion with the added benefit of water (hydrabrasion), you have never known the joy of a magic wand exfoliating all the dead skin cells and blockages right off your face, literally. It's fantastic. I have seen Claire for infrared laser and also for skin needling in the past. To meet Claire, with her radiant, clear skin and cut-glass cheekbones, is to know you are in expert hands. This is a woman who takes her skin, and your skin, very seriously. Microhydrabrasion is painless and quite relaxing. The skin is thoroughly cleansed before the wand is applied over the face. Two days later, my skin looks and feels 100% smoother. A few spots I had before the treatment have cleared up too.
Claire Francoise clinic is based on High Street, Prahran and fortunately, you're a simple walk from several amazing cafes, plus a great fruit and veggie store and a whole lot of vintage clothing places. What's not to love? Make a booking via the website, Facebook and Instagram.

makeup to get the glow

Time to glow. After the facial, the microdermabrasion, the skincare that is going to keep your pores clean and clear... that's when the makeup comes into play. As a teenager with terrible acne for a few years, I relied on makeup to conceal, cover, hide. Now, I respect that makeup can be used to enhance great skin and features. Rather than rely on makeup to hide, focus much more on skincare and establishing routines and a lifestyle that protect and nourish your skin. I always find that a diet rich in protein and exercise that is moderate without being excessive and tiresome is the best way to master a natural glow. I'm completely loving the lavender, fresh, pink-based tones right now. Could it be that Valentine's Day is approaching? Or just that I love a fresh, playful pink any time of the year?
Both.
Any excuse.
I'm loving the new MAC Next To Nothing foundation, which gives a sheer coverage so that your natural skin just looks smoother and more even with a dewy glow. If you've got a few post-hot-yoga spots (a small price to pay for enlightenment!) then dot on some MAC Studio Waterweight concealer.
Contour your cheeks (aim for the centre of the cheek, right under the pupil of each eye and brush upwards towards the top of the ear) with shades of blossom but keep a light touch. You want to look a little flushed, not as if you've been slapped. I am loving ZOEVA Blush Palette in Pink Spectrum. Try a combination of MAC Lavender Jade (purple/pink) with nude, coffee coloured ZOEVA Pure Lacquer in Strong Career.I like to use the darker shade as a base with a pop of deeper pink that allows the outline of beige to remain. 

Beauty & Wellness October Obsessions


Who doesn't need stirrup barre pants, grippy ballet socks, one-piece leotards and flattering, high waisted capri pants in their life? WHO?

I discovered Zakti Activewear via a British Health & Fitness magazine and haven't looked back. Not limited to UK customers, obviously. They have done a brilliant collaboration with dancer Kimberly Wyatt. Ideal for barre, pilates, yoga and dance classes and - bonus! - you won't see 20 women with the same pants as you in class.

Research backs up the many health benefits of fish oil omega 3. It isn't naturally produced by the body and needs to be consumed, either through fatty fish, walnuts (ideal plant based omega 3!) or supplements. BlackMores Fish Oil is my daily joint, skin, heart, gut, muscle and overall wellbeing supplement of choice.

On the path of essential muscle, joint, bone, skin and gut health, did you know elite athletes and ballerinas take collagen supplements? The alternative is bone broth, but a tasteless collagen powder like GelPro Advanced Marine Collagen in your water, nut milk smoothie or even your acai bowl in the morning is an ideal way to boost your protein intake and feed your cells essential nutrients to build and maintain bone, muscle and skin tissue.

Recovery time demands magnesium. This mineral is present in most cell functions within the body so if you are stressed, getting sweaty a lot or post illness, you're likely in need of a magnesium boost. Taking capsules is okay, except that it's likely you're just going to pee them out rather than really benefit. If you apply magnesium as a cream, spray or even soak your feet in a magnesium salt bath, you absorb a great deal more and the massage effect has additional benefits. Go for pure, high grade stuff like Elektra Magnesium Spray & Flakes

Michael Kors Wonderlust because life is too short to stay in one place and also too short to not smell like heaven in a glass bottle. Plus...Christmas Is Imminent. Time to make a wishlist.

BYS Highlight Palette is my key to GLOW - like a beacon of beautiful good health and because a little bit of contouring (not Kardashian level everyday...) will always be welcome.

Sukin Shampoo & Conditioner because this organic company and their products are all about no toxins, no nasties, no animal testing. Also because it's affordable, Australian and gentle on your skin, scalp, hair and the earth.

My Froothie Blender is the B O M B. I can whizz up my protein smoothie in the morning (try roast pumpkin left to cool overnight with cinnamon, almond milk, big spoonful of marine collagen and a little shake of nutmeg) and also make a whole lot of raw food goodies like purees, dips, sauces and even mashed sweet potato and carrot/turmeric soup. Oh the endless possibilities! 900W or go home.

Last, but not least, my bathroom cabinet is a mecca of wonderfulness. At the ready every week is my Medik8 Clay Mask to nix the nasty stress/pollution and sweaty-face spots that occasionally appear. My nails always benefit from a layer of super glam - loving the cult brand Smith & Cult. Because it's a cult thing, and it's the goddess queen that is Kat Von D... on the daily, long lasting lip colour demands Kat Von D Liquid Lipstick (either Lolita or K-Pop).

Boost Your Digestion, Make Your Skin Glow & Power Your Metabolism

Sound too good to be true?
There's no single pill you can take and carry on living exactly as you are if you want to tick the three boxes:
Glowing Skin
Optimal Metabolic Function
Smooth Digestion

It takes time for these processes to heal and alter too, but the habits you start today are going to kick in within months (some of us will feel the effects within days!) and that's one year sooner than if you started next year. If, like me when I'm not being more careful about what ingredients and fitness work for me, you find yourself tired, easily bloated and feeling uninspired, here's my tried and tested methods.

detox digestion health

Detox Your Digestion

I believe in eating with nutritional balance at the core but ensuring that all your meals are foods you really love to eat and that there are no "bad" and "good" foods as long as you know how they make you feel and you're sure to get all the vitamins and minerals you need alongside your macronutrient balance over a week. If you happen to eat sponge cake for dinner now and again it really isn't a drama.
Consider why you make that choice and then when you eat a meal, feel energised and satiated, consider what you could do to make that a regular practice. Have equipment to make all your own juices, smoothies, shakes and condiments. I love Aussie made Froothie (1000W, no messing around here).Filling your pantry with the ingredients to make good meals, setting out a plan at the start of the week so you have everything you need at hand, reading books or magazines that inspire your food choices and exploring new flavours and combinations? I've been reading Paleo magazine for recipes - I am not paleo nor do I advocate any particular regime or take part in any! Their recipes are excellent though and they don't buy into the nutritional table of calories, protein, carbs etc that so many recipes do. It isn't necessary. Eat well, listen to your body and your appetite and get to know what satiates and what leaves you craving (ie. most diet foods and zero calorie beverages!) if you want a sustainably nourishing approach to food and life.
Daily, aim to get a decent serve of high quality protein (whether it's from food or a supplement) to ensure optimal muscle, bone, joint, skin, hair and organ function. I kick start most mornings with a vanilla protein smoothie and almond milk (I love the taste and I choose a high calcium one). Plus a good dose of coffee, black. Not only an energy kick pre-workout but also allows me to pretend to be Italian/French/ miscellaneously Euro.
To ensure you are getting the best out of your diet and that it is digested in such a way that the nutrients aren't wasted, supplement your diet with a probiotic. You may choose - like one friend - to take a big old spoonfull of kimchi daily, but I prefer a high quality pre/probiotic powder supplement. I add it to my protein shake in the morning.
My pantry is stocked with Nature's Sunshine supplements for preventing, treating and strengthening digestion and gut health. I'm as guilty as you are when it comes to overdoing it or allowing stress, poor sleep or jet lag to impact my food choices.
Try Bowel Calm, Activated Charcoal and Slippery Elm Powder. I also swear by Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (with the Mother!) for the mega dose of protein, enzymes and the energising bitterness at the start of the day and after each meal. My pick is Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar.


skincare quality cosmeceuticals

Use High Grade Cosmeceuticals Alongside Your Usual Skincare

I don't consume many chemicals - my food is majority wholefoods (unprocessed veggies, fruit, seafood, legumes, meat, nut milks) and organic wherever possible. But when it comes to skin, I'm a convert to cosmeceuticals. You can usually only get the best ones in salon and they cost more than your supermarket beauty buys, but they also work. As someone who prizes her skin after teenage years of acne and sunburn, I don't skimp. Totally recommend medik8 for retinol based resurfacing cream (my choice is Retinol 1 TR) and moisturisers (Hydrate 360 please). I'll also be adding the new Dark Circles eye cream to my bedside table... no need to look like I've been tossing and turning for 8 hours!
alpha h cat13gram

Alpha-H does an amazing copper/B vitamin serum that I apply every morning under my moisturiser and makeup.


lean protein health fitness

Maintain A High Quality Protein Intake Daily

Whether you're vegan, vegetarian or happily carnivorous, you must select high quality proteins. This means choosing lean, organic salmon rather than chicken wings deep fried and covered in salt. You want your
proteins to give you bang for their calorific buck, so to speak. Red meat, chicken and legumes are rich in protein. A serve of baked beans or chickpeas is an excellent alternative to meat proteins. While whey and milk-based protein powders are ideal for ultimate calcium and easily-absorbed protein, there's plenty of plant-based proteins that are worthy of cupboard space. Choose powders that have the least amount of ingredients listed and avoid sugar-loaded, toxic tasting candy powders unless you want to bulk up your guts more than your muscles.



crystals rock salt lamps energy
rock salt lamps cat woods

Embrace Rock Salt Lamps & Crystals In Your Home

Sure, I know it sounds all Gwyneth, but I can't tell you how peaceful my space feels when I have my rock salt lamps on and only natural lighting. It feels like bringing an ancient big old chunk of nature into my home. It feels restorative. I have both a 4kg lamp in my bedroom and a smaller sphere that plugs into my laptop USB port and lights up when I'm working.- totally recommended for travel and workplaces.
 Whether you believe the negative ions the salt lamps emit are genuinely beneficial is secondary. Just having that gentle glow emanating near you is calming in itself. My rock salt lamp and a Selenite crystal tower that I keep by my bed for the positive energy it symbolises and channels into my home are from Rock Salt Lamps

Cruelty Free Beauty


Now that the vegan lifestyle is no longer identified with kale-socks-and-sandals and anaemic hippies, there’s a growing curiosity and desire for products that aren’t made of any animal products nor tested on animals. 

Fortunately, there’s no lack of choice and quality in this area. Being vegan can be a challenge when it comes to finding sharp shoes, but when it comes to hair and makeup there’s a treasure trove of brands and products that are guilt-free. Where these brands are not 100% vegan, they are absolutely cruelty free.

INIKA is all organic, all natural Australian makeup. There’s a vast array of mineral eyeshadow shades, certified organic lipstick (Orchid Fields is the perfect shade of violet) and also offers mineral bronzer, foundation, illuminiser and blush. Prefer fluid foundation and in need of an eyebrow pencil? No worries, they’ve got you covered for that too.

Zoeva is high-end makeup (your budget will need to stretch a little here..) and there’s also a range of professional standard makeup brushes. In store, it’s available in Australia via Sephora but there are several online stores that stock it too. While the entire range is not certified vegan, the brushes are synthetic and entirely vegan and every product is 100% cruelty free.

Laura Mercier is entirely cruelty free and does not test products or ingredients on animals. None of their suppliers nor third parties test on animals either. Because Laura Mercier is cruelty free, their products are not sold in China, which requires animal testing on makeup by law. Here’s a hint too...if your favourite brand (perhaps one that has Miley and Lady Gaga in their ads?) is sold in China, there’s a good chance it tests on animals and won’t be ceasing this any time soon.

Kat Von D makeup is not only a cult range fronted by one of the most beautiful, tattooed goddesses on the planet but also entirely vegan.  The liquid lipsticks (especially Lolita) are raved about by makeup artists, instagram makeup stars and beauty lovers internationally. The liquid eyeliners and palettes are one of the top sellers at Sephora both in the US and Australia. While buying Kat Von D makeup won’t guarantee the perfect cat’s eye look, nor that you’ll turn into a 6”4 punk rock goddess, it will allow you to get a small step closer to the dream.
3ina cruelty free beauty

3INA is a Cult Beauty Brand. Three words to send shivers of excitement down the spines of mascara loving maidens and lipstick lovers. 3INA (pronounce it "MEENA") launched in Melbourne in 2016 with stores in Melbourne Central and Soutland. Professional quality Euro-made makeup that doesn't cost your weekly wage. Guaranteed cruelty free, super bold colours and unique collections. The latest UV collection takes on a nightclub attitude under UV lights where it goes all disco under the lights. I love the richly pigmented pink and purple mascaras especially. The Chubby Highlighter is better than two espressos for disguising no sleep. 
elf cosmetics cat woods blog

ELF is the super budget friendly vegan brand you can depend on for all the basics as well as the bells and whistles products. From foundation to concealer, eyeliner to blusher, bronzer and lipstick, ELF products commonly fall into the under $20 basket meaning you can live guilt free and debt free after stocking your makeup cupboard. Beautiful. Literally.



Plump Your Skin: 5 Treatments To Do In Your Thirties & Forties


As a magazine junkie, I admit I can see how women would gain the idea that an entirely crease-free, plastic-fresh face would seem like a normal goal in life. The airbrushing is madness! But there are images sometimes, like the divine Christy Turlington for Valentino, with her untamed hair and the gentle lines of a lifetime of smiling, where true natural beauty is on show.

In the age of the selfie, where snapping photos of your food and your face and your dog in the middle of conversation is seemingly de rigeur, it's only natural we should be more aware of lines, creases, blotchy skin and spots. There is no particular age at which these start to show... and really, we need some perspective too. These are signs of ageing, which is inevitable and beautiful. The alternative is either never having lived at all, or being dead. Those creases, those lines, those sun-spots are all proof you have lived, laughed and loved. So I am forthwith, not giving you the low-down on how to be entirely frozen faced and line-free! Nobody wants to kiss and cuddle and converse with a puffer fish stuck on a human body. These are treatments, with the benefits and details, that you can consider as an investment in slowing down and reversing signs of facial ageing. Great skin: glowing, evenly pigmented, bright eyes and healthy, hydrated skin and hair are beautiful at any and every age.
beauty 30s blue hair jaime king

Celebrity nutritionist and naturopath, Nigma Talib advises to minimise, and ideally cut, the following from your diet on a semi-regular basis for two weeks to enhance digestion and improve skin health from the gut:
  • Sugar
  • Dairy
  • Gluten
  • Alcohol
 Start with the very insides and then come with me and try the following:

Enzyme Facial

face mask salon beauty baysideI have had the "Time Less Enzyme" facial at Bayside Skin & Laser two months ago and my skin looked firmer and the shape of my face more defined for days afterwards. This has NEVER happened after any other treatment. It can feel like your face and decolletage are being squeezed under pressure from the treatment masque as it absorbs, but this doesn't last longer than 10 minutes before cleansing so hang tight. The Enzyme facial is part of a treatment plan. Ideally, you'll do this facial as part of a program of other treatments which it prepares the face for: hydrating, balancing and stimulating cell turnover.

Laser

Who here hasn't watched Star Wars? Everyone knows lasers are good news!
bayside skin skincare laser 30sBut seriously, get this on your face, stat. All the celebrities are doing it, so you know it must be worth your pennies. Taking less than half an hour, I have a quick cleanse, don eye protection and a laser wand is directed over my cheeks, chin, forehead and briefly over my nose pulsing 40 degree heat deep into my facial skin to stimulate the cells. The heat brings blood flow to the face and causes micro-damage which forces the skin cells to recruit collagen for repair. The result? Plumpness. Right where you want it - cheeks, chin, under-eyes and forehead. Again, Bayside Skin & Laser is my salon of choice. Make sure you entirely trust the clinician you go to (word of mouth counts!)


Skin Needling

I have only had one treatment and so I can't vouch for it being a long-term effective treatment as the recommendation is to have around 6 treatments minimum over a series of months. I'd be more than happy to continue to try this and it has been highly recommended for treatment of acne scarring or pigmentation (or both!). There are also now some tools for at-home use but ultimately, the salon experience will always be conducted by a trained professional and when it comes to needles and your face, consider the approach you want to take.
I went to Claire Francoise in Prahran. I have also had a professional full body tan at Claire Francoise and it was the best one I've ever had - totally natural, dark, non-sticky and fast developing.

If you have experienced a treatment that changed your skin or stopped the clock at 35, tell me. Go on. I'll be on Facebook and Instagram awaiting!

xCat




Digestion: What We Can Take From Paleo, Raw Food, Vegan and Plant Based approach to eating

From the outset, let me make clear that I don't follow any food regimen strictly and zealously nor do I advocate a restrictive approach to eating, movement or living at all.

I believe - as I hope you will - that each of us needs to make choices that align with our values, our beliefs, our needs and our enjoyment and engagement with life. That means that your approach will likely differ over time and I've known many people who go from meat eaters to vegetarians and have periods of returning to seafood or meat if they feel their nutritional needs aren't being met sufficiently without it, or just because they want it and choose it.

It's not for any of us to say what is right and wrong for anyone else - so this post is not advocating a dietary approach, rather it is looking at the importance of gut health to quality of life and the ideas and lessons we can take from each of these approaches and consider when preparing and sharing meals.

I've been reading The Complete Gut Health Cookbook by Pete Evans and naturopath, Helen Padarin. While the book does strongly follow paleo guidelines to eating, there is a recurring reminder that these are suggestions and not a strict advocacy of one way to eat or live. Regardless of your preconceived ideas around Pete, his genuine desire to share a love of eating well and with awareness of how food affects overall health is contagiously joyful.

The consistent message across paleo, vegan, raw food and plant based eating is that food is more than simply calories and fuel. Food has medicinal and spiritual value. Choosing to eat to truly nourish rather than just to curb the appetite reflects a greater commitment: choosing to live in a way that nourishes our selves and those around us.

However, back to the gut.
gut health foods

Many diseases and lifestyle-based illness including diabetes type 2, angina, leaky gut, obesity and metabolic syndrome are the result of eating diets high in processed foods, lacking in vital micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, enzymes) and the approach to eating food on the run, with little consideration for how important it is to sit down, savour and enjoy food as part of feeling genuinely satiated, nourished and allowing food to digest without the impediment of stress hormones creating a maelstrom of poor digestive consequences: bloating, indigestion, leaky gut, constipation etc.

There's much research to show that gut health is intrinsically connected to brain health and the strength of the immune system and all other systems of the body. When you get a moment, have a look at this TED talk: Food for thought: How your belly controls your brain.



Gut flora is a term that refers to the environment of bacteria within the gut which is highly sensitive to foods, environment, stress and overall fitness and health. The healthier and richer our gut flora, the more energy we have, the greater absorption of nutrients from food and the greater ability to CREATE nutrients. It also feeds the immune system, fending off disease and allergic responses as well as maintaining a fit metabolism and regulating weight.

The most common and preventable factors that damage gut flora are continual use of NSAIDs (ibuprofen, over-the-counter and prescription pain killers and anti inflammatories), chemicals found in processed foods and commonly used in agriculture, household cleaners and beauty products, preservatives and food colourings and flavours, excess fructose and simple carbohydrate consumption, chronic stress and lack of sleep and routine sleep and meal times.

Raw food - food not heated above 36 degrees - contains the richest source of nutrients and enzymes. These enzymes allow for foods to be digested without requiring the body to use up its own enzymes in trying to break down foods and extract micronutrients during the digestive process. With sufficient quantity and diversity of raw vegetables and plant-based foods (nuts, legumes, etc), these simple protein chains create complex chains of proteins that fuel the body adequately and ideally. It is common for vegans to be deficient in iron and B12 though and in these situations, it may be wise to supplement with the recommended daily dosage or with the assistance and advice of a nutritionist, dietitian or medical practitioner.
gut health

Here's the essential spices to start including in your meals to boost gut health

Turmeric
Cinnamon
Ginger
Fennel
Cumin
Coriander
Peppermint
Chilli
superfoods


Here's the essential prebiotic & probiotic foods to include in your weekly meals (bitter and fermented foods are superpowered gut medicine, don't be afraid to try them)


Dandelion Greens
Jerusalem Artichoke
Leeks
Asparagus
Garlic
Onions
Bananas
Apples
Walnuts 
Almonds
Cacao
Flaxseeds
Kelp & Seaweed
Bananas
Pickled ginger
Quinoa
Miso


Beauty & A Tan That Doesn't Cost The Earth

natural beauty cruelty free

The skin is actually one of the largest organs of the body. We often think of heart, kidneys, liver when we think of organs of the body, but actually the skin is a living, functioning organ that absorbs elements of the environment and especially, the products we put on it.

This is why it's so important to choose carefully what you apply when it comes to skincare, shower gels, cleaning agents, hair products and if you're sensitive, laundry products too.

Many cheap and chemical based beauty and skincare products rely on parabens as a cheap, easy preservative to extend the life of products on shelf. Parabens are entirely man-made and synthetic.
butterfly tattoo
They mimic hormones within the body and once absorbed into the skin, can change and warp the natural balance of hormones within the body. The short and long term effect of this has not been thoroughly researched but since hormones rule everything from mood, fertility, appetite, appearance, sleep and immune system, it would pay to be careful with the endocrine system. 
Natural products often opt for ingredients like grapeseed oil as a natural preservative. Pay attention to the ingredients list and there are quite a number of great books out on natural beauty that explain ingredients and what to avoid in common household and body products.

Another excellent reason to opt for natural ingredients in your skincare is to be earth friendly. Less chemicals produced and manufactured into skincare and beauty products means less toxic products released into the waterways, air and earth before, during production and after use.
nutrimetics vegan beauty

Here are some of the products I've discovered recently that align with my goal to use primarily organic, natural and eco-friendly, skin friendly beauty and body products. Nutrimetics makes a whole range of targeted skincare as well as body care from shower gels to deodorant and makeup. I've been using and loving their Black Cherry Shower Gel, Honey and Almond Scrub for face, and the super nourishing apricot based Nutri-Rich Oil


Ink Nurse is a Melbourne-made tattoo healing cream that is just as vital for your freshly done work as it is for years' old work that you want to keep fresh after a bit too much time exposed to the sun. It uses all natural products and is vegan friendly and no parabens. As they say themselves, "A badass, ethical, cruelty-free, product that no one else compares to when it comes to tattoo skin care." True! Hoping to see it at more Melbourne studios.
eco tan natural tanning

Eco Tan is an organically certified, skin loving and naturally derived tanning range that has won awards for its face and body products. As someone who lives in Lycra and doesn't tan naturally, I'm all about the tan in a bottle! Just as with Ink Nurse and Nutrimetics, Eco Tan is fully organic and vegan. Their Eco Tan Face Tan Water is the best facial tanning product I've ever used and I've used plenty of tanning brands over the past 15 years. No nasty smell and the colour of both face and body (my choice is Cacao Firming Mousse) are totally believable: deep enough to look like you've been sunning on St Kilda beach but not so deep it looks like you fell asleep there all day.



Vitamin C For Body And Skin


So many products, from bottled juice to hand cream, claim to be rich in vitamin C. It's a great marketing spruik, but do we actually know what value it has and whether it is effectively absorbed? Do we even need it?

Vitamin C is an antioxidant (fights free radicals) that plays an essential role in collagen synthesis. It is responsible for healing cells and this explains why it is so often a key ingredient in skin care. Vitamin C has been shown to prevent and treat ultraviolet photodamage (pigmentation/burn). The skin is made up of layers of dermis. Both the epidermis and he dermis have high levels of Vitamin C concentration, though this declines with age. Concentration of Vitamin C in the skin also decreases with exposure to pollution (car fumes, cigarette smoke, etc), UV light and stress.

Vitamin C benefits for the skin include increased hydration and a more youthful appearance as a result. The skin is also more resilient to sun exposure and pollutants.
Both topical and oral supplements have shown to have positive results for skin health. Since Vitamin C in the skin is normally transported from the blood stream, an oral supplement that delivers sufficient dosage is beneficial but excessive doses don't increase the concentration of vitamin C in the skin so be sure to follow instructions on any supplements.

Vitamin C is absorbed through topical application where the pH level is below 4.0 (greaer acidity) and greatest absorption is seen in a 20% vitamin C solution. It crosses the epidermis and reaches he underlying layers of skin. Exposure to heat, air and light degrade the quality and concentration of Vitamin C though. Don't store any skin care in sunlight or leave open longer than required.

Vitamin C has shown benefits in boosting skin hydration and improving healing time for wounds.
I like to hit my skin and body with double barrels, so I take high quality oral supplement, Viviscal (all the celebs and models do it, you know!) and Medik8 C-Tetra Cream. Both are not cheap, but they last at LEAST a few months and the high quality means you get results rather than cheaper products with lower concentration and shelf time.
Make sure Vitamin C rich foods are part of your diet too - I don't believe any of us are about to suffer scurvy but better safe than sorry.
I'm a little bit in love with Nourish Atelier for great recipes and inspiring ideas with food. Her latest genius recipe is Butternut and Kale Lasagne with Quinoa and Red Pepper Sugo. Go there.

Thanks to Oregon State University for Vitamin C info.

Makeup Must Have List for 2016 - bronzer for fair skin, bold lips, pastel nails


There's a zillion makeup brands and products out there - I should know! I find myself in seventh heaven any time I am near a Sephora or a Mecca Maxima. So many colours! The packaging! Oh, the sparkle!

But.
There's what is absolutely worth the spend and the space in your makeup cabinet, and there's the novelty factor. Herewith, the products absolutely worth your hard-earned dollars and my solid gold assurance that I use them, I love them and I totally recommend them.

Bold Liquid Lipstick that Lasts: Estee Lauder Pure Envy Liquid Lipsticks in Savage Garden and True Liar. Savage Garden is a deep, midnight purple that can be a subtle stain if you apply one coat, or a dark, violet gloss if you apply 3. True Liar is a fuschia-pink that applies dark and lasts and lasts and lasts. Much more daytime friendly if you’re not going for an A+ in Bold at the office!

Foundation That Does Double Duty: Bobbi Brown Skin Perfecting Fluid is the ultimate! Sure, it's not cheap, but consider Cost Per Wear. Every damned day if you want to convince people you are from an alien planet where everyone has glowing, flawless skin. I also love Bobbi Brown Cushion Foundation - again, not a bargain basement product but you get what you pay for - A Grade Skin.

bobbi brown estee lauder evelyn iona
Concealer You'd Take To A Desert Island: Organic, perfecting Evelyn Iona concealer. God forbid I use up my current stash. I am obsessed. Whatever any makeup artist says, I apply BEFORE foundation. Then touch-ups later in the day as required. #GreenBeauty y'all.
Matte Bronzer for Fair Skin: Bobbi Brown Golden Light Bronzer. Because nobody likes to have a smear of orange or glitter across their face, combat style. Your bronzer is meant to give you a healthy glow, not look like you’ve been shoving your face into a bag of Twisties. Hard to find the perfect blush for fair skin, that does subtle but complexion-boosting, but I have. Bobbi.

Nude Lip Pencil: Bobbi Brown Art Stick is a lip defining pencil that works just as you'd use a lip liner, except that it glides and has a softness to it that means no dry lips, no sharp lines and no vanishing within an hour or at the first sign of lunch. I use the nude shades alone for definition or as a base for stronger colours. My favourite shade is Bare.


Overnight Serum That Makes You Glow: I can't pick just one here. I alternate between two and both are fantastic. I work out daily and wear makeup daily and these are the maintenance tricks required to rejuvenate and fully refresh my skin. It's like a 3 hour facial in an overnight serum! Both Mesoestetic Collagen 360 (Available at RY) and Alpha H Liquid Gold (via Sephora) are Must Haves.

Pastel Nails That Aren’t Sickly Sweet: OPI (available at RY) does 5-free nail colours that have a cult-like following for a reason. Beyond the snappy, laugh-out-loud names, their formula and colours are pure salon quality and the packaging is simple, chic and collectable. That’s my excuse for housing a zillion more than I need, though! What you must Add To Cart is the gelato hued gorgeousness of Gelato On My Mind (pale mint green), Mod About You (pastel pink), Your Such A Budapest (pale lilac purple).

Beauty Body and Scents - the EOFY Special

That's right! End of Financial Year - when accountants finally dress up in glitter and sequins and do backflips while they calculate your tax return.

Ahem.

But really, after you've gone through the trauma that is doing your tax, the real joy is working out how to spend that amazing wonderful bonus money that is your tax return. I suggest you throw some of those magic notes at beauty and body products that are going to make you look, feel and smell AH-MAZE-ING. You don't even have to leave your keyboard. See, I'm just like an accountant! Efficient.

My big dilemma is that I've decided to invest in a cult beauty item - because that is how my tax return is best partially spent. In smart investments. I can't decide WHICH of the NARS' The Multiple shades is for me. I do love pearly, cosmic Copacabana, but then there's the CULT factor of Orgasm. Do you have one? Do you recommend it? Alternatively, lipstick in Dominique is purple based and we know how I feel about purple...

For decadent, luscious packaging and scents, MOR is a classic. My sister was obsessed with Marshmallow (as are many judging by the endless ways you can have it: perfume, lip balm, lotion, wash...). I'm all about the garden-fresh scents of Blood Orange, Basil and Sencha Verbena Hand & Body Wash. The Blood Orange Perfume Oil comes in a roller ball that is perfectly sized for your top drawer at work or your gym bag (for $19.95 it's got your accountant smiling too!). I've had to do a serious bathroom cleaning session to make it look nearly chic enough to house the Basil Grape Hand & Body Lotion. A blessing. Each is under $20! Beauty on a budget. You're welcome!
Speaking of smelling heavenly and fresh, I am quite lazy so being able to spray my moisturiser on is totally ideal. And really, any excuse to go for a shop on Nourished Life! I just stocked up on ACURE marula and argan body oil spray in Citrus Ginger scent. So zesty.
As your accountant will tell you, it is smart to invest in cost-per-use or major investments every now and again. Considering I use this mask every second day and it leaves my skin super smooth and looking NOT like I just did two barre classes, I feel it meets the criteria. DNA Restoring Mask may not alter your actual DNA but it will make you glow. 
Now here is my dilemma. I can only choose one item on sale at Fresh Fragrances. Do I go with NARS The Multiple in some shade OR do I go with lipstick in Dominique? There's glow versus purple. OH THE DILEMMAS!

Classic Brand, Modern Skincare and Beauty on a Budget

I grew up with a nan totally dedicated to makeup and grooming (weekly cut and "set" with rollers and enough hairspray to freeze the whole of Seaford). She had a drawer full of Estee Lauder and Revlon lipsticks in various shades of pink and coral.
My mum would insist she's not fussed about makeup but a dressing table loaded with 20 shades of beige lipstick and every possible eyeshadow palette combination known to human kind would attest otherwise! 
So a love for makeup was in the genes. Skincare is the natural partner to makeup though. While I began using concealer and foundation to disguise pimples and redness as a teenager, it was only in my early 20s that I realised makeup is much more joyful as a form of expression and to highlight and emphasise great skin, bright eyes, and an angular face. 

With the advice of a very strict dermatologist (who insisted on Roaccutane to cure my teenage acne and she was right), I became used to washing, moisturising and duly applying Vaseline to avoid my lips cracking clear off my face.
I also learnt that "non comedogenic" means no blackheads and pore-clogging. This is good. I chose cleansers and moisturisers with the simplest of ingredients - no fancy scents and waxes or minerals. So it is with glee that I embrace the most budget friendly of skincare. Super glam and expensive products are a luxury and sometimes, entirely worth the expenditure for the amount of science and surveys they conduct. But nothing says "I WORK" like longetivity. So, forthwith, two brands that have been around for a looooong time and have been introduced by grandmothers to mothers to daughters and so on, and will be for decades to come.

Best of all, you don't need to hunt them out online or call a salon in advance to check on stock. They are two aisles down from the vegetables and laundry powder. For the price of a few coffees, you can have a daily skin ritual sorted for weeks or months.
Nivea and Vaseline have both had a modern makeover as far as packaging and digital presence, but their formulas have remained reassuringly simple and dependable. 
I swear by Vaseline petroleum jelly as a lip protector. It has so many uses though! A tattoo artist recommended using it to protect colour and clarity of my work for the two weeks after having work done. It can be blended with blush, eyeshadow, lip pigments to turn matte shades into gloss or to blend colours. It's a makeup artist staple! If you're dyeing your hair, it makes an excellent scalp protector. It's a couple of dollars. Go on.
As for Nivea - the packaging has had a major overhaul and the product range has expanded over the past few decades. My mother and sister are fanatical about the Q10 range. I like it, but my personal preference is the Pure & Natural range and also the Daily Essentials. I like that they're titled exactly as what they are. From scrubs to foams, milks to serums to sprays, pick what your preference is. Considering that they're a fraction of the cost of most skincare these days, you can afford to experiment!

Nivea originated in 1882 in Germany - not many brands can claim such a long life and many are too quick to jump onto novelty at the expense of sticking to the basics and doing them well. That said, the packaging design, product innovations and partnerships with celebrities and ambassadors who are relevant and iconic means Nivea has hardly been quiet on the marketing and modernity front. It was a total pleasure to indulge in a major Nivea haul this week. Here's what's taken pride of place in my bathroom cabinet and handbag:

Pure & Natural Soothing Day Cream: Formulated for dry and sensitive skin, this is ideal for those who are prone to spots and yet don't have an oily complexion. It's gentle and has a really subtle, calming scent. Must be the chamomile! 95% natural ingredients. No parabens and minerals.
In Shower Rich Body Lotion: Lazy girls rejoice! No need to shower AND moisturise. This is truly efficient. After washing as usual, apply this almond oil enriched lotion, quickly rinse and towel dry. Designed for very dry skin. Excellent remedy for winter scaliness.
Invisible Anti-Perspirant: For those of us who don't wish to raise our arms and display powdery marks all over our chic black gym gear. Or work wear - apparently there are people who don't wear sports gear all day too.
Soothing Cleaning Mousse: Again, dry and sensitive skin is catered for with a gentle formula designed not to leave you with alligator skin and redness. Ideal for multiple daily uses and should be followed with moisturiser.

Lip balm in Soft Rose and Vitamin Shake: Double duty lip balm! Gives a gentle rosy tint that says, I've just been skipping through the snowy alps after a facial and the Vitamin Shake because it sounds like a delicious smoothie but you can carry it around in your pocket or handbag day and night. No more crackly kissers for us.


If you're in Australia and you want to be the first to try new products, enter giveaways and receive free samples, you can sign up to be a MyNivea member free.


New Nude Makeup, Toxic Free Nails, British Beauty Lands in Oz...

So much exciting beauty and makeup business, my lovelies!

I'm going to kick off with the basics. The base, even. I adore Queen of Strobing Bobbi Brown for having every conceivable shade of "nude" when it comes to foundation, lipstick, eyes, blusher and concealer. Because not everyone in the world has one skin tone to cater to - and so many makeup houses are behind the 8-ball on this. For my own skin, I go with the Light/Medium foundation but there are so many shades. If you're unable to get into a store and be matched professionally, order online and do your research on the ACTUAL Bobbi Brown website
I'm a total addict when it comes to the Cushion Foundation. It metes out just enough to cover your face and you can tote it around with you for touch-ups (or post-gym showers). It's SPF 30. For an extra dose of glam, the Nude Illuminating Powder comes in at least 6 shades. I choose Nude. There's nothing glittery about it - super, super subtle.
You do need to buy the compact and the refill, but from there, the refills are easily affordable and you'll re-use and re-use.
And re-use.


As a yogi and a barre instructor, I spend a fair bit of time barefoot and looking at both toes and fingernails. Chances are, whether you're barefoot much or not, you're texting and tapping things almost non-stop so fingernail glamour is a non negotiable. Until recently, nailpolish was a toxic cocktail of formaldehyde (yup, preserving-dead-bodies stuff), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, camphor (which can trigger allergies and disturb the hormonal balance) and parabens.

 Thankfully, most brands have recognised that these nasties aren't necessary and are proudly labelled 5-Free.
My latest discovery is Mavala - and since I'm prone to change my nail colour after mere days of wear, I've gone with the mini colours so that I don't feel bad about neglecting full bottles of nail polish for months and years!

My picks of the gorgeous mini range are Bamako, a deep sea-green that brings to mind the Emerald City from Wizard of Oz. I have topped this will Emerald Gold for shimmery bling effect.
My purple picks are Jelly Grape - a pinky purple that looks much bolder in the bottle and is truly flattering on pale and olive skin tones, and Touch of Provence - a true pale lilac.
Mavala also does skin and makeup. There's a new collection that matches a mini nailpolish with an identical lipstick. YES. My pick is Tallinn from the Symphonic Collection.

W7 - straight outta West London, innit? And it's Well Fit.
Ok, enough. I'm not Tom Hardy nor Scary Spice so I cannot continue with the British Slang, guv. I get excited when foreign fabulous brands arrive, like the ancient spice merchants, bringing colours, fragrances, shapes, designs and general exotica to our shelves. The best bit is this is totally accessible, totally affordable makeup that covers all the basics perfectly. Highlighter, eyeshadow kits, concealer, foundation powder, and a mini face blender... zig-a-zig-ahhhh!
Find it at My Chemist, Chemist Warehouse or go follow on Facebook.


June Gym Bag From Skincare To Sweatpants


June is miserably cold here in Melbourne. But even if it isn't shiver-to-your-bones icy where you are, these are excellent items to have in your gym bag, on your home shelf, or even stashed in the car for emergency use. Because if you break down, that's the perfect time to work your biceps as you wait for the repair guy (or girl).

Featured above.

Onzie capri

Made by LA yoga people to move, flex, moisture-wick and maximise your workout whether that's yoga, pilates, barre or weights. This heathered orange shade is the bright antidote to this dreary weather. It's summer in a pant! Get 'em here.

Cotton On handweights

Only 2kg you say? If you do some YouTube and Google time you will discover light handweights can be deadly difficult and totally effective. These are so chic in black and rose gold. Karl definitely would. At Cotton On.

Alpha H Balancing Moisturiser and Gentle Exfoliant

Alpha H does Serious Skincare. This is not your supermarket shelf standard. Anyone I know who has used it RAVES about it, me included. This is not a product I use every day or night as it's quite intense but I always wake up brighter and dewier when I do. At Alpha H.

Mellow Liquid Lip Paint

Sure, you COULD go lip colour free but it's a short life and there's a whole lot of colour in the world. So, with that in mind, don't choose to use lipstick that's going to end up on your chin after you've been sweating it out in BodyPump, barre or Bikram. Liquid lipstick that is super affordable? Yes please. Mellow Liquid Lip Paint right here.

Indermica Eye Treatment Night/Day

This is just so self-explanatory. But the reason I choose this product over the zillion eye products there are out there is because I usually wake up with sore or gluey eyes because even though it promises not to get in my eyes, somehow I react! NOT with this. And the bottle is ingenious. It's an all-in-one with two pumps so you can easily mete out day and night quantity as you need. Get it here.

Last but not least, a moisturiser that doesn't cause a breakout. Hallelujah! BetaMoisturise is a must. I'm not a teenager but get a super rich  moisturiser on my face and bam, spot time. This is tried, tested and terrific. Right here at Medik8 Australia. Oil free and mattifying.

Clean Up Your Act and Blush Right

The Cleanser
Fizzy Clean Face
I recently had a nasty episode of red, swollen facial skin after getting a little too enthusiastic with eucalyptus oil to solve a spot.

While I'm relegating the eucalyptus oil to cleaning my bathroom, I AM all for using savvy natural ingredients for skin treatments where it's safe, effective and delivered by a credible brand. Hence, my new addiction to Biore Baking Soda cleansing scrub and pore cleanser. This is perfect for acne-
prone and oily skin and also for your everyday combination skin (sometimes a bit dry, sometimes a bit oily, sometimes just right!) Dermatologist Tested. Just pump product into your hand, mix with water and voila! Instant skin scrub. Another bonus?

Super affordable. You will have extra dollars left over for makeup. Of course.
Biore Baking Soda Range
The Mask
Salon Quality At Home

Mesoestetic is one of the international leaders in medical-cosmetic companies making salon-grade skincare based on research and potent formulae.
They work with hospitals, universities and cosmetic and dermatology specialists on treatments to target acne, pigmentation, dryness, sensitivity and also for anti-ageing.

I'm new to the brand but I have been using the Pure Renewing Mask (because who doesn't love a mask in the morning or at the end of the day?)
I was fortunate enough to try the mask before it's launch in Australian stores and salons, but it will be available through select stockists.
Find an in-store or online stockist.
The Base

You're fizzy, just-been-to-the-salon clean and clear. You've got the blush ready to sweep on, but here's the vital step. Get your base right. You want a non-comedogenic formula (doesn't clog pores) that closely matches your natural skin shade. Don't test on your hand, test on your face.

I rotate the foundations I use because there are new products all the time and also, sometimes I am more tanned than the day before and need something a shade darker or lighter as necessary. As for my latest loves, both of them are budget friendly AND skin friendly. Australis Oh2Glow gives a luminous finish that won't suit oily skin, but great for the majority and Maybelline Superstay Better Skin.
The Blush
Pretty and poised never go out of fashion when it comes to makeup. Whether it's some serious contouring or just a gentle "I just ran for the tram" flush or "I woke up like this" glow, every skin shade has a perfect pink.

La Femme Flamingo Pink
La Femme is a new brand for me - it's cruelty free, it does every possible shade of pink you could dream of, and it's beautifully packaged.  As a general rule, which you are very free to break, the paler your skin shade, the paler the colour you want to opt for with your blush.
I'm a big fan of Flamingo Pink - it's richly pigmented but applied with a light hand (as it SHOULD be), it's subtle and looks gorgeously natural.
Lilac Champagne and Mulberry are a little more blue-based and will suit those with a cooler complexion. That said, they are also really flattering on olive skin.
The entire range of La Femme colours is at makeup mecca Scotty's - either at the Melbourne or Sydney stores, or online.
Scotty's Makeup Store

Where do I apply it? How?
Good question. Suck your cheeks in and make a fish face. The bronzer goes in the hollow from the outer face to mid cheek. Apply your blush, lightly, with a fluffy, pre-cleaned brush to the higher point of your cheek, from the outer edge of the eye to the hairline. You don't want to leave any lines so blend, blend, blend.
If more is more, and some days it really is, then add some highlighter. You can sweep your blush brush through a highlighter en route from blush to cheek for some shimmer and glow. Especially recommended on evening outings to catch the (disco) light.
Totally love the W3LL People Bio Brightener (vegan, cruelty free) from Nourished Life.

Skincare: Cleansing, Vitamins and Probiotics for Clear Radiant Skin

When it comes to the skin, it's important to remember this is the largest organ of the body. Like all our other organs, it is highly reactive and responsive to what we eat, our level of activity, stress levels and sleep quality.

I've written before on the benefits of probiotics for your digestion.
Not only do they improve vitamin and mineral absorption, they can be beneficial during and after antibiotic use to restore balance to the gut bacteria and also to support immune function during stressful periods.

Good digestion and good immune function are also vital to radiant, healthy skin. 

You don't need to take probiotic supplements as a first call, but I find they're the most convenient option for me. If your diet naturally has fermented foods such as miso, sauerkraut, kombucha and yoghurt (not the nasty diet and fat free options!) then you're on the right track.

Here's the foods you want and the skincare I'm using and that I swear by. Yes, it will cost a bit more than your supermarket shelf option, but it has higher concentration and high quality ingredients. You can afford to spend a little more on cleansers and specialist serums and go for cheaper moisturisers - but check that your moisturiser is non-comedogenic (doesn't block pores and cause blackheads).

Alpha H is beloved in the beauty therapy world. For good reason. Their Vitamin C serum is a staple in my bathroom cabinet and while this is my first time using the Triple Action Cleanser, it leaves my skin feeling fresh, without the harshness of some deep cleansers. No prune face post washing! Find it at Facial Co.

Danne Montague-King is also a salon brand. High quality, high potency products and I have been using them for years with great results. I am new to these ones and I am loving them. The Exoderma and Foamy Lift are used together for an enzyme peel. It's not vicious - you won't be left with peeling and redness, don't fear. It's a gentle peel for at-home use.
The Beta Gel is packed with Vitamin B and C for acne and blemish prone skin. I use it when my skin decides to have a spotty turn - it usually happens when I get stressed or underslept. Or both.
DMK is only available at skin clinics - find your closest one on the DMK Clinic Locator. And book a facial - because life is short and facials are awesome.
Skinceuticals were recommended to me by a cosmetic skin specialist AND several beauty therapists. It is highly rated in the skincare and beauty world for good reason - I am a dedicated Vitamin C devotee and if you haven't used Skinceuticals, you really must. I have been using medik8 Retinol 10TR, which is high strength and my skin needs a bit of a break and a reboost so in the few days between applying retinol, I'm applying daily Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. Find both Skinceuticals AND medik8 at Skincare Store.

Foods:

Miso, Kefir, Soft cheeses, Yoghurt, Milk with Probiotics, Sauerkraut, Kombucha, Tempeh

Supplements:
Inner Health Plus available at Ethical Nutrients



Retinol: blitz lines, blemishes and pigmentation

As I've told you a zillion times, I had terrible acne in my early teens and was on prescription Accutane (retinol or vitamin A) supplements to treat it. It worked. I have been absolutely strict about using skincare that genuinely works - without being aggressive and leaving skin damaged - ever since.
Many retinol products - or even products SAYING they have retinol in them! - are either really harsh and will leave the skin red, peeling or even dry and scaly, OR they have such a low concentration or ineffective formulation that you won't see any results at all.
Within weeks of use, you should notice that the skin has:

  • a smoother texture, 
  • definitely less blemishes; and 
  • softer lines. 
I have tried so many products and there are a few I would recommend. One is prescription and the others are available via salons and online.
Medik8 does an excellent range of retinol serums and balms. This brand comes with dermatologist, beautician and clinician recommendation. I recommend that you start with Retinol 3TR (0.3%) or 6TR if you don't regularly use retinol already. At the moment, I'm using Medik8 Retinol 10TR. This will be available via Skincare Store later this month in serum form, but you can still get the 10TR balm form. This is the HIGHEST STRENGTH vitamin A. In time-release formula, it hasn't aggravated my skin and I'm pretty sensitive so I'm actually surprised (and very happy.)

I see Dr Sara Mullen at the Victorian Cosmetic Institute every 6 months for a sprinkling of botox to the forehead and on my last visit, I asked if she would be interrogated on the benefits of retinol. Thankfully, she found time between being in heavy demand at work and doing the soccer run with the kids.

Why use retinol?
Topical retinoids, derivatives of  Vitamin A, were first used in patients who were being treated for acne. These patients reported smoother skin and less wrinkles after treatment, as well as having fewer blemishes. A study followed that showed patients who used topical retinoids demonstrated improvement in sunlight-induced epidermal atrophy (skin thinning), dysplasia (abnormal skin changes), and pigmentation. Overall, topical retinoids play a key role in reducing sun damage, preventing and reducing wrinkles and controlling acne.

Retinoids work by increasing the natural turnover rate of the skin. Therefore there are less dead skin cells at the surface of the skin and less blockages as a result. This property of retinoids also means that skin texture and fine wrinkles also improve.

What age would you recommend starting?
Early 30s

What strength retinol is appropriate?
4% retinol is ideal but patients may need time to work up to this dose.

How often should you use it?
Starting slowly is important to reduce side effects.  It is recommended that it be used only twice a week in the first 2 weeks, then alternative nights for the next 2 weeks, then every night. Sunscreen is also imperative with the use of retinoids as they can initially increase sun sensitivity.

Is flaking, peeling and redness a sign of a problem?
The downside of retinoids is the possibility of causing a response known as retinoic dermatitis. Skin can appear red, flaky, lumpy, and irritated for up to one month after commencement of retinoids. If redness and irritation occurs, frequency should be reduced. Some patients cannot use retinoids every night. Dryness or flakiness alone is OK and will settle within 2 months so patients should persevere.

How long do you need to use retinol products before you see a difference?
You can start to see a difference in the skin as early as 3 months of use.

What conditions would prevent someone from safely using retinol?
Retinoids should not be used in pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, or those planning to be pregnant. Also patients with a history of facial eczema or moderate to severe rosacea due to the higher risk of irritation.

Cat's Cult Beauty Brands


Valerie Gradury created Odacite skincare as a result of reinventing her lifestyle to eliminate as many toxins from her diet and environment as possible. Having been diagnosed with breast cancer, she took stock and quit her job, qualified as a health and wellness coach, and began to blend potent plant oils for skin.In 2009, five years after she made the changes to her own lifestyle, Valerie launched the pure plant Serum Concentrates.
I have been using the Olesomes Time Release Creme, which is the base to add the oils to, allowing them to be absorbed by the skin more gradually (overnight).
My two picks (of the many oil blends available!) are Vital Glow Serum (Wild Carrot) and Radiance Effect (Green Tea + Lemongrass).
Both smell like heaven - you will not want to just apply once. The Wild Carrot has a sweetness that wraps you up in a hug and the lemongrass is a hit of fresh, tangy, zesty green. Radiance AND aromatherapy all in one. I'd also love to try the Hyperpigmentation Serum (Papaya + Geranium) and Elasticity Serum (Marula + Neroli).


Cruelty Free. Natural. Made in Australia.
Direct from the state that does the Big Pineapple, surfers, parking meter women in bikinis and crocodiles, comes a skincare range that is gorgeously packaged and really delivers. I’ve featured Rubifresh on the blog in the past. I still love it.
My particular picks are the cleansing gel and cleansing oil. Both smell citrus tangy and will cleanse gently so that you don't feel you just removed your makeup AND every cell of moisture in your body.
I swear by the cleansers and the face and body scrubs. I’m yet to try the Pigmentation Serum but I will be and I will report back. Stay tuned.


There's three "Series" for the Hylamide range, which allow you to use the basic Core range, the specialised Booster range and the Finisher range, designed to blur pores, increase radiance and photographic finish (if you're selfie inclined. I am not.)
These are intense serums and the high concentration of active ingredients means if you have particularly sensitive skin, you may want to apply less product, less often.
I find the Vitamin C (Booster C25) is seriously skin texture nirvana, BUT it's super intense and I prefer to leave it on for two or three hours before bed and wash it off. If you regularly use vitamin C products, you might find you can leave it on all night without issue. I have no issue leaving Booster Radiance on and my recommendation would be to use this on face AND neck and chest to ensure you look radiant from forehead to chest rather than having that "I have been tanning in a turtleneck" look. I love the Low Molecular HA Rehydration Booster. Again, skin looks and feels smoother and I look MUCH less tired in the morning.




I'm new to the Elucent Whitening skincare range, but I'm loving it two weeks' in. This is not a bleach - the whitening refers to evening out any pigmentation caused by sun damage and hormonal imbalances. So, vitamin C, fruit extracts, vitamin E. saffron seed oil and Vitamin B are all combined in the cleanser, moisturisers, eye creams and exfoliators.
Clinical trials have shown improved and clearer skin at 12 weeks (96% respondents) and it's recommended that to see real, long lasting results, at least 3 months regular use should be committed to. Done!

A Good Night of Sleep

What We All Really Want for the New Year

Apart from world peace, naturally, I think we can all agree a restorative and rejuvenating full night of beauty sleep is top of the list.

Not only is it vital if you are a fitness junkie, but really if you want to look half alive, you'll want to prioritise sleep quality AND quantity. Essential for hormonal balance, muscle building and repair, skin cell renewal and mood stabilisation, you just can't replace this with a pill or compensate with some other activity!

So, having stocked up on beauty addiction-worthy products (have I raved about Deciem yet? Let me get to that..) and having more lipsticks than your average Sephora store, I am going to tell you the SINGULAR products you need to make all this beauty product mania not a total waste of time and money.
Silk pillowslips (that's right, your cheek and forehead are not going to freeze into a wrinkly Picasso-esque nightmare overnight) and silk eye mask.

While a silk pillowcase costs more than your average Kmart cover, you need to factor in how much you value your hair and face. Not only does silk mean your skin and face won't stick to your bed covering (hello wrinkles and spots) but your careful blow-dry and straight locks won't get hot, messy and knotty overnight. True.

100% mulberry silk pillowcases are recommended by dermatologists to improve complexion and avoid friction, dry skin, overheating (leading to rosacea inflammation and acne) and also to protect the scalp and hair from tearing and dryness.
I have a pillowcase and eye mask from The Goodnight Co - an Australian company founded by the beautiful and super friendly Shea and Danielle. These ladies are fabulous businesswomen and genuine champions of wellbeing and health.

My silk pillowcase and eye mask fit easily into my hand luggage for a flight. If you are a regular traveller, you need these!

Benefits:

  • Pure mulberry silk repels dust mites 
  • Prevents hair damage and friction
  • Prevents friction and bacteria build-up clogging skin and causing blemishes
  • No overheating which can aggravate rosacea and other skin conditions
  • Looks super luxurious - so Hollywood starlet!
  • Makes a great present

Check out The Goodnight Co on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Isa Brito - Brooklyn via Brazil: Handmade Herbal Skincare

Isa Brito is a photographer, herbalist and skin guru.

I first spotted her skincare line in a US magazine and when I went to do some research, I discovered photos that prove her skin is flawless. The beauty of natural products and Brazilian heritage!

Isa grew up in Minas Gerais Brazil, on a self sustained farm owned by her family.
Like so many brave and artistic souls before and after, Isa moved to New York in 1984 with barely any money or contacts. Not only did she build the photography collection that was exhibited as "Passengers"  but she also established Isa's Restoratives. This is an all natural, herbal and plant based beauty line that has a cult following in the US.
I also love that Isa is a music fiend - we are both digging The Weeknd and she's also a fan of James Blake, Blood Orange, Chilly Gonzales and Warpaint.
Determined that if I cannot buy Brazilian genes, I can at least invest in the skincare products and regime that Isa swears by. Mind you, she is also dedicated to eating organic, plant-based meals that are rich in antioxidants and quality protein. A balanced, plant-rich diet and high quality, natural products go a long way to giving you the glow. in all my email deletes i've freakin deleted isa brito! GODDAMN!
I absolutely love the Liquid Clay Cleanser - a blend of volcanic ash clay, french green clay, green tea, lavender and papaya enzymes has a cooling effect on the skin.
The blue beauty balm is a must too - honestly, I woke up with seriously glowing skin and in this humid, typical Melbourne weather and disrupted sleep, that's a miracle.
The Coconut Charcoal Face Mask draws out all the nasties while also nourishing with mineral, enzyme and natural oils of coconut. So hydrating and detoxifying. I totally recommend this on a Friday night or a Sunday night when you have to say goodbye to the day, the week, and start afresh.
I am double-timing that mask though! I am also adoring the Matcha Mask. As a matcha green tea drinker, I have experienced the desire to smear all that green, vitamin-infused goodness over my face. Now I can.
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My Frown Leaves Town and Microhydrodermabrasion for Flawless Skin

I have been getting Botox to my forehead frown lines for the past four years. I am careful to have enough to smooth out the lines without “freezing” my face!
As an instructor, I need some expression and it doesn’t appeal to me at all to look false or to fundamentally change my face.
I have a habit of raising my eyebrows and tensing my forehead constantly. If I’m lying in bed, I notice myself doing it before I go to sleep and first thing when I wake up. I do it when I’m at the computer, or reading, or focusing during a workout. It makes the world of difference to find myself NOT tensing and frowning without having to check in and force it!
It also makes me feel better about myself. I don’t feel any pressure from anyone else. I do it for me.

I am very fussy about who I allow to apply injections to my face. These days, a GP or the local beauty salon can advertise injectables with seemingly very little training or understanding of facial anatomy and biochemistry. Be warned – you want someone who has been practicing long enough to know their business, has a loyal clientele, proven qualifications, and someone who will explain to you what the process is, what the risks are, and what the time frame is around effects taking place then wearing off.
I go across Melbourne to Elwood to see Michael Clague at Facelove. Not only is he exceptionally skilled and experienced (conducting training on cosmetic injectables around Australia), but he is funny, friendly and genuinely loves his work. He understands that I don’t want to look frozen or like the sixth Kardashian sister! I just want to smooth out the forehead creases. I have 12 units of Botox, after which it takes about a week before I notice I’m not tensing and frowning.
Facelove is a small salon located on Glenhuntly Road. There is parking galore around the side streets and it is in a little haven back from the shops and upstairs. Unlike another centre I’ve been to, there is no video running that tells you all the things you could and should do to your face and body! There is a deep respect here for working with what you want and what you don’t want. Having said that, Michael has a portfolio of his work to give an indication of what results can be expected from treating different areas of the face whether with fillers or anti-wrinkle injections.
He is all about natural looking results. You can check out pictures of his clients and there’s also a guide that answers the most common questions.
If you’re more about skin treatments, Facelove also does IPLPhotorejuvenation, laser hair removal, and microhydrodermabrasion (SO SO SO GOOD! Joni B does it - see picture) .
The celebrities are all about their lips and one of the most popular treatments is lip augmentation. Mike insists on balance, symmetry and ensuring that there is no “overtreatment” and falsity about the look. There is a good indication of what to expect on the Facelove website. It’s not cheap, but it does last 9 – 12 months and if it makes you feel more confident and you’ve done your research and decided this is what you want, then make sure you book in with someone who you trust.
Now, I do have to admit I haven’t ever watched The Batchelor (which might make me the ONLY person in Melbourne!) but I know Facelove treat Joni and she is absolutely gorgeous so I’ll have what she’s having! As a major fan of microdermabrasion, my next appointment is the 7 step microdermabrasiontreatment 

Disclaimer! A doctor should always check that you are medically fit for this treatment.

You can book online 
Or call 1300 458 491