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 Foods: The Recipes, The Aussie Skincare Brand To Know & Fake Tan Tried & Tested


Every year at around this time, beauty and fitness experts make their predictions for what will be trending in the next 12 months. I won't bore you with my magical predictions but I will champion some trends that have begun this year and will pick up pace into 2018 because they work.


Beauty Supplements are nothing new - Hair, Skin and Nails tablets and capsules have been around forever but now the trend is for wholefoods, herbal and protein rich powders that can be added to smoothies, infused in water or diluted in juices. Elle McPherson brought out her own brand, The Beauty Chef has her own custom blends and now Vita-Sol have brought out a range of wholefood powders. Each blend combines organic superfoods, traditional and ayurvedic herbs and plants with pure protein to slow down the ageing process. I've been taking the Infinity Blend (vegan, gluten free) with collagen powder and almond milk every morning. I also take Swisse supplements for skin and liver function.

Eating for health, strength, muscular and joint integrity and with an awareness that our skin, hair, nails and overall beauty is inherently the result of how we eat, move, sleep and work. I think the whole "clean" eating moral judgements on food is toxic, don't get me wrong. But there is a lot to be said for choosing foods that we love and also have nourishing properties for our bodies: unprocessed veggies, fruits, seafood, meat, legumes and a moderate amount of coffee (working on that!). I've been luxuriating in Beauty Food by Lola Berry. Recipes are below.



Every day I try to take a moment or several to remind myself I'm very fortunate to live in a time, place and in circumstances that allow me to take care of my body and my mind with freedom. I shower, I moisturise, I dress and I appreciate that for all the criticisms I've had of my own body, it is mine. I live in this skin, I've grown up in this skin, this body is much more valuable than I sometimes remember. I treat my shower and moisturising and makeup and dressing each day as a ritual of preparation for living. As a way to look after my body because she does a lot for me. I've been using new Australian skincare from Olive Oil Skin Care Co. The Rose Geranium Body Wash and Citrus Revival Body Butter smells gorgeous and the packaging is divine.

This time of year it gets super hot, super fast. As someone with naturally pale and an inability to naturally tan (straight to red!) I fake it. My parents have had multiple skin cancer scares and I don't have any desire to risk it. Plus prolonged sun exposure is ageing - I don't need that. I've used a zillion tanning products and there's only a few I truly recommend because they are streak-free, completely natural looking, easy to apply and they don't go all streaky and uneven as they fade. The pick of the pack is absolutely Bondi Sands (Ultra Dark please) and Eco Tan by Sonya Driver.

Recipe Time. Get Beautiful From The Inside Out (Happy Thoughts Will Radiate From Your Skin Like Sunbeams)

Recipes and images extracted from Beauty Food by Lola Berry, published by Plum, RRP $24.99, available now. For further information visit: https://www.panmacmillan.com.au/9781760552671/





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

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




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.



Holiday Gift Guide for Wellness, Fitness and Beauty Addicts

Who doesn't have that last minute panic of What On EARTH Do I Give Jane, Rosie, Steph...etc? Here's the simple, straightforward guide to what's out there that makes a great gift for the wellness oriented pals in your life.

Bobbi Brown Wine & Chocolate Nail & Palettes

It used to be very much that makeup and beauty and supplements were all about what you don't have, what you want to conceal, what you are deeply lacking and need to spend all your hard earned moolah on to ensure you are fulfilled.

In fact, many brands and media still push this idea.

Thankfully, there are some brands out there with a message that is really positive. Sure, they're still selling you things, but there is not that toxic message that you need this because you are inherently lacking and this is the answer.


The latest collection is Wine & Chocolate. Divine, of course! A full range of eyeshadows, lipsticks, blush and to-die-for nail hues in beige, crimson, grape, chocolate and ballet pink. I'm obsessed with nail polish in Chocolate and brightening blush in Pink Truffle.

Onzie Activewear

Made in LA by yoga devotees FOR yoga devotees. I have Onzie leggings and capris that I still wear daily after 5 years and they look exactly as they did when I first wore them. These aren't 3-wears-and-a-wash style activewear that quickly gets consigned to the donation bin. 
There's an all new collection just out for men and women - that's right! Onzie has a men's range and a children's range so you could dress your family, friends and workmates in matching outfits.

My hopes are entirely pinned on those leopard shaper leggings. A burgundy open back hoodie? I wouldn't say no, Santa.

philosophy Fragrance

Every year, philosophy releases limited edition Christmas bath and body goodies which are beautiful to look at and divine to smell. The tried and true longstanding favourite of mine and many others is amazing grace. The box features the philosophy behind the name and the fragrance and on opening, there's a little message: "believe in miracles".
I love being reminded of this each time I go to spritz it on and I do think to myself - be amazingly graceful!



House of Matcha tea

What an awesome discovery THIS has been! House of Matcha does high-grade matcha green tea. It is neon, kryponite coloured and the special set comes with a whisk, bowl and an easy-to-follow set of instructions for preparing your matcha. The preparation is key.
The limited edition gift set is the perfect present for the dedicated matcha lover or your friend, mother, daughter, husband who is all about wellness but hasn't discovered the deep joy of matcha green tea powder. I drink it as a tea and also use the powder as a seasoning for fish and vegetable dishes. I've also seen it used to flavour smoothies and chia seed pudding. Get creative! As they say, "800 years of Japanese practice and perfection" is pretty reliable.


Super Green Beauty Buys

There's a real explosion of brands new and old doing fabulous #greenbeauty products. What's this? Cruelty free, natural-based products that harness the power of plants, oils, environmentally friendly packaging and sustainably produced and manufactured ingredients.
These used to be ridiculously expensive products only available via luxury stores or, at the other end of the spectrum, packaged in ugly brown boxes at the local organic co-op. Thankfully, a rise in consumer demand for ethical, beautiful, luxurious and yet affordable beauty products means you have a treasure trove of Australian and international brands and products to opt for. I've tried, tested and truthfully recommend the following.

For cleansing, Sukin Purifying Gel Cleanser and the Super Greens Facial Scrub are divinely scented, gentle and under $15 each. In fact, the Super Greens is my favourite range (the face moisturiser is a must) and post workout shower time is 100% better with the Botanical Lime Coconut Body Wash. No sulphates and no parabens in any of these products!

Botani is a small, local operation that does beautifully packaged, scented skincare that is environmentally conscious, designed to nourish the skin and also the soul. I know that sounds hokey! I just breathe this in as I'm using it though, and I know it's one of a small batch, not created in some massive factory without heart. It's available at health food stores, Go Vita, Priceline and Great Earth. I especially adore the Acai Berry Active Antioxidant Serum (it's berry, berry good!) and the Boost Balancing Moisturiser for non greasy hydration.
Simple is available all over Australia and online. It's also super affordable for budget beauty babes. The name says it all really. Nothing but the basics and really, you don't want to settle in with a mug of tea and a blanket to have to read through the ingredients list of your skincare. I use their new Aqua-Lock Cleansing Facial Wipes for the post-workout, pre-shower period where you just don't want to get sweat and germs all over your iPhone. The Hydrating Cleansing Oil is ideal for when I've been overdoing the retinol and just need to use something really gentle and non violent.


J'adore this Swiss nail polish and nail care range. Sure, Mavala doesn't have the fancy, funny names like OPI, but it does have the most gorgeous mini nail polishes and if you are a creature who loves change and tends to only use nail polish 10 or so times before the next colour beckons, you won't need full sized lacquers. These are also 5 free, cruelty free and definitely get the Green Beauty prize for nail care. Fabulous range of colours too. Those Swiss beauty designers are way ahead of the game on knowing what the international fashionistas are going to want to opt for in regards to colours. From neutrals through to pastels, brights, gothic to glam, not a colour missing from the range. Love Alpine Green and Blue Curacao mini nail lacquers, and the lip liner in Innocent Pink for an everyday, subtle definition to the lips. I'm all about pencils.
The Body Shop is an international green beauty and wellbeing name that everyone knows. Begun by an entrepreneurial and ethically driven woman with a vision for beautiful products that emphasise sustainable ingredients, manufacturing, fairtrade and supporting farming communities. There is no doubting that vision carries through to this day and while all the classic fragrances and ranges are still going strong (Vanilla, White Musk, Vitamin C) it is some of the newer ranges that are truly exciting me! As a banana paddlepop devotee, the banana shampoo and conditioner is heaven for me. I am also all about a fresh, citrus scent and Pink Grapefruit body mist and the eau de parfum has the perfect balance of sweet and zingy. It can be worn alone or layer the body mist with something a little more herby like sage or jasmine based lotion or eau de parfum.

Avalon Organics does a great range of Vitamin C based skincare as well as their popular lavender range. I use the Vitamin C cleanser, Lavender scrub, Vitamin C Toner and moisturiser. No nasties, just simple formulas that are potent. There's a reason you will easily find Avalon Organics at health food and organic stores. People who care about what they put in and on their bodies are fans of this brand and have been for decades. Vegan, no false fragrances and no synthetics or parabens.

Burt's Bees does the basics with pizzazz, from moisturisers to hand creams, baby powder and lip balms to the new range of makeup that is gorgeously packaged in honeycomb inspired columns. I adore the beeswax based lip and face products. They are fabulously packaged, deliciously scented and sustainably, ethically produced and sourced. I adore the Baby Bee Skin Creme as an all-round balm (even nostril balm come hayfever season!) and any and all of the cleansers.

Eminence Organics is an award winning green beauty cult brand. I have been guilty of opening jars of blueberry and acai berry spiked serums and desperately wanting to eat them! The smell is so divinely pure and genuine, you could believe you were about to coat your face in strawberry puree. While it's not a budget buy, you absolutely get the quality you pay for. I adore Coconut Milk Cleanser (very gentle, very yummy) and the Sweet Red Rose Tonique (will make you want to get out and literally smell the roses!)
Certified organic, Australian beauty brand The Divine Company is a new player in the green beauty game. They hit David Jones stores in Australia only this month! I predict a riot, as some Britpop lads would say. Now, look, I'm as sceptical of marketing messages as any smart, savvy shopper, but in fact I really like what The Divine Company state on their website. They acknowledge that many beauty products and brands are entirely about the external appearance whereas beauty and self-care are much more about being elements of a holistic approach to wellbeing. I've been using The Miniature Series which is excellent, again, for the gym bag or for throwing in your carry-on bag when travelling. Try ACO Organic Certified Illuminating Day Cream and the Purifying Series (cleanser, toner, day cream).
As a pineapple and coconut scent addict, the whole (ALL AUSTRALIAN) bx Earth range totally appeals to me. Fortunately, it is super affordable (you'll find it at the local supermarket!) so you can afford to nab every scent combination. My tips? Desert Lime and Coconut hand wash and Pineapple and Coconut. It's like a G-rated mojito for your body!
Promising to "be friendly to your skin, and the environment" - I genuinely love the playful approach they have taken to product packaging, names and the level of care and consideration they've put into using quality ingredients and crafting the most appealing scents and formulations. Try You Scrub Up Well and Good Morning Sunshine (citrus fresh tangerine!)

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.

February Skincare, Beauty, Activewear and Fitness News

As you know, I'm Miss Fussypants when it comes to skincare, makeup and activewear.
If it doesn't do what it says it will do, it's out! Plus my skin is prone to breakouts if I use skincare or makeup that blocks my pores or has nasties in it. 
I have been using some serious clinical strength toner and whitening serum (take THAT, pigmentation!) from Medik8 so I'm balancing it out with a milky, gentle cleanser from Embryolisse ($35 at Scotty's Makeup). I'm also using the Lait-Creme Concentre overnight ($20 at Scotty's Makeup), layered over the pore refining toner ($39 at Medik8).
The Pore Refining Toner is alcohol free and while the witch hazel cleanses and attacks blackheads and other pore clogging yuckies, the aloe vera softens and soothes. If you leave it right next to your cleanser, you won't forget to use it morning and evening. 
When it comes to makeup, I have used everything from supermarket brands through to mega labels but it's important to note that Maybelline and Lancome are both owned by L'Oreal so there will be an equally uniform approach to quality makeup with both brands. For that reason, I have used Lancome foundation and actually PREFER Maybelline! It lasts through yoga, working out, the ever changing Melbourne climate AND I don't break out or dry out. My pick is the Dream Mousse Liquid ($22.95 at Priceline).


What's new and noteworthy in lips? Burt's Bees have always done kickass lip balms but now they've branched into lipstick. Joy! The packaging is reason alone to Add to Cart. The lid is like a little block of super chic honeycomb. Cruelty free and natural, of course. Stay tuned to their page for availability.


I've mentioned Australis Velourlips before. Matte liquid lip paints are my passion. I mean, yoga and dance, literature and travel and yoga pants of COURSE, but closely followed by lip paint. I was a teenager in the 90s, so perhaps that explains my deep love of matte lips. I just hate the gloss and goo of some lip products. I want my lip colour to last from the moment I apply it through to when I WANT to remove it! So it must last through me talking, sweating, drinking coffee and sweating, and talking. Velourlips ($10.49 at Priceline) is a cult product and it's so cheap, you can indulge in a few and either wear solo or try blending colours to customise.

As for concealers and foundations, what if I told you you could get PERFECT coverage without any blemishes and it would last through yoga, CrossFit, barre, pilates, running half a mile and even a sneaky post work coffee?
I have just discovered Mirenesse concealer and foundation. It's a cult brand amongst beauty and makeup professionals. Now I know why. I've been using the Ballet Pink CC Concealer. It's perfect for lightening under they eyes AND blemishes.
No wonder it's a hit at Sephora.
I'm also using their Velvet Maxi Lift Airbrush Line Treatment Foundation. It is going to make me eternally youthful and spot free while looking flawless. Sold!

Mirenesse lip liners are also my new obsession. Because long after your lipstick has transferred to the mid morning apple, your lip liner will be going strong. Because one is never enough, you can select from the duo of your choice. Mine is Forbidden Ink Natural Nudes.


As for activewear, SO much to wear, such a short life. Don't settle for less than "OM MY GOODNESS!" worthy pants, crops, tanks and sneakers. 
Onzie are the LA yoga crew who keep producing perfect fits, cuts, shapes and prints for yogis who want to look chic but also really need to be able to go from downward dog to peacock to eight-legged pose without hearing rrrriiiipppppp. These are yoga clothes made for yoga. The new Dreamer Collection is well named, because if you dream of yoga gear (guilty) this is exactly what you'd come up with. I am in love with the Candy Cloud print (pastel, feminine but fit). I also love Igloo. There's so much black, navy and grey happening in the gym. It's almost funereal. If you insist on needing dark pants, at least add some electric lights (Krypton leggings, pictured right).

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!

Rickys NYC Beauty Haul

New York is a city of landmarks. From the Empire State Building to the Sex and The City style fashionistas, yellow taxi cabs and of course, the Manhattan skyline at night.
What beauty addicts in New York already know, and what I’m a new inductee to, is that New York is also the home of Rickys NYC. Sure, Jay Z and Alicia Keys didn’t include this in their ode to the city, but little known is that they wrote a WHOLE ALBUM about this place! (this is a lie, but they should have. Maybe I will.)

From cult beauty to the most insane, incredible walls and aisles of colours, textures, serums, lotions, lipsticks, paints, shadows, powders, hair extensions, eyelash curlers... you name it, it’s there in fifty shades and sizes. Get me to New York, New York!
So my travel budget has been chewed up for this year, but thankfully, you can order online. In fact, getting a box of beauty goodies plonked on your doorstep for delayed gratification is one of the most rewarding and exciting occurrences known to beauty junkies.


nugg facemasksNugg Facemasks
 Deep cleansing cucumber extract and jojoba, soothing shea butter and chamomile, exfoliating cranberry seed and jojoba beads, and revitalizing flaxseed and peppermint oil. Every mood your skin pulls (like a cranky toddler, right?) has a fix in these masks. Colour coded and smelling delightful, of course, these are high-tech masks using natural oils and promise not to dry out skin with their gentle formulas. Perfect for stashing in your travel case, gym bag or handbag for post-workout or just post-work skin revival.

Petite Bunny Gloss Bar, RickyCare Soft Touch Eyelash Curler, RickyCare Cleansing Wipes
It’s a gloss with a bunny head. What more do you want?
Eyelash curlers for those girls who need a bit more oomph to their eyelashes. Thankfully I was blessed with dark and naturally curly lashes, but they’re pink. What’s a girl to do?
I feel so Marilyn Monroe wielding them too. Cleansing wipes are an obvious call. With a lipstick collection at least the size of a small island, I feel it’s necessary to use at least 4 shades per day. This requires cleansing and starting over. There’s also the small issue of that “Glow” from post-workout face that is definitely nothing like sweat. It’s a glow. Cleansing is good, regardless, if you don’t want your glow to result in a whole lot of spots and blackheads.

Z Palette, Makeup Blender, False Eyelashes, Hair Clips
While a girl can never have enough makeup, obviously, there comes a time when you need to travel with it and you need to make that decision: What To Take and What To Leave?
This is where the Z Palette comes in handy. Get out a spoon or a scooping utensil of any description, take travel size quantities and put them in your little customisable palette with magnets. Then arrange. Voila! All your favourites, in an orderly, neat little package! Also perfect for gifting.
False eyelashes for the butterfly effect. Save them for a big occasion, or do as the most stylish women in the world do and decide that any day, any time is a big occasion and don them today.
A makeup sponge previously seemed to me to be purely for Makeup Artists. But since everyone is doing the selfie, instagram star thing these days, it appears that we are all amateur makeup artists! So the playing field is levelling a little and the tools the professionals wield can be ours. It’s cute and blue and makes my foundation flawless. You don’t absolutely NEED one, but if you wear foundation regularly and you love your tools, do it. Hair clips for pinning your tresses out of your face for makeup and eyelash application. And they have bows! Who could resist? Also good for avoiding the fringe-in-face during your workouts.


Lip Tar, Lip Stain, Lip Gloss, Lip Paint
For all the amazing makeup products out there, I will NEVER never tire of lip colours. Any. All. Gloss, shine, matte, neutral, dark, light...I love it all.
One might say I’m obsessed. Which is particulary fitting, because my biggest haul is Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics vegan lip tar, lip gloss, and lip stains in matte and metallic shades from mauve and orange to neutral. SO good. I didn’t want to be totally one-track minded so I also have a lip tint mousse from LA Splash in Nymphaea which is suitably Kylie Jenner-lips worthy. There is a colour for you. Check out the below swatches of OCC Lip Tar.