Detoxing The Skincare Cabinet

A recent Instagram photo made me realise just how many of you ladies treasure your beauty cabinets, but it also made me come to terms with the fact that mine is a hot mess of facial oils, AHA’s, cleansers, spritzes, sprays and serums. My skincare switches on a daily basis depending on how my skin is on a particular day. So if I feel a breakout on its way I’ll bring out the clay based masks and something with glycolic or salicylic acid, but if my skin’s particularly parched then it’s nothing a good facial oil won’t sort out.

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The beauty cabinet in question

My approach to skincare has fared well for me, but after a recent breakout brought on by indulging in a bowl of mac and cheese (quite depressing when it’s your favourite) I needed something to calm my skin down rather than blasting it with every harsh and drying acne product under the sun in an attempt to get my skin to behave. I had a large host of products to choose from, but I stuck with a select few and my skin calmed down in time. Realising that regardless of my hoarding ways, I only need a few things to get me by so I bring you the contents of a more streamlined skincare cabinet:

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Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel* – Where do I even begin? The smell? Like roses. Ingredients? Pumpkin enzyme, vitamins A, B2, C and E as well as starflower oil rich in Omega 6. Texture? Ignore the word ‘gel’ in Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel as it has more of a balmy texture but without the oil and grease of a cleansing balm. Something else that makes it different to a balm is that it emulsifies upon contact with water which might be great news for your washing machine. I can’t be the only one that’s had enough of washing muslin cloths all the time, right?

Perricone MD Hypoallergenic Gentle Cleanser* – Foaming cleansers only irritate my skin further, but this olive oil based cleanser free from parabens, sulphates, mineral oil and synthetic dyes is perfect for sensitive skin. Gentle cleansers hardly do a good job of cleansing but it passes the mascara removal test so it gets a thumbs up from me.

Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Facial Pads* – When you’re breaking out the first thing you should be keeping clear of are face scrubs, but what do you do when exfoliating works wonders for your skin? Glycolic acid. Gentle yet effective, the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Facial Pads have been a love of mine for quite some time. A quick wipe after cleansing in the evening and and you wake up to breakouts significantly calmer and brighter, smoother skin.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Infusion* – You couldn’t get me to commit to an eye cream until I recently discovered the Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Infusion earlier this year. Although I feel it’s better for someone a little older, considering my terrible sleeping pattern this eye serum works wonders with it keeping the under-eye area moisturised and puffiness free. Heavy on the pocket but the tiny bottle has lasted me since May and there’s no end in sight.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II* – An improvement on Estée Lauder‘s previous ANR serum, this not only repairs the skin but it purifies and really soothes. Still testing this out as it’s a new addition to the cabinet so I’ll keep you updated in time.

Vichy Idealia Life Serum* – Another serum here and this offering from Vichy is enriched with LR 2412 and LHA. New beauty jargon aside, the former is a skin repairing molecule derived from the jasmine plant while the latter comes from salicylic acid which is probably why my skin always clears up when I use it.

Essence of Morocco Facial Argan Oil* - I’ve previously written about the Essence of Morocco Facial Argan Oil so I’ll be keeping this short, but it’s the one thing that’s made the most significant difference. Rather odd that a facial oil can work so well at soothing acne prone skin, but it does.

Estée Lauder DayWear Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant UV Defense Broad Spectrum SPF50* – You’ve probably gathered just how into Estée Lauder I am by now. However the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Facial Pads call for SPF as it may increase photosensitivity. The dilemma with SPF is that it can cause the skin to breakout, but the DayWear and my skin get along fine.

Frankly I Love It

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Ahh, frankincense. The scent of my childhood. My mother would burn frankincense resin that family would bring back from trips to Somalia over coal to scent the house every chance she got – after cooking and cleaning, before guests would visit, special occasions like Eid and whenever else she felt like it. It’s not a very modern scent, but it’s a familiar one that brought back many a fond memory once I cracked open this bottle of frankincense essential oil I ordered from Naturally Thinking to add to future mixstress concoctions. The great thing is that it’s so versatile; I can mix it into body lotion for a post-workout massage or make a foot softening scrub with ground pumice, castor oil and a drop of peppermint and frankincense oil. Here’s a few more uses I’ve found:

Couple drops + facial oil = skin plumping, anti-ageing treat - After extensive research, the brains at Decléorfound that frankincense can increase collagen production by 119%, so adding a few drops of the stuff to your facial oil (my oil of choice being Essence of Morocco’s Facial Argan Oil*) will leave your skin looking brand new in no time.

Turn that frown upside down - Frankincense is a known mood lifter so when you’ve got the blues or it’s that time of the month, it might help to add some drops to a reed diffuser.

Post workout pain be gone - A personal trainer once said ‘it hurts so good’, but no matter what you tell me an hour long kettlebell workout hurts bad. There’s nothing like a hot bath with a splash of frankincense to soothe that much hated but very inevitable post-workout ache.

Personal Perfumer - As much as I love buying fragrance and dousing myself with perfume at counters, I find pleasure in making my own. I’ll melt some beeswax and shea butter, then add some drops of frankincense, rose and patchouli essential oils to create something that’s completely unique.

The Clarisonic Cleanser Dilemma

IMG_6296If there’s one thing that defines 21st century beauty trends it would have to be the Clarisonic. Beehive, 60′s and the Clarisonic, 2010′s. So you can imagine my excitement at the Clarisonic team sending me the Mia 2* to try. It’s been a couple of weeks, so nothing to really write home about as of yet, but there’s just one thing I’ve been occupied with – finding the right cleanser to pair it with.

To avoid breaking out and over exfoliation I use the Clarisonic around twice a week, so nights when I’m not Clarisonic-ing are spent double cleansing with a balm and flannel, then a gel cleanser. I like the feeling of a balm or oil as they’re always so luxurious and gentle on the skin, and best at removing makeup and dirt so in an attempt to recreate that with the Clarisonic the Antonia Burrell Natural Glow Cleansing Oil*, celebrity makeup artist and Clarisonic ambassador Daniel Sandler‘s cleanser of choice has been tried and tested. The cypress, tea tree, lavender and castor seed make it a treat for the skin alone, but paired with the Clarisonic and I’m left feeling like I need more. Same with the Perfectly Clean 3-in-1 Cleanser/Toner/Remover from Estee Lauder*.

IMG_6297So I’ve ruled out oils and balms, leaving me down to cleansers of a foamier persuasion. Nothing too foamy for fear of it drying out my skin, but I find that the Clarisonic works best for me with a cleanser that foams up, so cleansers in the shortlist are Cetaphil‘s Gentle Skin CleanserAstalift’s Moisture Foam Cleanser* and SkinCeutical’s Blemish + Age Cleansing Gel- all great but there’s still room for that perfect pairing with my Mia 2, so I’m open to your suggestions ladies!

Merumaya Skin Brightening Exfoliating Peel

IMG_3694I think it’s a well established fact that I’m a lover of glycolic acid; with the things it does for my skin, why wouldn’t I be? It treats a plethora of concerns whether it be dull looking skin, acne, flakiness or uneven skin tone so it’s somewhat of a skincare heavyweight. However, my love for the stuff didn’t stop me from leaving a load of my favourite products behind in London. Living between London and Saudi Arabia has its perks, but as a last minute packer I’m prone to leaving a few things behind at either place leaving me in a panic about how my skin will ever cope without my beloved ingredient.

My packing technique consists of me just rummaging through my boxes and beauty cabinet, throwing whatever I feel like into my skincare bag and calling it a day. It’s resulted in me taking one too many moisturisers with me, not enough cleanser and the Merumaya Skin Brightening Exfoliating Peel* which had me jumping for joy and giving myself a pat on the back the minute I read the word ‘peel’ even if I don’t remember packing it. It’s a small travel-size sample from a fairly new skincare brand called Merumaya, founded by Maleka Dattu a renowned cosmetics executive at a number of brands including OriginsLancôme and Clinique. Here’s the lowdown on the Skin Brightening Exfoliating Peel:

“Formulated using dual technology of optimally dosed glycolic acid integrated with pomegranate enzymes; drier skins absorb moisture treatments more effectively, troubled skins are clarified and clearer, every skin type is re-texturised, brighter, smoother, clearer and more vibrant. This uniquely formulated peel, gently eliminates dead skin cells at the surface, to reveal the underlying radiance and natural luminosity of your skin. Aloe vera and humectants help maintain the right moisture balance, allantoin and a high strength calming complex soothe the skin during and after the peel. Leaves a freshly renewed complexion, as if the years were peeled away”.

Being in my early 20′s I wouldn’t say that I necessarily need years peeling away, but it wouldn’t hurt to incorporate a peel into your skincare routine for times when your skin’s looking dull, pores are congested and you’re breaking out. The peel isn’t significant enough that you’d notice a big difference with one use unlike a peel at a salon, but skin is most definitely softer, brighter and breakouts gradually become a thing of the past with regular use.

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