Month: December 2015

2015 Flash Back

Needless to say, a LOT has happened this year in the Beauty world but I cannot possibly capture every single event here.

Hope the New Year brings us many more launches, and bring back some discontinued products (referring to The Body Shop Nutriganics range).

Hope you have safe, healthy and happy holidays.

2015 has been the year of Pipette!!!

Every magical potion came from a Pipette! Serums, Oils, Acids, Peels



Blue Tansy – The ‘IT’ Ingredient of 2015

Some brands that have incorporated the Blue Tansy oil and brought it to the forefront of consumers, Sunday Riley, Herbivore Botanicals, Aster + Bay, May Lindstrom and Raaw in a Jar.


Caroline Hirons collaborated with Cult Beauty for Curated Beauty Boxes

CH for CB 1CH for CB 2

Launch – Lisa Eldridge’s labour of love – Face Paint

lisa eldridge book

Launch – H&M Beauty

hm beauty

Launch – Sephora Beauty Boxes

sephora launch

Launch – Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection

RT Bold Metals Launch

Launch – Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette


Discontinued – The Body Shop Nutriganics


My Skincare Database

skincare database

My Self Imposed Mission Empties


DIY Experiments

Face Masks, Bath Salts, Facial




Face Oils over Moisturizers?


In this post, I will unravel the worst kept secret, I prefer oils over moisturizers. WHY you may ask? Before we proceed, I need to clarify on the onset, by NO means am I being conclusive on oils over moisturizers, and neither am I claiming to be 100% Green Beauty person. I love my scientific skincare just as much and have no problems with laboratory generated ingredients. Neither am I saying one is superior to the other; it’s a matter of making an informed and educated choice for your skin. And eventually we all want something that works and does its job as it claims.

Moving on…..Over the last couple of posts we’ve been through, types of oils, their formulation, and extraction processes which impact overall quality of oil. I’m blatantly assuming you already know some, if not all benefits of oils.

Any basic oil formulation is a well measured and balanced blend of carrier and essential oils to benefit the skin. However, moisturizers are a slightly different story. Let’s start with analyzing, some popular oils and their ingredient listing.

Left pic – MV Organic Rose Booster Plus

Camellia (Camellia Sinensis) Oil*,  Jojoba (Simmondsia Chinesis) Oil*, Rosehip (Rosa Canina Fruit) Oil*, Rose (Rosa Damascena) Oil, Geranium (Pelargonium Roseum) Oil, Vitamin E non GM (Tocopherol), Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) Extract* With essential oil of: Rose Otto and Rose Geranium  (* Organically Grown)

Right pic – Essano Rosehip Oil

Rosa Canina (Rosehip), Fruit Oil (Ingredients from organic farming), Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Pulp Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate (VitaminE).

Now focusing the ingredient listing specifically on moisturizers. In the spirit of simplifying ingredient listing, you need to only focus on bold ingredients (bottom of the post).

Generally, all moisturizers start with Water/Aqua. Once you add water to any formulation, you need to add other classes/categories of ingredients to achieve right consistency, texture, absorption properties and longevity in a formulation.

Please note: This list is not expected to contain all ingredients in the products below; instead it is intended to identify different categories/classes of ingredients added to a typical moisturizer formulation with some examples of ingredients in each category. The list of ingredients in the beauty world is exhaustive.

  • Surfectants – PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate, PEG-80 sorbitan laurate, and PEG-40 stearate are mild cleansing agents, Laureth-7
  • Alcohols – Benzyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Alcohol Denat (most drying but in some formulations its necessary), Batyl Alcohol
  • Skin Conditioning – Propylene Glycol, Methylsilanol Hydroxyproline Aspartate
  • Emollients – Panthenol, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Acetate
  • Emulsifiers/Thickener – Paraffin, PEG (-4, -6, -8, -10, -12, -14, -16, -18, -32, -40 -100 Stearate, -150, -200, -350) Sodium Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 20,40,60,80, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Carbomer, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate
  • Silicone – Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, acrylates/dimethicone copolymer, cetyl dimethicone, caprylyl methicone, dimethicone crosspolymer, methyl trimethicone, polysilicone-11, siloxane, triethoxycaprylylsilane, vinyl dimethicone/methicone silsesquioxane crosspolymer, methicone
  • Preservatives – Phenoxyethanol, Borax, diazolidinyl urea (releases formaldehyde, should be avoided), sodium benzoate, sodium citrate, sorbic acid, Parabens (isobutylparaben, methylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben, methylparaben, and ethylparaben)

These don’t necessarily imply the ingredients are “bad”, “toxic”, “harmful” ingredients. I guess it’s a matter of making an informed choice if you’d like to apply all these to your skin or directly apply oils (in its purest form….as much as possible). I chose the latter for my skin, as it works just fine for me. So whilst majority of the times, I prefer oils and balms for my skin occasionally I love the ritual of opening a jar of thick whipped white cream, dipping my fingers in the jar and slathering the cream all over my skin. It’s a different sense of pleasure in that ritual.

Side Note

When you’re reading your ingredient listing Mineral Oil can be listed in various names such as C13-14 Isoparaffin, Petrolatum, Paraffinum liquidum, Paraffin Oil, Liquid Paraffin, White oil, Hydrocarbon oil, Petroleum Hydrocarbon.

Ingredient Lists for you to peruse:

Tula Skincare Night and Day Cream

Water (Aqua), Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Squalane (plant derived), Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Lactose, Milk Protein, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Yogurt Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Cichorium Intybus (Chicory) Root Extract, Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract, Vegetable Oil, Camelina Sativa Seed Oil, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, Ascorbic Acid, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Citrullus Vulgaris (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Fruit Extract, Bulnesia Sarmientoi Wood Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Juniperus Mexicana Oil, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Sodium Lactate, Sodium PCA, Sodium Carbonate, Polysorbate 80, Polysorbate 20, Beeswax (CeraAlba), Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide, Tetrasodium EDTA, Disodium EDTA, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol

Dr Scheller Lavender Night Cream for Sensitive Skin


Context Skin Night Cream

Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Squalane, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Stearic Acid, Sodium PCA, Dimethicone, Polysorbate 20, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Hydrolyzed Elastin, Hydrolyzed Silk, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Panthenol, Ethylhexylglcerin, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, o-Cymen-5-ol, Phenoxyethanol.

Clarins Hydra Quench Cream

Water, Glycerin, Diethylhexyl Succinate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Silica, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dipentaerythrityl Tetrahydroxystearate/Tetraisostearate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Polyacrylamide, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Ethylhexyl Glycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium PCA, Tetrasodium EDTA, Butylene Glycol, Dimethiconol, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Tocopherol, Laureth-7, Cedrelopsis Grevei Bark Extract, Pentylene Glycol, Pyrus Sorbus Bud Extract, Biosaccharide Gum-4, Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Lapsana Communis Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbic Acid, Potassium Sorbate

CLINIQUE Moisture Surge Intense For Very Dry To Dry Combination Skin

Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Squalane, Disteardimonium Hectorite, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat Bran) Extract, Ahnfeltia Concinna Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Extract, Caffeine, Whey Protein\Lactis Protein, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Powder, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria), Cholesterol, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Sodium Hyaluronate, Petrolatum, PEG-150, Sucrose, Pyridoxine Dipalmitate, Linoleic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, Citric Acid, Polysilicone-11, Propylene Carbonate, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, PEG-8, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol

Kate Somerville Deep Tissue Repair Cream with Peptide K8™

Water, Stearic Acid, Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Isopropyl Myristate, Isocetyl Stearoyl Stearate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil,Squalane, Cholesterol, Urea, Sodium PCA, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Silk Powder, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Triethanolamine, Butylene Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Xanthan Gum, Polyquaternium-51, Trehalose, Tocopheryl Acetate, Fragrance, Allantoin, Limonene, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ceramide 2, Citric Acid, PEG-10 Rapeseed Sterol, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Tribehenin, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Triacetin, Copper PCA, Hexyl Cinnamal, Benzoic Acid, Geraniol, Disodium EDTA.

Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer

Water, Pentaerythrityl Tetracaprylate/Tetracaprate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Isocetyl Stearate, Dimethicone, Sodium Polyacrylate, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Nylon-6, Behenyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Octanoate, Xylitolglucoside, Anhydroxylitol, Xylitol, Algae Extract, Pullulan, Ahnfeltia Concinna Extract, Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Trideceth-6, Triethanolamine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol.

Kate Somerville Nourish Daily Moisturizer

Water, Cetyl Lactate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Butylene Glycol, Triethanolamine, Chlorphenesin, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Parfum/Fragrance, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Carbomer, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Disodium EDTA, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Polysorbate 20, Retinyl Palmitate, Limonene.

Zelens Stem Cell Rejuvenating Overnight Treatment

Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Ethylhexyldodecanol, Phytosteryl Canola Glycerides, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Propylene Glycol, Methylsilanol Hydroxyproline Aspartate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Polysilicone-11, Butylene Glycol, Polyacrylamide, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Acrylate/Carbamate Copolymer, Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Ozonized Oryza Sativa Callus Culture Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Laureth-7, Parfum (Fragrance), Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Xanthan Gum, Dextran, Salicylic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-2, Linalool, Helichrysum Italicum Extract, Trifluoroacetyl Tripeptide-2, Pentapeptide-31.


Decoding Oils – Edition 2


(Photo Image:

Generally we dont query the  source or form of extraction employed when we buy our face oil, body oil, cleansing oil, hair oil or any oil. Although having the knowledge at your finger tips is vaulable in case you doubt the quality of oil and have questions around its extraction processes. This edition intends to provide you with knowledge of various types of extraction employed for different ingredients so you can gauge the quality and integrity of the essential oil you’re using.

Oil extraction is a very complex area. I’m making a humble attempt to keep it high level and approach the topic with minimal jargon. By no means, I want to bombard you with information and kill your interest in this area. Having said that, here are some points to note:

  • Different ingredients require different methods of extraction due to its individual properties
  • Different methods of extraction determine the degree of quality for each oil (including consistency & texture of oils) especially when heat and additives are involved

The table below shows, each class of oil (as talked about in Edition 1) and appropriate methods employed:

Carrier oil Cold pressed, Expeller Pressed, Infusion, Centrifuge or Solvent Extracted
Essential Oil Distillation (steam, vacuum and hydro), Cold Press, Solvent (although much debated method in Aromatherapy world)
Absolutes Solvent or Enfleurage
CO2 Extracts Hypercritical CO2 Extraction (not covered in this post)

Cold Pressed or Expression – Think of cold pressed juices, similar concept adopted to extract oil from seeds, nuts, kernels etc. This method helps the oil maintain its original properties, constituents and depth. This method ensures no therapeutic benefits are lost to heat. Possibly the top quality oil you can lay your hands on.

Expeller Pressed – A small amount of frictional heat is produced which is created by hydraulic presses. This makes the oil suitable and economical as a base for cosmetics because of its fairly undisturbed molecular state.

Centrifuge Extraction – This method is generally used for Virgin Coconut oil, where the coconut milk is spun in the centrifuge machine (and the oil separates, similar to the way cream separates from milk). This process is repeated a few times before pure oil is obtained. During the process, the temperature is closely controlled and monitored to keep the ingredients characteristics intact.

Due to the absence of very high heat in the extraction process, the oil is pure and retains its properties. It has a very mild aroma; although any form of heating will intensify the scent. Analogy: Think of raw food, uncooked it has a mild scent, you cook it and the delicious aroma intensifies.

Solvent Extracted: Sometimes, with some seeds, nuts or kernels, it is necessary to use a solvent (an additive to enable extraction, examples include petroleum ether, methanol, ethanol or hexane) to extract oil in order to make the extraction costs effective.

Upon final oil extraction, the solvent is removed from the oil, but a trace of percentage of the solvent may still be present in the final oil. Coconut, Palm, Grapeseed and Rice Bran are typically solvent extracted.

Some fragile flowers like Jasmine, Hyacinth, Narcissus and Tuberose cannot handle the heat of steam distillation (explained below). Therefore, solvent extraction method is employed to ensure the botanical properties remain intact and not lost to high temperatures. Essential oil extracted under this method is concentrated and close to the natural fragrance of the ingredient.

Controversy – Whilst solvent extraction is used extensively, some strongly believe that essentials oils from this method should not be used in Aromatherapy since a residue of the solvent may be present in the finished product. Some reports suggest, solvent residue of 6-20% is still present in the final extraction, but this was the case when Benzene was used as a solvent (no longer used as solvent as it is regarded as carcinogenic). Although, Hexane (a hydrocarbon) as a solvent, the residue goes down to about 10ppm (parts per million) and it is considered to be extremely low concentration of residue in the final product. After the ingredient has been treated with solvent, it produces a waxy aromatic compound called “concrete”.

Infusion/Macerate: This extraction method entails “infusing” the ingredients with the fat soluble properties of other botanicals. The ingredient selected is gently bruised and soaked in base oil for a set duration of time (something like bruising meat and then marinating). In some instances, the base oil is gently heated to encourage infusion. The composition is then filtered and additional material may be infused in the same oil a number of times (makes it more cost effective). The final oil is thoroughly filtered again to ensure any traces of plant particles are eliminated. The benefit of using oils from this extraction process is that the infused oil will contain the therapeutic properties of both the ‘marinating’ oil and original plant material.

Enfleurage (cold fat extraction process) – This method is usually adopted for flower petals that continue to give aroma even after harvesting. The petals remain in a greasy compound (animal or vegetable fats) for a few days or a couple of weeks (depending on the ingredient used) to allow the essence of petals to disperse into the compound.

Over a period of time the depleted petals are removed and replaced with a fresh harvest of petals. This process is repeated until the fatty compound mix is saturated with the essence. This process is repeated couple of times until the optimum saturation is achieved. When the mix has reached the saturation point, flowers are removed and the ‘enfleurage pomade’ – the fat and fragrant oil are then washed with alcohol to separate the extract from the remaining fat, which is then used to make soap. Long before the solvent extraction method was popular, flowers were extracted with enfleurage method in the Grasse region of Southern France.

As soon as the alcohol evaporates from the mixture you are left with the essential oil. This is a very labor intensive method of extraction, and needless to mention very costly way to obtain essential oil. Jasmine and Tuberose essential oils are extracted with this method. Today, Grasse continues to be one of the few areas in the world that continues to employ enfleurage as a method of extraction, although it is rare in the aromatherapy market due to the expense. If one finds a Jasmine enfleurage on the market, this would typically be considered an absolute (Source: Naha Org).



(Photo Image:

In the distillation process, ingredient is placed on a grid inside the still. The still is then sealed and depending upon the methods employed, steam or water slowly breaks through the ingredient to remove its volatile components. These volatile components rise upward through a connecting pipe that leads them into a condenser. The condenser cools the rising vapor back into liquid form. The liquid is then collected below the condenser. Since water and essential oil do not mix, the essential oil will be found on the surface of the water where it is drained. In some instances like that of Clove essential oil, the oil is heavier than water and is found at the bottom rather than the top.

1.Water distillation – The ingredients are completely immersed in water and the mixture is brought to a boil. The advantage of employing this method is the water acts as a barrier to prevent it from overheating and losing its properties. When the mixture cools down, the water and essential oil is separated and oil is decanted.

As a part of this process, the water that is separated is used, marketed and sold as ‘Floral Water or Hydrosol’ such as Rosewater, Orange Blossom water.

Water distillation can also be done at reduced pressure (under vacuum) to reduce the temperature to less than 100 degrees, which is beneficial in protecting the ingredients and the essential oils. As an example: Neroli oil is sensitive to heat and therefore will be successfully extracted using this method. Flip Side: Some ingredients contain high amounts of esters that don’t work well with this form of extraction. With extended exposure to hot water, the ingredient will start to break down the esters resulting in alcohols and carboxylic acids (e.g. Lavender).

2. Steam distillation – The ingredient is placed in a still and steam is introduced in the still. The hot steam enables release of aromatic molecules from the ingredient as the steam forces open the pockets where the oils are stored in the plant. These molecules are volatile oils which escape the plant and evaporate into steam.

The temperature of steam is rigorously controlled to ensure its just right to obtain the essential oil without impacting its integrity. If the temperature is too hot it may burn the plant and essential oil.

The evaporated steam (contains essential oil) is passed through cooling system to condense the steam. The resulting liquid separates water and essential oil.

Lavender is heat sensitive (thermolabile) and with this extraction method, the oil is not damaged and ingredients like linalyl acetate will not decompose to linalool and acetic acid.

Hydro diffusion (a type of steam distillation) – A relatively newer method of distillation, used for extracting essential oils from tough/solid materials like wood barks or seeds. The underlying difference between Hydro and Steam distillation method is the way steam is introduced in the still on the ingredients being extracted:

  • Hydro Diffusion – steam is introduced from top
  • Steam Distillation – steam is introduced from bottom

The condensation of the oil containing steam mixture occurs below the area where the ingredients are held in place by a grill. The main advantage of this method is that less steam is used (ensuring properties remain intact), shorter processing time and a higher oil yield.

Based on this information, you may be able to understand and appreciate why we pay so much for good quality, ethically sourced oils. My next post in thi series will unravel the worst kept secret: Why I prefer oils over moisturizers.


Insight – Bravura London


Amanda Elias the person behind the brand Bravura London & She is like any of us, a beauty obsessed mother of 3 adorable girls. Amanda’s passion for skincare and make-up started at an early age and now its been 18 years in the beauty industry.The motivating factor behind the ingenious creation of Bravura London is loving luxury without the price tag. Below is my chat with Amanda for an insight in Bravura London and her passion for skincare will be clearly evident.


1. A lot of your products have a strong presence of AHA’s, why did you specifically choose acids to develop your skincare range?

Exfoliation is so important for the skin but scrubs containing harsh particles such as nut kernels can cause little micro tears in the skin, we don’t notice these but they can cause irritation, dryness and breakouts. I discovered AHA’s and started to use them on my own delicate skin, even a face flannel used too firmly can break my skin yet I was able to use strengths as high as 50% glycolic acid on my face with no side effects! I also saw just how superior chemical exfoliation is to manual exfoliation, how it leaves the skin soft, glowing and healthy without that tight, shiny look or feel. I started supplying just glycolic acid, then customers started asking for other acids, then skincare and it all went from there.

2. Amanda you assist a lot of people with making right skincare choices from the line, in your experience and exposure to all the questions that come your way, what are the most common mistakes or myths people have?

The most common mistake is over exfoliation, whether it be using acids too often or using scrubs and acids, or very commonly, using products such as a sonic brush twice a day. Over exfoliation can cause irritation, dryness and very commonly, breakouts. As soon as I receive an email from a customer saying their skin is breaking out when using the acids, I’ll ask their routine, 99% of the time they’re over exfoliating. Not everyone can use acids of course, there are occasions where it’s simply too strong for the skin but more often than not, it’s over exfoliation.

The biggest myth is that oily skin doesn’t need moisturising or that people with oily skin should stay away from oils. I have oily skin but because I moisturise religiously and use an oil cleanser daily, my skin doesn’t get ridiculously oily. When oily skin is dehydrated, it will produce more oil to over compensate, feeding your skin with moisture keeps it happy.

(HHW – Please someone engrave this on a rock of beauty….)

3. How does Bravura differentiate itself with several other market players that cater to inexpensive options for acid products?

I think what makes us unique is that we’re not just about selling, for me it’s all about helping people with their skin, that sounds cliché I know but genuinely, it’s true. When I recommend our products I also give customers a link to a cleansing routine I’ve written, for people with hormonal acne I send them an article I’ve written on supplements that can help control hormones and in turn reduce the breakouts. If I don’t think our products will work for someone, I’ll tell them so.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing our customers not only love our products but talk about their with their friends, I’m tagged in posts on facebook, instagram and twitter where people are talking about what the products have done for their skin, the excitement they feel from the results of my products is just the most wonderful feeling, running a business and being up against huge companies with massive budgets is hard work but it’s these comments that help keep me going, knowing just how much of an impact it has on a person’s self confidence, it’s very very rewarding.

4. What is your main concern in today’s skincare industry as it stands?

False advertising, fake, photoshopped images, adverts telling women they should strive for unachievable perfection, brands telling women they should look young to be desirable and to feel shame in laughter lines, giving young people the impression that if they get rid of their spots suddenly they’ll become more popular, all these subliminal messages that are really eating at our self esteem. If you’ve had stretch marks from having a baby, no oil will magically cure them, if you have melasma, no cream is going to fade it and as for your pores, it’s normal for them to be a little visible, magazine images are photoshopped to conceal them. I really could go on and on.

(I guess Amanda and I could have a separate post on this topic specifically! Couldnt agree more!)

5. You have fabulous glowing skin yourself, so could we please have a sneak peek in your daily skin regime?

Ahh thank you, my skin honestly is no where near perfect but it’s probably the best it could be, I once had a Dr not believe that I had polycystic ovaries because my skin was too clear, it is achievable.

Obviously I mainly use Bravura products, I NEVER ever forget to cleanse, no matter how tired I am, even if I’m not wearing make-up, I always cleanse. I use the First Cleanse Oil and follow with the Purifying Gel Cleanser or Our Volcanic Mud Cleanser, to tone I use the Revitalising Ginseng Toner. I use the Hyaluronic Acid Serum and the Azulene Moisturiser. We don’t have an eye cream so I’m usually trying different brands. The same goes for face Masque’s, I have a few different brands such as Eve Lom, Nuxe and Korres, it depends on how my skin is feeling. I more often that not alternate between the Glycolic acid 10% and Salicylic Acid 2% but as it’s winter, I’m using the Lactic Acid 10% a little more often. If I’m feeling a little lazy one evening, I’ll use the Dermaflannel instead of one of the acids or one of the acid serums or creams, I go by how my skin is feeling. Because I have sensitive skin which is prone to acne, particularly hormonal I don’t really change my routine too much, I’ve tried incorporating a facial oil in to my routine, but sadly I haven’t found one that doesn’t break me out.

I had a treatment recently called Sculptra, after having 3 children and a bit of yoyo dieting I’d lost fat in my face, sculptra stimulates your own collagen to help plump the skin from within, I had it 2 months ago and so I should see true results in another 1-2 months but so far, I’m happy.

I also use fake tans, my favourite face tanner is James Reed sleep mask, although I don’t sleep in it. It leaves me skin with a healthy glow and doesn’t cause breakouts.

Express Review – Salicylic Acid 2% and Lactic Acid 10% (Infused with Rose) Peels 

Basics Information about Lactic & Salicylic Acid

  • Lactic – its Alpha Hydroxy acid, larger molecule, therefore more surface exfoliation and resurfacing action. Excellent for any acne scarring, sun spots, pigmentation, blotchiness, and boosting radiance. All skin types could use this including dry and dehydrated skins (also operates as humectant).
  • Salicylic – its Beta Hydroxy acid, smaller molecule, allowing deeper penetration in skin. Excellent for breakouts, underlying skin congestion (which doesn’t surface no matter what you do), blackheads, controlling sebum production, tightening pores. Suited to oily, combination, congestion prone skins.

Bravura London website claims the ph level for Lactic acid is 3.75 & Salicylic acid is 3, which means it well within the range where acids work effectively.

Uses: As a peel – leave it on for 30mins (recommended to start with 10mins), or Acid tone (after cleansing and before serum), or as a Serum (after tone), or as a spot treatment (for fresh acne scars or pesky angry spots) or as a part of my Triple Mask Routine.

Results: Its lovely, but I find it gentle on my acid acclimatized skin, so I prefer it as acid toner or serum or spot treatment. Lactic – visible difference on my skin the following morning. Firmer, brighter, even toned, radiant. Honestly my absolute favourite peel over any other. Salicylic – my spots calm down (redness goes down). More importantly any underlying skin congestion which doesn’t surface, this is excellent solution for those bastards. Yes I Hate em!

If I had to sum it up in One Word. Fabulous. Seriously at the given price point, it works like any other expensive peel, easy on wallet, wonderful on skin, what else would a woman want?!

Best PERK of shopping with Bravura London – Amanda will personally assist you with your skincare or product queries. If you’re unsure, drop in a line and she will help you make the right decision for your skin.

Lactic Acid Peel Ingredients: Purified Water, Rose Floral Water, Lactic Acid, Glycerin, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Sodium Hydroxide and Sodium Citrate.

Salicylic Acid Peel Ingredients: Distilled Water, Salicylic acid, Propylene Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hydroxide.

Excellent products and a wonderful, passionate person behind those products. Definitely recommend trying them and as for me, sure shot repurchase 🙂


Bath Salts Edition


During the cooler/freezing months, I will be soaking/pruning away to glory in extended bath sessions. Recently, I indulged in a miniature set of all oils from Aromatherapy Associates. One word, they’re Divine. But they come at a price tag. I wanted to create a simple, cost effective option which leaves me with just as divine bath experience.

Yes we all know I’m on a major DIY kick and wanted to create something just as good, which is cost effective, something you can prepare in the comfort of your home and modify the scent depending on your mood.

Here’s my ‘Recipe’ (I say recipe loosely, because as you know from my previous post I’m freestyle kinda person). The beauty of this recipe is you can keep it as simple or fancy as you like – your choice, your decision.

  • 2 parts of Epsom Salts (you can get regular or scented ones like Dr. Teals Lavender, Chamomile, Eucalyptus Spearmint, Rosemary & Mint etc). Benefits of epsom salt are well known. Some of which include, stimulating circulation, soothing sore muscles and reduce inflammation, detoxify toxins, improve absorption of nutrients, improve oxygen flow and use.
  • 1 part of Sea Salt Crystals (black sea, himalayan, atlantic, hawaiian, dead sea etc) – excellent for softening water. Plus it can stimulate circulation, ease muscle cramps, help relieve stiffness in joints, and soothe aching legs and feet. Also it helps cleanse and detoxify the largest organ in the body—your skin.
  • 1tbsp Baking Soda – helps alkalize the body and exfoliate skin
  • Essentials Oils – I used (2-3 drops) – Bergamot, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Tuberose
  • Spices – Pinch of Cinnamon and Clove powder to help relieve tired sore muscles

The final potion smells bloody amazing, not only in my bath but also the whole bathroom smelled like a spa.

Your Personalized Twist

As mentioned in the previous post, you can mix absolutely anything and make DIY projects spectacular.

Moisturizing Agents – You can add slivers of shea butter, cocoa butter, moisturizing oils (jojoba, sweet almond, rosehip, argan, wheatgerm, coconut, olive, avocado, grapeseed, etc). You can even add Glycerin to the mixture but ensure you mix really well.

You can also add dried herbs (mint, rosemary, etc) or dried fruit peels (like lemon, lime, grapefruit or any citrus fruit) or dried flower petals (rose, lavender, calendula, chamomile, jasmine) or powdered tea (black, red, green, white) or pinch of ground powdered spices (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, black pepper, saffron). These ingredients can either be added as a whole or powdered so it goes down easier in the tub drain.

The Essential oils list is endless but here are some to get you inspired: patchouli, sandalwood, cedar wood, rosewood, geranium, rose, lavender, rosemary, ylang ylang, tuberose, gardenia……etc.

Many add food coloring to give it colour, personally I don’t care for any colour. However if you’d like some please go ahead.

The tag line for any DIY project is: Whatever your mind fancies and heart desires.! Of course these make lovely xmas pressies too, package them in cute jars with lovely labels and voilaaa you have hand made, hand poured, personalized gift with a touch of care and love.