Don't Touch my Face...

4/06/2021 04:12:00 pm
I've never liked people touching my face. It's so foreign to me, and something I had to overcome to actually become a make up artist. It's so intimate to touch a face, and I'm not ready to have that kind of relationship with just anyone! Hence I've always disliked facials. I've had two, and I just can't relax - give me a massage any day.
However, I know so many of you love your facials, and that Covid has led you to seek out alternative arrangements to keep your faces looking yummy and younger than young. Enter LED masks, gua sha, ice globes, and my absolute fave: the Sarah Chapman Facialift. Looks a bit like a torture device, kind of acts like one, but makes you feel ahhhhh all melty, in a good way.
Its all kinds of fantasy weird, supposed to replicate how a facial is performed, with its knobbly, rolly bits doing the job of fingers and knuckles, in the hope that it can reshape, refine and tone the face, whilst getting rid of all that tension you're holding in your jaw (thanks WFH life and tech neck).

So, does it do anything? Actually, yes, anytime I use this consistently I notice a defined version of myself emerging - more seahorse than puffer fish. If you like a good pummelling, that makes you feel both relieved and relaxed afterwards, this is the tool for you. Have a look see at how I use it in my evening routine here.

A Mist a Day..

4/01/2021 06:32:00 pm

Coming out of what we hope is the tail-end of the eye of the pandemic, more of us than ever are taking better care of our skin. Whether it’s the time we’re saving commuting, the real need for sensorial experiences, or the tiny habits that keep us sane, it appears that skincare is back for good.

Things that were well out of our reach in an office, are suddenly intrinsic parts of our new-found working day, and even filter their way into our Married at First Sight nighttime binges. And one of the easiest, most effective things to fit in throughout our day (certainly easier than my Fitbit reminding me to get up and do 250 steps every hour), is the humble mist. 

Ahhh, do you remember your first? Mine was Caudalie, Beauty Elixir – something that is now a permanent member of my extensive skincare wardrobe. I first used it when I was 22 and experiencing breakouts that to me were huge, but to the normal eye, were just part and parcel of life. But you know when you just want to use something that convinces you it’s getting better? That was what the Beauty Elixir was to me. And my love of it was heavily compounded by my idol Victoria Beckham saying she loved it.

After a brief dalliance, whereby the rosemary essential oil – amongst other ingredients – really helped my inflamed skin, I forgot about mists. Gone from my brain. As if they didn’t exist. And then entered La Roche Posay’s Serozinc – entirely to blame for this purchase was the influencer sphere – or, as they were known then, blogs. I used Serozinc and didn’t really see the fuss. Until I didn’t use Serozinc. And then, I got it. Skin calm and health in a fine mist. Perfection in the most unassuming packaging – keeps the skin soothed and helps with inflammation. And now, a never-without for the collection.

At times I would want something more nourishing, and for this I tried Heritage Store’s Rosewater & Glycerin spray. Gorgeous in scent, gorgeous in feel – nourishing without being heavy, and not cloying on the skin. I have purchased countless bottles of this and will continue to do so. Perfect for spritzing throughout the day for an added boost of moisture.

And so, to the latest in my collection. The Keys Soulcare Reviving Aura Mist. A tiny bit of heaven in a mist, complete with its own affirmation “I am free as the air.” And, for a second, that spritz makes you feel weightless. It is stunning. Delicate rose-scented (rather than the old-fashioned rose), which really works to calm the mind – this is my choice of an evening, when I need to wind down.

A mist a day may keep the doctor away.

Building a Skincare Wardrobe

11/25/2020 01:37:00 pm

Let's start at the very beginning,

A very fine place to start.

-The Sound of Music
It's been a while, quite a while in fact, and what better way to return than with the ultimate effective, but simple skincare routine.

Celebs will have you thinking they either use every lotion and potion on their skin, or that they use absolutely nothing, and it's 478573853 litres of water that keeps their skin clear and firm: to be fair, everyone lies somewhere on that spectrum, but with a bit of know-how, some understanding of what ingredients do, and the knowledge of how your skin reacts, you can build the ultimate skincare wardrobe.

From years of experience, I know my skin. I'm a lucky girl in that I was thrown into the aesthetic and skincare world straight out of uni, and the love and learning I felt as a 21 year old has never waned. The first thing I learnt? SPF and cell turnover. The two together are a wonderful combo, but how do you make it happen? We can't exactly sandpaper our face (you could, but don't). So I was taught about glycolic acid, and this was introduced to my regime via monthly, superficial peels. From this my knowledge built. Please note, I have extremely hardy skin, and this is my personalised routine. Don't try and shove all these on in one go!

So where does my routine stand now? It stands right about here:

Balm cleanse - pm. Takes off all my make up and SPF without any harshness. Also reminds me to give myself a facial massage, have some me-time, and stimulate my skin.

Gentle, nourishing cleanse - am & pm. To ensure skin is sufficiently cleansed and prepped to receive our next steps.

An exfoliating acid - as and when required. I use salicylic when my skin feels clogged (lipid soluble so cleans out the pore deep down), perfect for those spotty days; lactic or glycolic when I feel skin needs a bit of oomph. Lactic is milder as the molecule is larger, therefore penetrates less layers of the skin, resulting in less irritation. Glycolic, being a smaller molecule, can be much more irritating. Both help with dissolving the "glue" between skin cells, helping them to shed more efficiently, and revealing your lovely new layers of baby skin.

Hyaluronic acid - am & pm. Can hold 1000 times it's weight in water, thereby attracting moisture to the skin, plumping skin and making you look twelve again.

Vitamin C - am & pm. Huge antioxidant properties, keeps the skin looking young and wonderful.

Tretinoin (in a formulation with niacinamide and azelaic acid) - pm. Tret is a harsher - for want of a better word - form of retinol, or vitamin A. It is one of the only truly proven ingredients in aiding with the ageing process, on account of its cell turnover properties. The niacinamide aids the production of ceramides that fortify the skin's barrier, whilst the azelaic acid gets to work on pigmentation. 

A moisturiser containing ceramides - am & pm. See above note on ceramides.

And with that, I have the best combination that allows my skin to stay healthy and mainly problem-free. The important thing is consistency and not changing up my products too often.

But the key is knowing your skin.

Fun add-ons, to be used as and when needed include: clay masks, exfoliating mask, a plethora of serums and oils. Not necessities, but things to experiment with, to pamper yourself with, to just have fun with!

Have you built your skincare wardrobe?

Curated | The Ordinary

6/29/2017 11:10:00 am
The Ordinary has taken the skincare world a little aback – after years of the purest active ingredients only being available in complex, expensive formulas and brands, single active ingredients are now available to the everyday skincare aficionado. Having used the brand every day for a good few months now, here is my curation of my top picks. Let’s start with my skin type – pretty clear, very oily, and prone to scarring and discolouration, so my main focus is on balancing the skin and reducing any marks that may have cropped up.

High-Adherence Silicone Primer
Let’s cut straight to the good bit – I love this stuff. Silicones and me are not the best of buddies, but this doesn’t feel like a silicone feels, it reminds me of a gel-cream texture, that dries down from fairly wet to fairly matte on the skin. I have used, and will continue to use this every day as it makes such a difference to the longevity of the cosmetic products on my face. Yes, I still get oily – oily gals don’t just dry up overnight – but it takes longer, and the amount of oils that permeate my make-up are less and can be easily blotted away with a tissue, often without the need of a powder touch-up throughout the day. I infinitely prefer this to the High-Spreadability Fluid Primer, which felt more like your traditional silicone product, and slipped straight off my skin (probably perfect for gliding over drier complexions!).

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Niacinamide – or Vitamin B3 – has long be touted for the brightening effect it has on skin, but the magic of this particular formula is it’s amalgamation with zinc to allow the skin to rebalance itself, whilst reducing blemishes and congestion. I bought this specifically for its brightening properties, only to notice quite accidentally (didn’t read the description thoroughly on the website) that extremely oily skin seems to be much more matte when I apply this.

AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
I have loved and used peels since about the age of 22, mainly carried out by a professional, mainly a high percentage of glycolic – this at home version uses a mixture of AHAs and BHAs, described by the brand as a 10-Minute Exfoliating Facial. This potent carmine-coloured mixture – with AHAs to work on the topmost layer of the skin, and BHAs to work within the pores – uses a two-pronged exfoliation technique in one marvellous concoction to help brighten and clear the skin. Now, my skin is pretty hardy, fairly used to being experimented on, and definitely a graduate of the peel club. However, this stuff had a tingly, slightly uncomfortable feeling on the surface of my skin that I haven’t felt in quite some time. I wafted a piece of paper over my face to fan myself and grit my teeth; after the recommended 10 minutes I used a flannel to remove it, and lo and behold, smooth, soft, more radiant skin. This has become a staple in my skincare routine, and I can use it multiple times a week. Top tip – apply to dry skin for less of an uncomfortable stinging feeling and fan, fan, fan!

Advanced Retinoid 2%
Now, I love a retinol – as an ingredient I tend to see the fastest results from retinols, and love the effect they have on my skin, however the formula and feel can often be problematic. Packaged in a brown dropper-bottle, this comes out as a milky serum, easy to apply and soft on the skin. The website claims “This formulation combines two forms of next-generation retinoid actives in a combined concentration of 2% by weight” which I have no idea how true this is, but I can tell you the product works! Used at night – no need to use in the daytime – skin looks visibly younger in the morning. I can’t give you specifics, but there is a general luminescence and youthfulness to the complexion. The formula is gentle, doesn’t cause peeling on my skin as many others have, and adheres to the theory of low and slow when it comes to Vitamin A products. I will be repurchasing!

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
Holding up to 1000 times its weight in water, Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in the body and acts as a hydrator. A clear, sticky feeling serum, this is not one of those products that you realise is having an effect on the skin, until you stop using it! I use this even on my oily visage in the hopes of keeping dehydration at bay!

Salicylic Acid 2% Solution
A teeny tiny, unassuming pipette, this helps exfoliate the inside walls of pores to fight the appearance of blemishes and for better visible skin clarity with 2% Salicylic Acid and Witch Hazel. I specifically use this on any areas of congestion, or any spots that may crop up, and it seems to take them down a treat. Although tiny, this bottle packs a punch, and should last a little lifetime due to the small amount you need to use.

Reviewing | Becca Lowlight/Highlight Perfecting Palette

10/27/2015 06:30:00 am
There comes a point in life where tasks and processes just become part of one’s routine: we forget to savour the process, to appreciate the end result. A rut, if you will. And a rut I did enter when it came to contouring. Once a wonderful, unique idea, contouring just became much of a muchness. It happens. Product just fulfil their job spec, indeed they do it very well, but a little freshness, a touch of the novel, and a process  steps back to being a joy. Enter the Becca Lowlight/Highlight Perfecting Palette.
Now, this will never replace my Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder, but it sure as hell sits nicely alongside it, works in tandem, and adds a little extra. Unlike the Sculpting Powder, the Becca sits slightly warmer on the coolness scale – adding a tad more warmth to the face. Still sculpted, still shadowy, just slightly warmer – more bronze, if you will, perfectly complemented by a peach-gold highlighter that just screams WOW.  The two together, built on the skin are just the thing for a night out – deepen the colour further by using the Kevyn Aucoin in the very hollows of the face.
On it’s own, sans highlighter, the lowlight colour is perfect for an everyday realistic shadow on the face. Buttery soft, ridiculously blendable, these powders make me feel as if I’m living the dream! Buffed onto the sides and tip of the nose, the temples, jawline and into eye-sockets, you’ve got an instant mocha monochromatic look to the skin that looks naturally sculpted and refined.

Much love,
Ani x

Tippex and Highlighter | Nails

10/09/2015 06:30:00 am
A peculiar thing has passed over me lately – the necessity for nails that look as if they’ve been tippexed or highlighted. Clean, bright, white. Offensive, obnoxious, yellow. I blame those Kardashians – specifically I blame that Kylie and her envy-inducing one day white, next day yellow, always-pointed, hawks talons. I just adore them. 
Fascinatingly, they both bring within them a shed-load of compliments, and the beginnings of thought-provoking discussions. Who knew nail polish was so refined?

Much love,

The One I didn’t need | Naked Smoky

10/07/2015 01:57:00 pm
This was the stuff that dreams were made of – I was beyond convinced that this would be the answer to all my palette prayers, and that my life would be made better by the mere inclusion of it within my make-up routine.
Alas, this was not to be. Beautiful as it may have been, and there is no doubt that Urban Decay have refined their presentation – tortoiseshell hard case – and the tools they now provide, double-sided beautiful brush, through to the little tri-fold instruction card on how to create certain looks, this just didn’t do it for me. Pigmentation, spot on as usual, colours beautiful, but I almost didn’t find a cohesion to the shades – individually beautiful, definitely, but together, a little more of a mismatch than I would have liked, and I am quite the queen of mismatching. 
But a palette, to me, needs to be fully workable under all conditions, whatever the occasion may throw up – that is the essence of a palette. What I did find, and this may just make it the perfect palette for some, is that many of these are brilliant add-on shades. Need a little highlight, some glitter, or some extra smoke? There’s a colour in there for all of these. I love my Naked original, and will be sticking to that, but for some, this will be the palette of dreams.

Much love,