November 19, 2013

SHOULD YOU USE A TONER? Are they necessary part of a skin care routine?

A good toner will add many benefits to your skin care routine. 
A well formulated toner is not a toner as such, not in the traditional sense. In the early days when cold creams were used as cleansers, alcohol based toners were used to 'remove the greasy film left on the skin'. In the early days, alcohol toners were also thought to 'close the pores' creating a smooth skin. This of course was due to the mild swelling of the surface of the skin following the use of alcohol, making the pores appear temporarily smaller. As the inflammation cleared, the skin relaxed and the pores returned to their previous size. 

Unfortunately the long-term use of toners containing alcohols or other strong astringent ingredients lead to dehydration, dryness, sensitivities or reactive seborrhoea (excessive oil production).  

Professionally formulated toners are far more sophisticated and include botanicals, vitamins, antioxidants and other active ingredients to treat the skin. However, I still see alcohol as a key ingredient in cheaper, supermarket brads, so be careful what you put on your skin, cheaper is not necessarily better.

The products I work with actually call toners "lotions". They are in a sense like a diluted active serum. We prescribe lotions to care for various skin conditions such as clogging, dehydration, pigmentation, ageing and skin sensitivities as lotions improve penetration of products and enhance the treatment

My clients ask me all the time if they can just use a cleanser. Yes, people can get away with just using a cleanser, if the cleansers are treatment cleansers and of very good quality. But they will find themselves having to use more of the moisturizer to try to dehydrate the skin. So in the long term, it's actually more expensive. 

I found a lotion not only enhances the treatment and treats the skin. It also provides that instant hydrating relief, saturating the top layers of skin with moisture, creating a perfect environment for enhanced product penetration. When the skin is well hydrated, I find I use smaller amount of my serums and treatment creams. 

A treatment lotion (a well formulated toner), adds to the skin results, instantly improves hydration, enhances penetration of products and allows you to use less of the products, ultimately saving you money! 

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November 8, 2013


No one likes pimply skin especially when they pop up just before a party right on top of your nose, they can be really sore and really gross. So what can you do? 

Remedy 1: Keep your skin clean! Use a cleanser recommended for your skin type to keep the pores clean of dirt and buildup that can clog the pores and make you break out. Clean your skin morning and night, in the morning to take off any waste, sweat and oil squeezed out by your skin overnight, and in the evening to remove any pore clogging dust, pollution and dirt. 

Remedy 2: Use a gentle exfoliant to remove buildup on the skin - the skin is constantly renewing itself and shedding off old skin, these dead skin cells can stick to your skin and clog the pores.

Remedy 3: if your pimples just popped up, you can use a spot treatment to quickly dry the pimple out, reduce redness and soreness. Use morning and night until cleared. 

Remedy 4: You can use a specially prescribed moisturizer that will keep the pimples at bay. 

TIP: whatever you do, do not squeeze your pimples, this can cause ugly scarring and is very difficult and costly to treat down the track.

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What causes under eye dark circles - and what treatments can help?

dark circles under the eyes

One of the most asked about problems I have seen in the beauty salon is dark circles under the eyes. It's a concern because it can make the whole face look tired and unwell. People comment that you look tired and ask if you are OK. 

Before I make any recommendations, I take a closer look and ask questions to determine what is the cause of the dark circles. They are not all the same and the treatments and home care products will differ according to the cause.

There are six different types of dark circles under the eyes:
- thin skin 
- poor circulation
- dehydration
- pigmentation
- puffiness
- aging

It can be a singular cause or a combination of the above so the skin care and treatment need to be adapted for each individual person and sadly one product or treatment will not treat all of the above. 

Thin Skin & Poor Circulation

use products specifically designed for sensitive eyes with good moisturizing ingredients
Some people have inherited the genetics for a thin skin, and the skin around the eyes is even thinner. When the skin is thin, it is quite fragile, and the capillary network under the skin can be seen from the surface. Under the eyes, the skin can appear with a bluish tinge. This will appear worse if the person is tired, dehydrated or unwell. Allergies and sensitivities can make the skin appear darker as well. 

The best way to look after thin skin around the eyes and poor circulation in the capillaries is to drink two liters of water every day to flush the capillaries out and use products specifically designed for sensitive eyes with good moisturizing ingredients. Look for ingredients such as yeast extract, Vitamin K, flavonoids and botanicals such as cornflower and butcher's broom to improve micro-circulation.


drink lots of water to keep the skin hydrated
The dehydrated skin under the eyes has a gray tinge to it with fine lines and crepey appearance. Dehydration can be caused by illness, medication, drugs, smoking, not drinking enough water and incorrect or no product use.

If left untreated, this can contribute to skin aging and skin sensitivities around the eyes. Dehydration is perhaps one of the easiest to treat and you can see dramatic results fast. It just takes a little self-love and TLC. 

Here is what I recommend:  book in for a professional eye treatment that boosts hydration and includes a gentle exfoliation. Just one eye treatment can make a huge difference! Follow that at home with using a gentle eye makeup remover, and don't just use water or cleansers designed for the face, makeup removers usually have built in hydrating and soothing ingredients.  

Look for hyaluronic acid in your eye cream which is a potent hydrator and can instantly improve the signs of dehydration around the eyes, plumping out and smoothing the wrinkles. And drink lots of water to keep the skin hydrated. 


what causes dark circles under the eyesPigmentation is caused by the pigment melanin being deposited in the skin in concentrated areas. Under the eyes is generally an inherited condition and for others can be triggered by hormones. UV exposure will make this condition worse whether the root cause is genetic or hormones so protecting your skin from daily UV exposure is a must. Regular exfoliation will prevent the dead cell build up which can make the skin look darker so a gentle exfoliant 1-2 times per week such as the Sothys Gommage. Choose eye cream with ingredients proven to even out skin tone and brighten pigmentation such as vitamin C, licorice, Niacinamide, and powerful antioxidants. 


Temporary puffiness can be the sign of fluid retention. Fluid retention occurs when you don't get enough exercise, drink enough water, eat too much salty or sugary foods and alcohol. Exercise helps the muscles drain excess fluid from the tissues and drinking lots of fresh water will flush out toxins. Limiting sugar, salt, and alcohol in your diet will help prevent fluid retention and lymphatic drainage eye massage is terrific to help instantly drain away excess fluid. Look for eye care that contains ingredients such as lupine seed extract, flax seed extract, butcher broom, flavonoids, and yeast extract to help drain excess fluid. 

People with long-term puffiness, especially later in life can be a sign of fatty deposits. Sadly surgery is the only thing that can be done to remove the fatty deposits under the eyes. 


Radio Frequency RF Skin TighteningDark circles occur more frequently and are more noticeable with age because as we get older, our skin loses collagen and becomes thinner and more translucent. To keep the skin looking younger and firmer for longer look for eye creams with collagen boosting ingredients such as peptides, alfalfa, phytoestrogens and powerful peptides. Book in regular eye treatments that focus on exfoliation, collagen boosting actives and firming mask to help your skin look more rejuvenated. Advanced technologies such as RF Skin Tightening (radio frequency) is another option for premature aging around the eyes. 

Other beauty tips:

Another take on this is in Chinese medicine. Chinese Medicine considers dark circles as a sign of weakness in the kidney network. Kidney weakness is due to exhaustion and overstrain coupled with a lack of rest and relaxation. 

Also, many cosmetic problems can be attributed to vitamin deficiencies. Dark circles and puffiness are often thought to be due to vitamin K deficiency or a lack of antioxidants in the diet. 

It is also believed that lack of the mineral iron can cause dark circles. An iron deficiency may point to anemia, which is a potentially serious medical condition that requires treatment. If you believe you may have anemia, see your family doctor to schedule blood work.

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October 1, 2013

Are you a parent with teenagers with problem skin?

I have two teenage daughters and teaching them to care for their skin can be a bit of a challenge. 

Teenagers are generally not motivated to spend a great deal of time on skin care, they are waaaay too busy! You know, playing the computer games, talking to friends or just hanging around. 

Yet, I don't know about your kids, but mine are self conscious of their breakouts and acne, and asked me to help them. 

This is the advice I give to parents when they come to see me to help their children with their skin. 

1. Keep it simple 

Kids aren't interested in complicated skin care routines and will soon get bored of it, no matter what the benefits are. Remember too, this is all new to them and if they feel confused or overwhelmed, they will simply give up. Of course I am generalizing here, and I'm sure some are more motivated that others, but as a rule I found parents spending hundreds of dollars on complicated skin care products that just end up sitting in the draws gathering dust. 

I taught my daughters first how to clean their skin correctly and got them into a consistent routine with this before introducing anything else. I choose a gentle cleanser designed to unclog the pores, re-balance excess oil without stripping their delicate skin, treat the infection and inflammation and speed up the healing. 

2. Focus on treating the problem first.

After about 2 weeks being in a good cleansing routine we started to see improvement and they were more motivated to try something else. I got a spot treatment serum and showed them how to apply after cleansing their thin. This serum has ingredients to gently exfoliate, unclog, dry up blemishes, reduce inflammation and speed up healing. They applied it just once a day at night. 

3. When the skin improves: 

Focus on preventative skin care suited for delicate skin.

After 2-3 day of using the serum, the skin cleared up and now was the time to switch them to a preventative / maintenance routine. 

Using acne products when the skin is not breaking out can actually worsen the problem in the long term. Once the oil is re-balanced, if you keep using products that manage excess oil, the skin will just end up drying out. Acne serums are designed to quickly clear acne so are quite potent and should not be used long term. 

Next, I introduced a treatment cream they use at all times, to preserve moisture, and stimulate cellular turnover. It's essentially a moisturizer to care for their skin, preserve the youthful beauty of their skin and keep it healthy and glowing.  

They still get the occasional breakouts and I expect they will continue to do so until their hormones settle down. What is different now however, is that the breakouts are not as pronounced as before and clear much faster, a matter of days, not weeks. 

Acne scarring prevention 

This is our long-term focus, so a good skin care routine is essential now. I have also taught my children to NEVER EVER squeeze their pimples. It may get rid of the pus instantly, but (as one found out when she decided to try to see what happens) if you squeeze, it takes weeks to clear up, as the wound ruptures, becomes raw, and forms a scab. If you're lucky a bruise type scar forms, which takes many months to clear, (if you have an Asian or Mediterranean skin, it will turn to a permanent brown spot) if you're not so lucky, the collagen will not form properly and the tissue will collapse resulting in a permanent dimple type scar. Or too much fibrous tissue will formed resulting in a cyst type scar. The lesson here is to teach your kids to never squeeze. 

A final word on professional treatments. 

When my children's skin break out, I give them a 1/2 hour facial treatment focused on clearing the breakouts quickly. This DOES NOT replace their daily skin care routine, it is designed to boost the results. A facial can give a real boost to the skin and speed up the recovery, but how they care for their skin on a daily basis will give 80% of the results. 

So when your child's skin is actively breaking out, book them in for a professional treatment. Typically it takes only 1/2 hour and cost around AUS$45-$55. The therapist will use appropriate exfoliants and masks to help clear the problem quickly. Please ask the therapist NOT TO extract. I have never felt comfortable squeezing young children's skin. It's painful, old fashioned, can result in scarring and is totally unnecessary if you use good quality products. 

What have your experiences been like trying to help you children look after their skin? 

Do you have any comments you would like to add to this article? Feel free to post your comments below.

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Jana x

June 12, 2013

Dry itchy skin

Dry itchy skin on the body?
Winter dry weather can lead to skin dryness and itching. 

Change the product you clean your skin with to a mild cleanser. Avoid anything that foams and bubbles, it very likely contains harsh detergents that are just too strong to use in winter. 

Look for mild, milky or oil based cleansers. These are designed to emulsify with water, gently cleansing without stripping.

Seal the moisture in with a luxurious cream or body butter. Look for formulas that contain omegas, precious oils and vitamin E. 

I choose one in a gorgeous fragrance I love to use. A relaxing, soothing one for the night and an invigorating or luxuriously decadent one for the day. 

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June 11, 2013

What is glycation and how does it contribute to premature aging?

sugar linked to inflammation glycation premature aging

Glycation Leads to Premature Aging

Chronic glucose exposure has long been known to affect how the body ages. When collagen starts to break down in the skin, aging occurs with wrinkling, dryness, and saggy skin. 

We all know sun exposure is one of the leading factors of aging skin but scientific research has also revealed glucose-driven intrinsic aging. 

Glucose is essential fuel for our cells. However, researchers have discovered high levels of sugar leads to accelerated rate of aging by a process called glycation.  

When collagen breaks down in your skin, the skin ages prematurely

What Is Glycation

Glycation put simply is the sticky glucose from sugars building up on the collagen fibers, causing them to become stiff and rigid and breaking them down. When collagen breaks down in your skin, the skin ages prematurely, looses its density and elasticity, thinning out and becoming saggy causing wrinkles and dryness. It has been established that people with high sugar diets not only age faster but also have a shorter life span.


How to Delay the Signs of Glycation and the Signs of Aging

To delay glycation, follow a low carbohydrate/ low sugar diet. Choose green tea, pomegranates and blueberries to help fight glycation. 

Most good professional skincare include anti-glycation ingredients, some of these ingredients have been around for a very long time, and their power to fight glycation has only recently been realized. Look for any of these ingredients in your anti aging skincare products
  • Alpha tocopherol - vitamin E
    Most good professional skin care have anti-glycation ingredients
  • Ascorbic acid - vitamin C
  • Centella asiatica
  • Tetrapeptides 
  • Tripeptides
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Glucosamine HCI
  • Glycine soya
  • Kombuchka black tea ferment
  • Omega 6 essential fatty acids (linoleic and oleic acid)
  • Resveratrol
  • Turmeric
  • Aminoguanidine
  • Green tea
  • Carnosine
  • Blueberry
  • Pomegranate 
  • Cyperus esculentus
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June 6, 2013

Before and after - makeup done the right way

Well defined eye brows make such a difference! Look after your eye brows ladies, don't let anyone but an expert touch them! And don't be lulled into a cheaper service, it's cheap for a reason! Maybe they are inexperienced, or even untrained and learning on you! Do you want to take that chance? Poorly waxed eye brows never grow back quite right. 

The harsh eyeliner so reminds me if the head banging 80s, it was all the rage. But looking at this photo, her eyes appear large on the left, maybe she's doing a sexy eye squint on the right? Or is it the smoky eye makeup? Nevertheless, it certainly looks sexier on the right. 

The right foundation makes the skin appear fresh and relaxed, on the left she has that Ompa Lompa look. The highlighting enhances her features in the right way and shading contours her face, just look at the nose, it appears much thinner on the left. 

And the lipstick color is so wrong on the dark haired model, a fair haired model with fine features may get away with it, but prominent features in light colors look just washed out. If you want to keep it natural looking, stick to nude/brown or pinkish/brown colours. 

The overall look on the left appears  'cheap' and classy and sexy on the right. On the left it looks like she is a grown woman but  is still wearing her teenage make up, on the right she looks comfortable in her own skin. 

Very interesting exercise! If you ever need help with make up, did you know most beauty salons offer lessons?

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Why soap is bad for your skin and why you should avoid using it on your face

The skin has a protective surface barrier called the Acid Mantle. It is made up of skins natural oils, sweat and dead cells. In a healthy skin this barrier will protect the skin from bacterial and fungal infection, and excessive moisture loss. The healthy pH balance for the human skin barrier is between 4.5-6.5, ideally around 5pH.

Soap is VERY alkaline, so when you wash your face with it, it upsets/unbalances the pH and the acid mantle, and therefore the skins natural barrier. When the skin is cleansed with soap, it's stripped of its natural oils. The natural acidity of the acid mantle is unbalanced which can increase the chances of the skin becoming open to various diseases and disorders including increased sensitivity, redness, itching, burning, allergies, excessive dryness, premature aging, blackheads, clogging, congestion and acne. Whatever problems the skin has, cleansing with soap will just make the skin conditions worse.

For correct hygiene and long-term health of the skin, the skin should be cleansed twice a day with an appropriate cleanser suited for your skin type and condition to properly care for it and maintain it in excellent condition. 

I personally am not a fan of gel/foamy cleansers unless they are used on a VERY oily skin, which is mainly in teenage, male skin. Foamy, gel cleansers may feel nice to use, but can be very stripping because they often contain alcohol and damaging detergents. If it foams, lathers or bubbles, then it most certainly contains detergents or even alcohols. Even if they are from a natural source, these can be detrimental to the skins health if used long-term, or even short-term if used on the wrong skin.

I am also not a fan of high percentage AHA/BHA cleansers used daily and/or long term. I recommend AHA/BHA cleansers for certain skin conditions that will benefit in the short term to improve such conditions as thickened skin, sun damage, pigmentation, clogging, congestion or acne prone skin. Where people go wrong is they tend to use the cleansers as a long-term preventative, and ultimately will excessively thin and dry the skin. This will cause damage to the barrier of their skin, predisposing them to allergies, heightened sensitivity to UV, increasing pigmentation, excessive moisture loss, flaking and premature aging. 

The first step in your daily skincare routine is to use the correct cleanser prescribed by a qualified beauty professional for optimum skin health and balance. As your skin's needs change seasonally, have your beauty therapist check your skin every 3 months and adapt the best cleanser for you at that time. 

One last note. As a beauty professional, some clients tell me that they do not have the time to cleanse their skin. Properly caring for the skin takes only seconds, at most one minute every day. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but not making the effort is just plain laziness. It is like telling your dentist you don't have the time to clean and floss your teeth daily. It's like saying you don't have the time to shower daily. Cleansers can be kept in the shower and used while showering, it is as easy as using a shampoo on the hair or shower gel on the body. There really are no excuses. Your skin will thank you for it in the years to come. 

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May 31, 2013

Beauty tip - Eyebrows - do not skimp on expert quality

Eyebrows - do not skimp on quality service
Eyebrows - do not skimp on quality service
Here is a story that happened a little while back, but it's a good lesson to learn so I will share it with you.

A customer walked in distress saying she went elsewhere to have her eyebrows waxed because it was cheaper and they have "ruined" her eye brows by waxing on the top as well and took her previously "perfect arch" off.

She was devastated, she had a wedding to go to on the weekend and asked if we could help her out. We managed to temporarily fix the problem with some shaping and tinting but we advised that the brows will need some time to grow back so that we can shape it to how she liked it.

never, ever, skimp on quality service when it comes to the eye brows
never, ever, skimp on quality service
when it comes to the eye brows
A very important lesson here, never, ever, skimp on quality service when it comes to the eye brows, sadly, as we all know, they never grow back the same. And great eye brows really make a difference to enhance your features.

If its a cheap job, it's cheap for a reason. They are either inexperienced or using inferior products which can ruin great eye brows for good. 


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May 26, 2013

Skin Benefits of Rosehip Oil

Rich in omega 3 & 6, it is unique among vegetable oils in containing retinol (Vitamin A), vitamin E, and very high in vitamin C.

Used for eczema, dermatitis, acne, mature skin, sunburned skin, brittle nails and wrinkles. Helps to heal scarring and diminish photo-aging. 

Delays the effects of skin aging, assists with cell regeneration, and promotes collagen and elastin levels to increase for firmer and smoother skin. 

Do you have any comments you would like to add to this article? Feel free to post your comments below.

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May 24, 2013

Salicylic Acid - Benefits and Uses

salicylic acid derived from the willow bark

If you have an oilier skin type with bumps, blackheads, and congestion, your skin will love a treatment with salicylic acid. 

Salicylic acid makes one of the best acne treatments, and is also excellent on oily skins with blackheads, clogging and congestion, thickened, sun damaged skins with brown spots and pigmentation. 

Salicylic acid is a hydroxy acid derived from willow bark. Closely related to aspirin, it has an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effect on the skin, purifying and soothing acne-prone skin. 

Being an oil soluble hydroxy acid,  salicylic acid is extremely efficient at penetrating into the clogged and congested pores, breaking up the hard waxy deposits, softening the blockage, deep cleansing pores of impurities.  It has the ability to exfoliate clogged pores from the inside out, something that AHAs cannot do. It is excellent for drawing out infection, ingrown hair, blackheads and congestion.

Salicylic acid is also keratolytic, which means it is perfect for breaking down excess keratin build up in the skin. Salicylic acid exfoliates deeply to resurface, smooth and brighten a sun damaged, thickened skin with brown spots and pigmentation. 

Did you know, in the pharmaceutical industry, salicylic acid is used to treat many skin disorders, such as acne, dandruff, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, calluses, corns, common warts, and plantar warts. 

Just a word of caution: if you are pregnant or allergic to aspirin, it's best to avoid this ingredient. 

Talk to your beauty therapist about professional products you can use at home to improve acne, congestion, oily, open pored skin, as well as sun damaged, thick skin, and pigmentation problems. You may benefit from professional treatments they can perform to deliver faster and more dramatic results. 

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About Me

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Skincare / Beauty Educator, Salon Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Writer, Blogger, Author.

I help people develop clear, engaging and persuasive content for their websites, blogs, magazines, newsletters, training, marketing materials and social media.

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