100K Subscriber Q&A and Get Ready With Me (Video)

I made it to 100K subscribers on YouTube!◝(⁰▿⁰)◜ So to celebrate I made this video, where I do my makeup and answer your questions on my other job, how old I am, my education, how long it takes to make a video and lots of random questions about skincare and beauty. Hopefully it’s a nice distraction during this time! Check …

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Easy (5 Minute) DIY Vitamin C Serum Recipe

I’ve mentioned my super-easy DIY vitamin C serum a few times before on social media, and some of you have been asking me for the recipe… but I’ve been so distracted with other things I never got around to posting it until now. I’m sorry! Please forgive me. I hope the results make up for my tardiness!

Here’s the video (you may need to disable AdBlock to see it) – scroll down for the recipe. Click here to watch on YouTube.

What Does Vitamin C Do in Skincare?

Vitamin C is a superstar anti-aging ingredient in skincare. It tackles anti-aging on lots of levels:

  • Can increase collagen, which plumps up skin and decreases wrinkles
  • Fades hyperpigmentation (brown marks like acne scars and sun spots)
  • Acts as an antioxidant, protecting against free radical damage from UV, pollution and natural aging

Who wouldn’t want this, right? It does a bit of everything!

Related post: Antioxidants in Skincare: What Do They Do?

The Problem With Vitamin C

The big problem with using vitamin C in products is that L-ascorbic acid is very unstable in water-based products. It turns into yellow dehydroascorbic acid (DHA or DHAA) and other products very quickly: at pH 3.52 and 25 °C in amber glass, 50% is gone in a week. Luckily, DHA can convert back to L-ascorbic acid in your skin, and there’s no evidence that it’s bad for your skin (there’s actually a product with an accompanying non-peer-reviewed study that actually uses it as a way of getting vitamin C into your skin more easily). But there’s not a lot of evidence that it’s good either, and it degrades further into products that can’t be turned back into L-ascorbic acid.

Related post: Why Vitamin C Can Stain Your Skin (and How to Avoid It!)

L-Ascorbic acid can be stabilised by combining it with vitamin E and ferulic acid (plus it makes it work better). This is the approach used in serums from SkinCeuticals, Paula’s Choice, Timeless, Cosmetic Skin Solutions and Ausceuticals, However, if you want to DIY with this combo, it not only requires buying vitamin E and ferulic acid, but you’ll also have to get an emulsifier because vitamin E doesn’t play nicely with water.

And if you’ve gone to the trouble of mixing all that, you’ll also want a preservative to suppress bacterial growth so it’ll last longer and you won’t have to remake it any time soon. The price of all these ingredients adds up quickly, and if you’ve done any DIY before, you’ll know that you’ll end up with barely-used bottles that will go off before you finish them.

L-Ascorbic acid can also be stabilised by altering its chemical structure. Some derivatives of LAA include magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP), and ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate (ATIP)/tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THDA). However, these are expensive compared to LAA, and they need to be converted back into LAA to work as effectively.

Related post: Mythbusting: Are Vitamin C Serums Bad for You?

The Solution: DIY Vitamin C Serum

Easy (5 Minute) DIY Vitamin C Serum

All these issues can be solved by using a DIY vitamin C serum that you remake every week or so. I generally find DIY a bit of a pain – the minimum orders of the ingredients are too large for me to use up personally so I end up spending way more money than using a pre-made product, and there’s the horrible feeling of wastage when you chuck out expired, barely-used ingredients.

There’s also the time required to cook up your product, the failed batches, and the dreaded washing-up afterwards. But it’s hard to find a downside to this DIY serum:

  • All the ingredients and materials are easy to get and inexpensive
  • It takes about 5 minutes to make with no special equipment required
  • It can be more effective than a store-bought product – you don’t have to deal with delivery times and distribution networks and having your vitamin C sit on a store shelf slowly degrading for an unknown period of time
  • You can easily adjust the amount of vitamin C in your serum – add more LAA to ramp up the effectiveness, or use less LAA to decrease irritation
  • It’s cheap enough that I don’t feel bad spraying it all over my face and chest and body

For an effective vitamin C serum, you need 5-20% LAA at a pH less than 3.5. Above 20%, the effectiveness of LAA doesn’t increase but the side effects (mostly irritation) do.

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My Lazy Haircare Routine for Coloured Hair

How do you keep your dyed hair looking and feeling nice if you’re super lazy? Here’s my routine! Check it out on YouTube here. Products mentioned: Olaplex Diamond Espesso Plus 3 Min Hair Color Brite Organix Hair Colour Fudge Professional Clean Blonde Violet Toning Shampoo Elizavecca CER-100 Treatment Paul Mitchell Super Strong Liquid Treatment Daily Naturals Detangler Spray Kerastase Kerastase …

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Video: Fading Hair Dye With Low Damage

I had my purple hair for a while and loved it, but then I really wanted to switch to a warm peachy pink. Unfortunately the purple tones just… refused to leave despite lots of clarifying shampoo. I was hesitant to use bleach, since my hair was already bleached to death, so to avoid bleach I tried Katie’s Direct Dye Fading …

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All About Micellar Water (video)

All About Micellar Water Video

Video is sponsored by Bioderma. I’ve talked about the science behind how the ingredients in micellar water work before, but I haven’t talked much about the practicalities of micellar water before. This video is a guide to micellar water, and it covers a lot of common questions about micellar water, including: The importance of cleansing What is micellar water? Is micellar …

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My Routine for Starting on Tretinoin (Retin-A) Cream (with video)

My Routine for Starting on Tretinoin (Retin-A) Cream

I recently started using a prescription tretinoin cream, a generic version of Retin-A. Tretinoin is probably THE most popular and evidence-supported prescription retinoid (vitamin A derivative), and works as an acne treatment, for anti-aging, and a generous handful of other skin issues. I’ve had a lot of requests for advice and tutorials on how to start on retinoids, how to stop peeling, and what sort of routine to use while on them, so I can finally talk about it with first-hand experience and way too much detail!

My Routine for Starting on Tretinoin (Retin-A) Cream

Here’s the video version – keep scrolling for the blog post!

What is tretinoin?

Tretinoin, also known as retinoic acid, is an active form of vitamin A. It’s sometimes called all-trans-retinoic acid to distinguish it from isotretinoin (13-cis-retinoic acid), which is the active ingredient in the highly effective acne medication Accutane. Vitamin A derivatives (retinoids) are one of the most studied categories of skin actives, since they work really well to fix a range of things including acne, pigmentation and aging.

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Video: My Top 5 Acne Tips

Top 5 Acne Tips

I’ve had a lot of requests for a video for teenage skincare, and a lot of questions about acne. So here are my top 5 tips for acne-prone skin! It includes an appearance by Baby Goth Michelle, and some hectic eyebags courtesy of my post-Europe insomnia (one month and counting). Click here for the video. Related posts and videos that …

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Foundation Clumping Science, and How to Fix It (with Video)

Foundation Compatibility (with Video)

You might’ve had the experience where you apply your foundation over primer/moisturiser/sunscreen etc., and then a little while later your foundation’s gone clumpy. This is foundation incompatilibility. What’s happening, and what can you do to avoid it? Let’s talk about the science behind foundation! [Note: I would recommend watching the video in addition to reading the post, if you’re usually …

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