Polyhydroxy acids? Aminofil? Neostrata Skin Active Tri-Therapy Lifting Serum

Neostrata Tri-Therapy Lifting Serum

This post is sponsored by Neostrata. Neostrata is a cult brand amongst skincare nerds, and for good reason – it’s the brand that doctors Eugene Van Scott and Ruey Yu started after they discovered the skin-rejuvenating properties of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid and lactic acid in the 1970s. Thanks to their pioneering work, AHAs are now the most …

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How to Squeeze a Pimple Safely (Jakarta X Beauty collab video)

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This video is sponsored by Female Daily Network. In July this year I was invited to Jakarta X Beauty, a 3 day beauty event run by Female Daily Network. In 2019, there were talks from over 80 speakers! I did two: one on hyperpigmentation with Kae (@kaepratiwi), and one on acne with Dr Arini Astasari Widodo (@dermatologistjakarta). One of the things Dr …

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Pixi Beauty Mist review: Glow, Hydrating Milky, Vitamin Wakeup, Makeup Fixing

Pixi Beauty Mist review: Glow, Hydrating Milky, Vitamin Wakeup, Makeup Fixing

I used to think skincare mists were a pointless gimmick. Why use something that’s been watered down to work in spray form, when you could use a regular serum or cream that contains more concentrated ingredients instead? Plus you’re wasting all that product that doesn’t make it onto your skin!

But I’ve finally seen the light. Mists aren’t meant to replace serums and creams – they’re meant to be a convenient addition to your routine. Mists mean:

  • you can quickly and easily apply products when your hands might not be clean
  • when you don’t want to disturb the stuff you already have on your face
  • when you’re in a rush
  • when you’re just lazing out (admittedly this is the real reason for me most of the time)

I usually don’t use a separate moisturiser in the morning and just rely on my sunscreen to carry me through, since my skin is too oily to handle a proper moisturiser in the morning. Mists have been awesome at providing hydration that’s lighter than a proper lotion, especially now that we’re heading into winter and my skin is starting to flake.

I recently tried out 4 face mists from Pixi Beauty: Glow Mist, Hydrating Milky Mist, Vitamin Wakeup Mist and Makeup Fixing Mist.

Pixi Beauty Mist review: Glow, Hydrating Milky, Vitamin Wakeup, Makeup Fixing

Packaging

First, a note on the spray packaging. All four mists come in the same 80 mL spray bottle that takes a bit of getting used to. It sprays quite straight, but the droplets are quite large, so if you spray too close you end up with a really wet circle. I recommend spraying from at least 30 cm away to avoid the wet circle, especially if you’re applying this over makeup since the water can make it go patchy (this happened to me a lot during testing). An alternative is to spray it directly upwards and let it rain down on your face, which worked really well for me. You can also unscrew the bottle and pour the contents into another spray bottle.

Glow Mist

Glow Mist is the original mist from Pixi. It’s designed to be used over makeup to add a dewy “glow” to your face, but you can also use it as a moisturising step.

It comes as a rose-scented watery liquid with a layer of yellow oil sitting on top. It contains a ton of different oils (21 of them in fact, but the main ones are olive and argan oils), propolis extract, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and aloe vera. Oils and hyaluronic acid are great for softening the skin, and niacinamide does pretty much everything – lightens hyperpigmentation, strengthens skin, reduces sebum and acne, and acts as an antioxidant. I’m pretty new to propolis but there are a couple of studies that suggest that it could be good for repairing damaged skin.

When I tried Glow Mist I found that it really delivered on its promise to dewify powdery makeup, but as mentioned previously, take care to avoid patchiness if your makeup isn’t waterproof. I prefer using it before sunscreen and makeup if my skin’s feeling dry that day – it’s quick to apply and absorbs in seconds, and it’s impossible to mess up during the morning rush. I’m not a huge fan of the two-layer format because it feels like I never shake it enough to mix the oil perfectly evenly and I’m pretty sure I’m going to end up with just oil at the end. On the bright side though, it means that you can reduce the amount of oil by using it without shaking, if your face is feeling particularly oily that day.

Ingredients: Water, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Dipropylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Propolis Extract, Niacinamide, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Betaine, Sodium Hyaluronate, PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer, Panthenol, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Macadamia Integrifolia Seed Oil, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Illicium Verum (Anise) Fruit Extract, Adenosine, Rose Flower Oil, Tagetes Minuta Flower Oil, Mentha Arvensis Leaf Oil, Elettaria Cardamomum Seed Oil, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Oil, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Leaf Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Vetiveria Zizanoides Root Oil, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil.

Hydrating Milky Mist

Hydrating Milky Mist is like the less oily, more humectant (water-boosting) form of Glow Mist. This is my favourite of the four mists, since dehydration is my biggest skincare woe, and the high glycerin content of this mist makes it really good at hydrating my skin without being sticky. I use this before sunscreen and makeup to make my skin feel plump and soft, although you can also use it after makeup to get rid of the powdery look. I also use this a lot after I shower, if I’m not quite ready to do my whole evening routine yet and I don’t want my skin to feel tight.

As well as glycerin, there are a few other humectants like glycosaminoglycans and ethylhexylglycerin. Hydrating Milky Mist also contains a couple of light emollients (ethylhexyl palmitate, cetyl ethylhexanoate and lecithin) that soften skin without making it feel greasy. Small amounts of anti-irritants like black oat and allantoin add a slight soothing effect. It has a slightly floral moisturiser sort of smell.

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Dipropylene Glycol, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Phenoxyethanol, Polyglyceryl-10 Oleate, Ethylhexylglycerin, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Allantoin, Ceteareth-20, Trideceth-10, Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Glyceryl Stearate, Ceteareth-12, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Palmitate, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance, Citric Acid, Benzoic Acid, Lecithin, Avena Strigosa Seed Extract.

Pixi Beauty Mist review: Glow, Hydrating Milky, Vitamin Wakeup, Makeup Fixing

Vitamin Wakeup Mist

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L’Oréal & La Roche-Posay’s My UV Patch Review

L’Oréal & La Roche-Posay's My UV Patch Review

I was really excited to hear about L’Oréal/La Roche-Posay’s My UV Patch, a recently launched electronic wearable that can measure your UV exposure. La Roche-Posay have some of the best sunscreens on the market, so you know they’re serious about sun protection. My UV Patch is a blue heart-shaped patch that’s about the size of a large coin and half the thickness of an average strand of hair. It can be worn on your skin (the back of your hand is recommended) for up to 5 days, lasting through showers and swimming. You apply your sunscreen over the patch, so you can see how much UV protection you’re getting with your regular sunscreen.

L’Oréal & La Roche-Posay's My UV Patch Review L’Oréal & La Roche-Posay's My UV Patch Review
Here’s how it works:

  1. Stick the patch on your hand
  2. Enter your details into the app
  3. Scan the patch with the app when it tells you to (around every hour)
  4. The app tells you whether or not you’re being sun-safe, and whether it’s time to reapply sunscreen
  5. The app gives you a chart of your UV exposure throughout the day, and tells you when you’ve had too much sun (how much of your “sun stock” you’ve used)

L’Oréal & La Roche-Posay's My UV Patch Review L’Oréal & La Roche-Posay's My UV Patch Review

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Smile Makers Vibrators Launch in Priceline…whaaat??!

Smile Makers vibrators launch in Priceline...what??!

Today I want to talk about something awkward but necessary: sexual wellbeing. Sexual wellbeing is an extremely important but taboo and under-discussed aspect of physical and psychological health. If you know me in real life, you may want to stop reading around here and detour to the safer waters of sunscreen quantities or exfoliating or hair protectants instead. Or not, since we’re talking about breaking taboos in the name of health here! (It’s OK, I promise there are no photos of me using the things, and no in-depth descriptions of my relationship with my junk.)

Priceline Pharmacy, the more health-focused arm of Australia’s popular female-oriented health and beauty chain, has just started stocking the Swedish brand Smile Makers. Smile Makers makes personal massagers and lubricants that have been in Asian and European pharmacies since 2013. It was created to counteract a big problem worldwide, which you can see through these stats from a survey performed on Australian women*:

  • 75% of feel that sexual satisfaction is important to their overall wellbeing
  • 4 in 10 are not sexually satisfied
  • 47 percent have used a vibrator before
  • More than half (55%) of those who have not used a vibrator before are interested in trying one
  • 23 percent did not feel comfortable in a sex/adult shop whether in person or online

*Ramblin’ Brands claim based on research conducted by Nielsen (25th August – 2nd September 2016, 1,002 sample size, out of 5,329,000 Australian women aged 18-50 population estimation)

Sexual health research backs up a lot of these claims, as well as the fact that vibrator use is associated with positive sexual function and is rarely related to side effects. Lower sexual satisfaction is correlated with poorer physical health (heart disease, diabetes) and mental health (depression, anxiety). In other words, there are a lot of women out there who could benefit from owning a vibrator, but aren’t comfortable purchasing them, due to where they’re stocked. Less than a quarter of the surveyed women, but still – that’s a decent chunk.

Smile Makers aims to solve this problem for those women by introducing accessible products outside of the “adult” world – in Australia’s case, in the female-friendly environment of Priceline Pharmacy, alongside other health essentials like vitamins and Panadol and makeup (a frequent mental health necessity!).

Smile Makers vibrators launch in Priceline...what??!

 

The Smile Makers range in Priceline includes five personal massagers (The Millionaire, The Tennis Coach, The Fireman, The Surfer and The Frenchman) and two premium lubricants (Little Light Liquid and Generous Gel). The waterproof vibrators use easy-to-clean phthalate-free silicone, run for about 4 hours on a AAA battery and are pretty darn quiet. There’s a single button that cycles through 4 speeds and a pulsation mode. The prices are also pretty reasonable ($24.99 for the Surfer, $49.99 for the rest).

The big question: should vibrators be sold in a pharmacy, where people of all ages can potentially see them? I have to admit, when I first saw Smile Makers between cellulite cream and flea tablets in a department store in Switzerland, I found it confronting and did a double take. And I made sure there was no one else in the aisle before I took a closer look (and a surreptitious photo). The sleek design is as inoffensive as you can get (elegant, abstract designs have been partially credited for the widespread acceptance of vibrators in pop culture). While I know greater access and normalisation of sexual wellbeing a fantastic idea and I’m pretty darn socially progressive, on a gut level I’m still a bit uncomfortable.

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Fake Tan Review: Cocoa Brown and Fake Bake

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Having had some success with gradual tanners, I decided to go further and try out some actual fake tan: Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan and Fake Bake Mousse Instant Self-Tan.

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The key difference between fake tan and gradual tanner is that fake tan also contains a colour guide, which is brown pigment that gives your skin instant colour in addition to staining your skin brown with dihydroxyacetone. The instant tan colour also means you can see where you’ve applied product, which means it’s less likely that you’ll wake up with unexpected streaks and white patches like with gradual tanner.

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Korean Gray-Brown Brow Pencil Comparison

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I have undyed East Asian hair, so it’s hard to find a good brow product in stores in Australia. Luckily the Asian beauty market has it covered with tons of grey-brown options! I couldn’t find many comparison swatches online so I ended up buying a whole stack of “Gray Brown” pencils from a range of Korean brands (The Face Shop, Missha, A’pieu, Skinfood, Tonymoly, Lioele) from RoseRoseShop, and swatched them to show the difference. I hope this helps someone with the same dilemma!

Asian-brow-pencils

Here are the “Gray Brown” products I swatched:

A’pieu Nature Easy Eyebrow Pencil in Gray Brown
Tonymoly Lovely Eyebrow Pencil in Gray Brown
Skinfood Black Bean Eyebrow Pencil in Gray Brown
The Face Shop Lovely ME:EX Design My Eyebrow in Gray Brown
The Face Shop Lovely ME:EX Design My Eyebrow in Dark Gray
Lioele Auto Eyebrow in Gray Black
Missha The Style Perfect Eyebrow Styler in Gray Brown
A’pieu Harutatoo Brow in Dark Brown

Asian-brow-pencil-comparison-grey-brown

Since my hair is undyed, the roots of my hair and brows are naturally grey-tinged. Pretty much all of the affordable brown brow pencils designed for brunettes in Australia pull too red, while black pencils are too dark, so they both look pretty unnatural. There are a few OK products on the market, but they’re few and far between, so I’ve been using The Face Shop ME:EX Design My Eyebrow in Gray Brown as my everyday brow pencil, while my sister uses the same pencil in Dark Gray. The shades are very similar, though Gray Brown has a subtle brown tone.

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Fact-check: Does Tea Tree Oil Work?

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Tea tree oil is probably something you’ve seen at the beauty counter dozens of times, in skincare creams and ointments. But what is it used for?

What’s tea tree oil?

Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia shrub (common name tea tree, surprise surprise!). This tree is native to Eastern Australia. The oil is colourless to light yellow, and smells strongly pine-like. If eaten, it’s poisonous to both humans and animals.

In skincare, tea tree oil is useful because it’s antibacterial – pimples contain the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes (commonly abbreviated as P. acnes), and killing these reduce acne (many other acne treatments, like benzoyl peroxide and the antibiotics clindamycin and erythromycin, also directly kill acne bacteria). It also kills fungi, which means it’s handy for nail and foot infections too.

How do I use it?

If undiluted, tea tree oil can be irritating, so diluting it in another oil like mineral oil or sunflower oil is the best way to use it. A study found that 5% tea tree oil works as well as 5% benzoyl peroxide – it acts more slowly, but it’s less irritating, so 5% is a good starting point if you’re not sure.

5% tea tree oil means if you want a total of X mL tea tree oil mixture, to get the mL of:

Tea tree oil: multiply the total X by 0.05
Diluting oil: multiply the total X by 0.95

Then mix the two together in a clean bottle to get your mixture!

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