Video: Favourites/Empties July 2017

I’ve done another video! It’s becoming quite addictive, I’m liking the change of pace. This is my first review video. I talk about five products I’ve actually managed to finish, so they’re the cream of the crop when it comes to favourites. I try out a stupid amount of products for reviewing (way more than what actually turns up on …

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Daiso Silicone Sheet Mask Review

Daiso Silicone Sheet Mask Review

My skin gets dehydrated in winter despite my best efforts to gently cleanse and exfoliate it, so I’ve been using hydrating masks (both sheet and not) to try to boost the moisture levels. I came across this nifty silicone sheet mask tool at Daiso and knew I had to get one!

Daiso Silicone Sheet Mask Review

The Daiso Silicone Mask is essentially a silicone sheet mask with ear loops to hold it in place.

Daiso Silicone Sheet Mask Review

You can use it on top of a sheet mask, or on top of a regular mask or even by itself, according to the instructions on the back. I’ve also been using it over hydrating masks.

Daiso Silicone Sheet Mask Review

Daiso Silicone Sheet Mask Review

 

There’s a bunch of advantages to using this mask:

It keeps your face warm when masking in winter: When water evaporates, it takes a whole bunch of heat with it, which is why sweating cools you down so well and why hypothermia happens so much more easily when you’re wearing wet clothes. Some people use sheet mask warmers, but the mask only stays warm for a few minutes after application, and if it gets too hot, there’s the chance that sensitive ingredients could break down.

When water evaporates from the top of the sheet mask, it carries all the other ingredients with it. This means that as your mask evaporates, unless it stays absolutely soaked in essence, all the good ingredients will end up clustered on the side furthest away from your skin. The sheet mask slows down evaporation so the ingredients don’t migrate away.

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How to Exfoliate 1: All About Physical Exfoliants

exfoliation-tools

Are you confused about how to choose the right exfoliation method for your skincare routine? This three-part series rounds up all the types of exfoliants for your face, with examples of products and their pros and cons!

This post covers all the physical exfoliation options. Part 2 will be on chemical exfoliation, and Part 3 will be a guide on how to choose the one(s) that will work for you. For a more barebones overview, check out this exfoliation basics post.

What is exfoliation?

Your skin consists of living skin (the epidermis), covered in a 15-20 layers of dead cells (the stratum corneum). The dead cells in the stratum corneum have an important role in protecting your living tissue from the outside environment. They’re completely replaced around every 2 weeks – the cells at the surface are constantly shedding. However, the shedding isn’t always regular, and sometimes it happens slower than it should. This leads to your skin being covered by too thick a layer of dead cells, which looks dull, uneven, scaly and flaky. Exfoliation helps the shedding along, ideally without compromising the ability of the stratum corneum to act as a barrier.

There are 2 main categories of exfoliation: physical and chemical. I’m including exfoliation tools under the banner of physical exfoliation, and enzymes in the chemical group.

What Is Physical Exfoliation?

Dead cells are buffed away mechanically using grainy products or tools. It’s a lot like sandpapering a block of wood or scrubbing tiles – the friction from rubbing an object back and forth over the skin lifts stuck cells.

Much like sandpapering wood, the harshness of physical exfoliation depends on a few factors:

  • what the exfoliating objects are like (how large, how hard, how smooth)
  • how you move them over your skin (how hard you press, what direction you go in, how long you rub it in for)

I personally find that rubbing lightly in small circles for a minute or two is more effective and less irritating than rubbing hard for a short period, with any physical exfoliation method.

Physical exfoliation has a reputation for being harsh, but I think it’s unfair – it can be very gentle, but most people use physical exfoliants way too frequently, and feel like it’s not working if they don’t feel raw and tingly afterwards. Don’t fall into this trap! It’ll make your skin worse in the long run, reducing the ability of the stratum corneum to act as a barrier against the outside world and prevent moisture from leaving (its barrier function).

Product categories

Click on each heading to jump to that section.

Plastic microbeads

These round beads are made of plastic and come in every imaginable colour. They used to be in tons of products because they’re really cheap and smoothly shaped, so they were budget-friendly and gentle on the skin.

However, it turned out that microbeads were an environmental pollutant – they made their way through the sewage system and into waterways, where environmental toxins (actual toxins) like pesticides latched onto them. When aquatic animals ate them, they would release the toxins. Nasty! (You can read more on microbead pollution on this post.)

Plastic microbeads were banned in a handful of US states after research showed that the beads were turning up everywhere. The Netherlands are in the process of phasing them out. Other Western countries are moving in this direction, so plastic microbeads are found in less products these days.

You’ll see them listed on the ingredients list as:

  • polyethylene
  • polypropylene
  • nylon-6
  • nylon-11
  • polymethyl methacrylate

You can find lists of microbead-containing and microbead-free products in your country on Beat the Microbead.

How to use

These are the standard scrub products – squeeze some into your hand, slap it on your clean face and rub around, then rinse.

Examples

plastic-microbead

It’s actually been quite difficult to locate plastic microbeads in my skincare collection – I only managed to find an old tube of Nivea Pure Effect All-in-1 Multi Action Cleanser, and a couple of Asian products (Muji Scrub Face Soap and Missha Cacao & Cream Facial Scrub).

There are lots of replacements for plastic microbeads available now, so you can still get your scrub on without as much guilt.

Jojoba Beads

One of the most popular replacements for plastic microbeads are jojoba beads. They’re made of chemically processed jojoba oil (the same process used to make solid margarine from liquid vegetable oil), and are usually listed as “hydrogenated jojoba oil” or “jojoba esters” in the ingredients list. These beads are translucent white, and they’re usually found in products as very fine grains.

How to use

Just like microbeads, these are straightforward scrubs. Rub them onto clean damp skin, rinse away afterwards.

Examples

jojoba-scrubs

These are particularly popular in products marketed as natural – they show up in Jurlique, Moreish and Neutrogena Naturals scrubs, as well as a Guinot Gentle Face Exfoliating Cream, a scrub/peeling gel hybrid. They’re popular but I’m personally not that fond of how they feel on my skin, so I don’t reach for these that often.

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My Best Daiso Beauty Buys

daiso-detergent

I love Daiso. Even when I’m not after anything in particular, I can’t resist wandering through the aisles, just to look at all the shiny Japanese products, all of which can be had for $2.80. I’ve found a lot of gems in there, as well as a lot of duds – here are my favourite beauty buys from Daiso, as well as some disappointments.

daiso-detergent

My Favourites

Storage containers – Storage containers are my number 1 Daiso buy. I must have $100 worth of them sitting around at home. I particularly like the clear plastic containers that come in a million different sizes, and the cute flowerpots that are fantastic as make-up brush holders.

Daiso Puff and Sponge Detergent – I still havent’t found a more efficient cleanser for my make-up brushes. This is the bomb-diggity-omb – clean make-up brushes in just a few swirls, and it’s super easy to rinse out.

Mirrors – Where else can you pick up a decent sized mirror for $2.80?

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May Empties

may-empties

I can’t believe it’s June already! This year has flown by. Here are my empties from May: I have a lot of hair, so I go through a lot of shampoo and conditioner. I finished off Toni and Guy Nourish Conditioner for Damaged Hair, which I really liked, as well as Appelles Blackseed Shampoo and Tamanu Conditioner, which had lovely …

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How to choose a skincare mask

clay-masks

There are a lot of masks out there – which one should you use to boost your skincare routine into hyperdrive? Let me help!

What is a mask?

A mask is a treatment that you put on your face for an extended period of time (between 10 minutes and 10 hours). You’re not meant to be seen in public while it’s on. The effects of a good mask will last around 1-3 days.

There are a bunch of different types of masks, good for different purposes. There’s a bit of crossover, especially if you’re mixing the mask yourself, but these are the basic categories:

Clay masks

Clay masks have clay as their main ingredient, and are helpful for sucking oil out of your pores, along with any random gunk in the oil. There are a range of clays with slightly different textures, but since all sorts of ingredients (oils, humectants like honey, etc.) can be mixed into a clay mask, it’s hard to say what effect a particular clay mask will have without trying it (though we can safely say that none of them will detox your body).

Kaolin clays are less absorbent than bentonite, so kaolin-based masks (usually white or pink in colour) are generally better for dry and sensitive skin, while bentonite masks (usually green in colour) are recommended for oily skin (I’m using handwavy language on purpose, because there is a LOT of variation – look up reviews of that specific mask before you buy).

How to use: You can apply a clay mask with your fingers (my preferred method) or a brush (feels posher, but requires more clean-up). Wait 5-30 min depending on your skin’s tolerance, then wash off (you may need to use a cloth to soak it off – I find that sticking my face under the shower head for 5 seconds helps tremendously). You don’t need to wait for it to dry before removing, but letting it dry will result in more oil absorption (but also more irritation potential).

clay-masks

Examples: Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay is pure powdered calcium bentonite clay that you can mix into a mask yourself. If you mix it with an acidic substance, you’ll end up with a more skin-friendly pH and a very absorbent mask (here are some recipes for mixing bentonite with non-stinky citric acid and for mixing with slightly stinky ACV). You can make it less absorbent by adding humectants and oils. I’ve also got The Cosmetic Kitchen Raw Chocolate Clay Mask, which consists of pre-mixed Australian pink clay and raw cacao powder (antioxidant).

If you don’t want to go through the fuss of mixing, Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque is a popular option which contains both kaolin and bentonite, but I find that the anti-acne sulfur in it smells very unpleasant (lots of other people disagree). Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Oil Absorbing Mask* is another example, but I found it quite itchy. Moreish Emergence Clay Mask* is a premade kaolin clay mask that’s super gentle, with lots of humectants and oils thrown in.

Hydrating masks

Hydrating masks are a pretty broad category – there are oil-based masks which soften your skin, there are humectant-based masks which help water bind and absorb. I’m lumping them together because most oil-based masks have some humectants in them. These masks aim to leave your skin smooth and plump.

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My Top 8 Beauty Finds of 2014

2014-favourite-finds

It’s the end of 2014 and it’s gone by so quickly! I decided to do a round-up of my favourite products I discovered this year – I tried a LOT of products, so these are the best of the best! La Roche-Posay Cicaplast – This has been amazing for my chapped areas. It’s soothing and protects raw skin until it’s …

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Daiso DIY Expanding Sheet Mask Pellets

I went on a trip to Daiso last weekend and this cute little sheet mask set fell into my basket! For those of you who aren’t lucky enough to know, Daiso is a Japanese variety store where everything costs 100 yen, which somehow translates to $2.80 in Australia. This set contains 10 “blank” sheet masks compressed into little pellets, that …

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