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 …

Read more

Breaking Down 5 Minute Crafts “Viral” Beauty Hacks (Video)

5 Min Crafts Viral

I’ve looked at some more 5 Minute Craft beauty hacks – they’re a mixed bag. Some of them are awful, some of them are actually not that bad. This set includes a few beauty hacks I’ve seen around the place: Aspirin for pimples DIY glitter eyeshadow Activated charcoal for teeth Wasabi lip colour Dark circles and tea bags Check it …

Read more

Bad DIY Hand Sanitizers (and a few good ones)

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic there’s a hand sanitizer shortage… and a ton of DIY hand sanitizer recipes. Will they actually work? (Spoiler: Most of them won’t.) I’ve made a video breaking down some of the good bad DIY hand sanitizer recipes out there. Check out the video on YouTube here. Key points: COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2 (novel coronavirus …

Read more

Why You Shouldn’t Use Lemon Juice on Your Skin

There are more DIY skincare recipes on the internet than you can shake a stick at, and most of them really, really like lemon juice. According to these DIY tips you should be slathering it all over your face and hair. Lemon juice smells nice, and it’s pretty cheap. But is it effective? And is it safe? Let’s talk about …

Read more

DIY Quick-Dry Scrunchable Shower Sponge on a Stick

DIY Quick-Dry Scrunchable Shower Sponge on a Stick

I’ve mentioned before that I love my netting-sponge-on-a-stick – it’s great for washing conditioner off your back, and for reaching your feet when you’re too sore to bend over (thanks, dance comp training). I’ve been using a sponge on a plastic handle from Daiso (which cost a whole $2.80) but recently it looks like they’ve decided to discontinue it, with no good replacement.


So I grabbed one from Chemist Warehouse… but alas, the stick is made of wood, and the mesh sponge is super dense, which mean it’s not going to dry out properly, which is pretty much THE biggest issue for me.

DIY Quick-Dry Scrunchable Shower Sponge on a Stick

Why Do Shower Sponges Need to Dry?

We tend to think of soap as clean, but bacteria can still thrive even with regular soaping of your sponge!

The number one thing that makes bacteria grow is water. That’s why there’s a robust preservative system in every properly formulated water-based beauty product.

Read more

DIY Mattifying Face Powder: Just a bag of corn starch

DIY Mattifying Face Powder: Just a bag of corn starch

The latest high-impact addition to my make-up stash has been a $2 sack of corn starch. No, I haven’t turned into a “if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your face” woo-meister… here’s the lowdown.

DIY Mattifying Face Powder: Just a bag of corn starch

Why Am I Putting Corn Starch on My Face?

I am an oily beast. My skin is generally hydrated and non-irritated, so it’s not my skin overproducing oil – it’s just naturally oily.

This means I tend not to wear moisturiser during the day, and even them my make-up will generally slide around and bunch up during the day. There are a few things I’ve found really handy for dealing with it, and one of the most effective things has been using a starch-based face powder.

DIY Mattifying Face Powder: Just a bag of corn starch

I’ve tried a lot of different translucent powders to try to soak up oil, but the one that have worked best for me so far have been Williamspro Zero Powder, Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder and Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder. Their top 3 ingredients:

  • Williamspro Zero Powder: Certified Organic Arrowroot Powder, Australian Green Clay, Australian White Clay
  • Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder: Zea mays (Corn) Starch, Oryza sativa (Rice) Starch, Silica
  • Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder (now slightly reformulated and called Matte Mineral Setting Powder): Silica, Corn Starch Modified, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer

So you can see – the top ingredients all include some form of starch.

There’s also been a trend of people using talcum powder on their face, so I unearthed this from Amazon:

Johnson’s Pure Cornstarch Baby Powder With Aloe Vera & Vitamin E

Ingredients: Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Tricalcium Phosphate, Aloe Barbadensis, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Fragrance

Note: no preservative. So why not try corn starch from the grocery aisle?

Issues with Corn Starch as Face Powder and Solutions

These are the most common objections to using food-grade corn starch as face powder that I’ve come across:

Corn starch can grow bacteria/fungus while in the container

This is probably the most common one: corn starch is food, and can breed fungus and bacteria while in the container. If you put that on your face, it can give you breakouts.

Read more

DIY Hair Tie & Bobby Pin Organiser: Tutorial

DIY Hair Tie & Bobby Pin Organiser: Tutorial

Like most people with long hair, I have a million hair ties and bobby pins that end up strewn all over the bathroom. I’ve tried organising them with jars and hooks, but it never seems to stick.

I recently saw two life hacks for how to keep everything neat: a magnetic strip for bobby pins, and carabiner clips for holding hair ties. Why not combine the two into a not-entirely-ugly organiser and stick it to the wall? Yeah, that’s what I did. I’m a low-key genius.

DIY Hair Tie & Bobby Pin Organiser: Tutorial

To put hair ties into the holder, you can just press the hair tie in and it’ll click into place. Taking the hair ties out is slightly more effort but much less than scrambling around trying to dig one out of who-knows-where.

DIY Hair Tie Organiser

You want one too? You’re in luck, I have instructions!

DIY Hair Tie Organiser

What you need

  • A5 piece of perspex (Amazon, eBay): You can go larger or smaller depending on your hair accessory holding requirements, but this works great for me. Shiny works best with the suction cups. I went for opaque because I didn’t want to see the cups, and black because everything matches it.
  • Double sided suction cups (Amazon, eBay): This is what I’m using to fix the perspex to my wall. I like this because it doesn’t leave any marks on the wall or the perspex, but unfortunately the quality of these is pretty variable so in the pack of 10 I received I had 2 deformed ones. I also considered using a double-sided pad covered in tiny suction cups but it didn’t work at all.
  • Adhesive magnetic strips (Amazon, eBay): I got the 15 mm wide strip with adhesive already attached.
  • Carabiners (Amazon, eBay): I used carabiners that were around 4 cm (1.5 inches) long. I bought these specifically because the non-clip side was completely flat, so it would have a larger contact area when I stuck it to the perspex. The number will depend on the size of your perspex but I found that placing them around 6 cm (2.5 inches) apart was perfect.
  • Gorilla glue (Amazon, eBay): I’m sure other glues will work, but this is what the guy at the hardware store recommended and he knows more than me. I suspect that a slightly less brittle glue might actually be better. (Edit: I’ve since replaced it with silicone glue and yes, it does work better!)

I bought everything except the glue off eBay, but it took weeks to get to me. If you aren’t rushed, at current eBay prices it works out to be less than $15 AUD. Bargain!

Read more

Why DIY Sunscreen Doesn’t Work

Video: Why DIY Sunscreen Doesn't Work

Video: Why DIY Sunscreen Doesn't Work

Here’s a new video on why DIY sunscreen doesn’t work. It’s a much more detailed version of my post on DIY sunscreen from a while ago. It’s a topic that’s quite important to me, since it’s one of those cases where having the wrong information can cause serious harm!

This video has been a bit delayed due to the rest of my life getting a bit hectic, but I managed to get it out before the Northern Hemisphere summer finished, so go me…

I bought a lapel microphone and some new editing software, so everything is a bit more polished I hope! Check it out here.

Extra notes and references

Since I know there are a lot of nerds out there who like references and extra information, here are some of the sources for specific things I mention in the video (I got lazy with my citation style, sorry):

Skin cancer stats are sourced from the Cancer Council Australia and the Skin Cancer Foundation, who list the original sources at the bottom of their respective sites.

SPF testing guidelines: FDA (USA), TGA (Australia), EC (EU).

Dangers of UVA: Blog Post: Why You Should Protect Yourself From UVA

More info on sunscreen formulation

  • SQ Wang & HL Lim (eds), Principles and Practice of Photoprotection: A very comprehensive book on everything related to sunscreen. Part II has a few chapters on sunscreen formulation.
  • Realize Beauty, The Trouble With Making Your Own Sunscreen: Amanda Foxon-Hill, a cosmetic chemist, talks about the difficulties she encountered when trying to formulate a sunscreen. Her other posts are also very interesting!
  • Kobo Products, Perspectives on Supplying Attenuation Grades (presentation): Info on zinc oxide photoreactivity and surface coatings, particle size and aggregation vs protection.
  • BASF Creations Newsletter, Formulating with Zinc Oxide: Lots of information on how to formulate sunscreens with zinc oxide, including some information on dispersion and pH.
  • Silverson, Manufacture of Suntan Creams and Lotions: Tips on dispersion from the manufacturer of some of the best industrial homogenisers used in sunscreen manufacture.

Sunscreens are very unlikely to cause endocrine disruption in practice: Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (open access – quote: “Mathematic modeling indicated that it would take 277 years using a sunscreen containing 6% oxybenzone used at 2 mg/cm2 (the dose recommended for sun-protection factor [SPF] testing by the FDA) or 1 mg/cm2 (reported real-life use) to achieve the systemic levels of oxybenzone achieved in the study in rats”), Australasian Journal of Dermatology (looks at other filters apart from oxybenzone)

Nanoparticles in sunscreens are safe: TGA Literature Review (very comprehensive)

More (open access!) papers on zinc oxide: Nanotechnology Science and Applications, Science and Technology of Advanced Materials

People stay in the sun for longer when wearing sunscreen: JID paper (open access)

Reporting illegal medicines: FDA report form, TGA report form

Do oils increase UV penetration?

This is a topic that I thought deserved a longer write-up.

Read more