How To Find The Right Liquid Exfoliator For Your Skin

Garden of Wisdom

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past two years, you will have noticed a sharp increase in the amount of acid-based skincare products hitting the shelves. While scrubs might have been the tried and tested method of sloughing away dead skin a few years back, now it is all about the liquid exfoliator. So much so, Pinterest has seen a 58% increase in searches for liquid exfoliators. Read More…

Do You Really Need To Switch Up Your Skincare Every Season?

Spring On White

As the season’s revolving door swings into spring it feels only right to embrace the change by updating our skincare routine. In the same way that layers of your clothing get lighter and airier, logic would dictate the same goes for your creams and lotions. But is it a necessity for achieving healthy and glowing skin? The good news is that you don’t need to completely overhaul your winter skincare routine in a bid to fix any problems you now face. However, the devil is in the detail when it comes to perfect skin once the mercury rises. Here’s everything you need to know about trans-seasonal skincare.

Adjust moisture levels

If you used creamy cleansers and heavy duty moisturisers to counteract the cold climate and central heating throughout winter, it’s time to give these a ghosting. This is because during the warmer months our skin is able to hold onto more water, so as a rule, you don’t need as much hydration once spring hits. Moreover, continuing to layer on thick moisturisers can actually make your skin lazy. Instead you want to give it the ‘tools’ it needs to do a good job by itself.

Look for moisturising ingredients that have skin affinity, such as hyaluronic acid (it’s naturally occurring in the skin) as well as urea and glycerin. These will provide quick relief to a dry complexion, but are also able to draw water in the skin and retain it for longer.

Forgo physical exfoliators

In spring, your natural oils are coming back to balance after a cold snap, so you’re likely to produce more sebum. If you find your skin gets too oily reach for an oil-removing cleanser such as iS Clinical Cleansing Complex, £35 to help control breakouts. If feel like you need a deeper clean, look for formulations that contain salicylic acid (Garden of Wisdom Salicylic Acid 2%, £9), and apply after cleansing. It’s also worth adding an acid to your routine to help decongest skin. Try a retinol, a topical form of vitamin A that aids healthy skin-cell turnover. It’s clever stuff: retinol binds itself to receptors in our cells, which help to normalise the production of new skin, clearing breakouts and reducing the overproduction of oil.

Up your SPF level

If you’ve down-graded your SPF, or even worse, not applied one at all this winter, then now is the time to add one to your arsenal. It’s non-negotiable for damage control. Skin ageing UVA rays don’t change much through the year, however UVB get stronger once the temperature starts to rise, so it’s a good idea to up your SPF protection to 30-50. Try Sarah Chapman Skin Insurance SPF 30, £49. It offers stellar protection from UVA, UVB, thermal and infrared radiation has a clever knack of airbrushing the face no matter your skin tone thanks to light-adapting pigments that make you look dewy and glowing no matter how unforgiving the spring sunshine is.

Supercharge your skincare with vitamin C

Supercharge your SPF with topical vitamins. Vitamin C in particular can help to combat the ageing rays that aren’t fully blocked by your SPF. LixirSkin Vitamin C Paste, £32, has a fresh-squeezed citrus scent, and provides natural sun protection while also scavenging free radicals. It’s also worth keeping a vitamin C mist handy for a quick fix throughout the day.

Keep your pH levels in check

Overloading your skin with lots of products in winter may have sent your pH level off kilter. pH stands for ‘potential hydrogen’ and is used to describe the skin barrier’s acid-alkaline ratio, which ranges from 0 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline). If your skin is plagued by severe dryness and lines this could be a telltale sign that your acid mantle is too alkaline and falling prey to bacteria. If your skin is inflamed, oily, prone to breakouts or painful to the touch, that indicates it’s too acidic. To bring back its sweet spot of 5.5, reach for Aurelia Cell Revitalise Night Moisturiser, £58, which strengthens the protective barrier by feeding skin probiotics.

Hormones and Skincare

Hormones

Our hormones are critical to our overall wellness and skin health so being aware of how hormone levels change within a month can make us more inclined to use skincare products that are functional during these times.  This is apparent for example when one gets pregnant, the skin will often glow, basically because oestrogen is a hormone that protects our skin. Your hormones constantly affect your skin. It is linked to your age, but below are some tips to consider for those with a regular period and not on the Pill. Read More…

Skincare Brand To Know: Garden Of Wisdom

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After recently discovering a shared love for it in our office, we thought we’d let you in on this game-changer… Garden Of Wisdom.

  • gow-niacinamide-itp

    When a brand gets 5* ratings on just about every beauty site imaginable, we take note. And when we see seriously impressive results for ourselves, well, we go out and clear the shelves. The premise of Garden of Wisdom (it’s become so cult its also known as GOW), is simple: dubbed The Ordinary’s natural equivalent, the formulas have minimal ingredients, allowing the actives to get to work properly. The pH of the acids have been adjusted too so they don’t irritate the skin, yet still perform their roles of exfoliation while enhancing collagen.

    How long has it been around?

    Longer than we even knew! The pros have been making these formulations for over a decade. The products are potent and cruelty free without common skincare additives such as alcohol, silicones or soya. While it’s not technically new, 2019 is very much about brands with easy-to-follow skincare instructions which skip any science speak, making GOW feel very much of the moment. Read More…

How I Found My Skincare Style

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All this recent talk about “skincare wardrobes” courtesy of Lisa Armstrong in her GoW article (here) and Gill in last month’s newsletter got me thinking about my own skincare style and how I found it. I get asked all the time about how to curate the perfect set of products, aka a skincare wardrobe and it is something I like to think I have pretty much perfected now, although it wasn’t an easy process. It took a lot of time, a lot of money spent and wasted and a lot of bad skin days before I truly realized what worked for me and why. Knowing this is what allowed me to formulate my current results driven skincare style, which is focused on ingredients and formulas that do the most for my skin.

I went through a lot of different phases before I found my personal skincare style. In the beginning it was non-existent as I only used face wipes and a moisturizer. Then I went overboard and jumped on any new trend, launch and brand I could get my hands on. There was no structure and my skin was not happy. I also copied a lot of what I saw other people using, but that didn’t help either. Neither did using only products from one brand, it just wasn’t for me. Eventually I found my way to green beauty where I primarily used only organic and plant based products, but there was always something missing, which brings me to where I am now.

My product style is focused on ingredients and results. Sounds simple enough and when it comes to results you would think that’s what most people are after, but that isn’t always the case. For example, some people are looking for an “experience” from their products, which I can relate to in terms of self-care and others are more concerned with how a product will look on an Instagram #topshelfie post, which I don’t recommend doing. For me, after struggling with my skin for so long my number one concern is if a product actually works. I don’t care about the price (to a point) or the packaging (as long as it’s functional I’m happy) and I am not “loyal” to any brand. I want results and having a luxurious experience or pretty branding is not a major deciding factor when it comes to what I use.

What I learned over the years is that while no one brand has been able to completely cater to my combination skin, certain ingredients work really well for me and I seek them out in as many products as I can. My skin loves green tea (soothing antioxidant), salicylic and mandelic acids (generally gentle exfoliants), aloe vera (anti-inflammatory), zinc (wound healing), fruit enzymes (natural exfoliants), retinol (anti-ageing and anti-acne) and PHAs (more on this wonder ingredient soon). On the other hand, my skin doesn’t like lactic acid, some forms/strengths of Vit C and too much fragrance – synthetic or naturally occurring, so I try to avoid those. Now I can pretty much tell without even using something if it will work for me or cause a break out. Of course, I still get excited by new launches, but now I find them easier to resist the majority of them as my purchases are much more educated and less hopeful guesses nowadays.

How did I find all this out? Through trial and lots of error and finally playing attention to the information on the back of the product box (the inci list) instead of the claims being made on the front. For the longest time I had no idea what worked for my skin and most importantly, why until I started educating myself. This is also when I started to see the best results and after dealing with acne for so many years that’s really all I care about. Beautiful packaging, gorgeous scents/textures and “all natural” ingredients are meaningless to me if they don’t provide results worth paying extra for (yes extra, because that’s exactly how it works). We pay more for all the bells and whistles, as well as the fantastical claims about purity and wellness, which are usually just a marketing smoke screen for grossly overpriced subpar products. Be warned – expensive doesn’t always mean better.

If you are still struggling to hone in on your own personal skincare style then I have a few pointers that might help. In general, once you have figured out your skin type and/or major concerns you are then free to decide what factors are most important when it comes to choosing your skincare products. It could be refined textures, certain ingredients like me or you can choose to go the more clinical route with cosmeceutical brands or stick to more “natural” products from “green” companies. You can also decide on being a minimalist with just 2-4 steps or going all out with a full Asian skincare inspired 10+ step routine.

You can also take in to account how much you want to spend on skincare. I know that for many buying skincare products is more of a treat than a necessity and not everyone can afford to have multiple cleansers, eye serums and moisturizers (trust me, it’s probably better if you don’t). Luckily the industry has a skincare line to suit every budget and you can spend as little as under £10 on a product all the way up to thousands. Just be sure you’re getting your money’s worth and that being frugal isn’t costing you in the long run. Whether it’s cheap and cheerful or advanced science and luxurious, it has to give results to be worth buying.

When people ask me how to put together a skincare wardrobe I generally recommend mixing it up in a way where the most money is being spent on the most important areas or steps. The high-low approach that Lisa mentioned is a great place to start because it allows you to save on steps like cleansers and toners where you’re not likely to see visible changes (unless you’re using the wrong one) and invest in targeted treatments that will actually make a difference to your skin. Your skin style should be personal to you and your wardrobe should include products that you enjoy using and see results with.

Luckily, like with fashion there’s not really a wrong way to do it. Whether you go all out and spend a small fortune or opt for the budget friendly brands, or even stick to one brand because the products work that well for you, as long as you and your skin are happy then that’s all that matters. The only thing I would be wary of is the changing season as most people will need more hydration during the winter and then lighter layers in the summer, but those are easy to make small tweaks. Definitely pay attention to how your skin responds to what you’re using and try and do as much research as you can before buying (get samples!). This way you should find your skincare style will naturally evolve the more you begin to understand your skin.

Shabir And Trinny On Acne

trinny and shabir

If you missed Shabir in the bathroom with Trinny talking all things acne, then you can catch up on the key points and watch the full video right now. Acne is one of the most common skincare concerns and over 85 percent of people between 12 and 25 years suffer with it and one in five women will battle breakouts. While there is not set fast rule in terms of what causes acne, hormonal imbalance, stress and dietary choices, such as gluten and refined sugar, are all thought to be key drivers. When it comes to getting rid of acne, there are plenty of options.  Read More…