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Which moisturiser is right for your skin type? Part 2 Written by Nicola Meir Holistic Therapies

Which moisturiser is right for your skin type? Part 2  Written by Nicola Meir Holistic Therapies

 

Following on from my last blog – ‘Moisturisers – Your protective skincare shield Part 1’ here is Part 2 – ‘Which moisturiser is right for you?’ If you are looking for a new moisturiser or want to start using one for the first time read on. Here are my personal reviews of some of the moisturisers available at Perfumery & Company.

 

Wildsmith Skin

Active Repair Copper Peptide Cream

I would suggest for dry/mature skin/concerns about skin showing signs of ageing

 

I love every Wildsmith Skin product I’ve tried. They are really cleverly constructed and based on science. Copper is one of the body’s natural trace elements.  Copper Peptides are a copper element with three amino acids. These are proteins which help to moisturise, regenerate and stimulate cell renewal, basically working to produce changes in the skins appearance. They occur naturally within the skin but also feature in this cream.

 

You’ll also find amazing free radical fighters within the formula. These are so important in protecting skin against damage from external factors such as pollutants. These are unstable molecules in search of other atoms or molecules that they can hook onto in order to make them stable again. They can wreak havoc with our skin in their quest to find other atoms and electrons to steal. The best analogy I can think of to illustrate this is to envisage what happens when you leave a slice of avocado or apple out on your kitchen work top. It’s not long before they turn brown.  This is deterioration caused by free radicals in the atmosphere.  The deterioration or damage that we can experience with our skin from free radicals are decreased elasticity and collagen, a reduction in hyaluronic acid and an increase in fine lines and wrinkles.

 

So this cream contains a mixture of Peptides, free radical fighters (also called antioxidants) and amino acids to encourage an increase in skin cell metabolism, stimulating collagen production, neutralising free radicals, providing anti-inflammatory and tissue repair properties.

 

This cream has a light but substantial texture meaning that it melts into the skin easily. It has a subtle unisex fragrance. Perfect for day and night time application after cleansing/serums/oils/post shave etc.

 

L’Occitane En Provence

Immortelle Divine Cream

I would suggest for dry/mature skin/concerns about fine lines, lack of firmness or radiance

 

This is part of L’Occitane’s ultimate skincare range designed to tackle signs of ageing. It’s based on the essential oil of Immortelle which is an amazing active ingredient. It’s a flower which grows wild on shrubland in Corsica. Interestingly it never fades or wilts, even after it has been picked. This cream is powered by two Immortelle extracts which are blended together. The first is an Immortelle Super Extract which is a gentle 100% natural alternative to Retinol. (Retinol is a really effective ingredient that works on signs of ageing). This Super Extract has the ability to increase the skin’s density and boost collagen to encourage firmer and plumper skin. The second extract is the Immortelle Essential Oil which is a natural antioxidant, as powerful as vitamin E, to protect the skin against those nasty free radical aggressors such as pollution.

 

It has a rich velvety texture which feels very luxurious. It will bring immediate comfort to the skin whilst feeding it with hydration and boosting radiance. The fragrance is indeed ‘Divine’ and instantly transports you to those sunny hillsides. It’s not an overly feminine fragrance so would appeal to most people. Apply morning and/or evening onto cleansed skin, after serums, oils, shaving etc. It’s a real pleasure to use.

 

Clarins

Hydra-Essentiel

I would suggest for normal, combination, oily, skin experiencing some sensitivity

 

This is a non-oily cooling gel which works on hydration. It’s possible to have oily or combination skin that is dehydrated. Sudden changes in temperature, central heating, air conditioning and pollution can contribute to dehydration. This might look like dry patches on the skin, fine lines or sensitivity.

 

What I love about this gel is that it seems really well suited to normal and combination skin types (that are perhaps normal on cheeks and more oily on forehead, nose and chin). It  would suit oily skin too as it’s a non-oily gel formula as opposed to a lotion or a cream. It has a fantastic cooling effect on the skin which soothes and leaves it looking matt whilst still keeping it hydrated. It has a light fragrance.

 

Use this in the morning on cleansed skin after applying serums/oils/post shave. It could also be used in the evening if your skin is oily or combination. If your skin is normal (not many people have normal skin with no issues) you may need something richer in the evening.

 

Nourish London

Argan Skin Renew Moisturiser

I would suggest for all skin types (including oily)/concerns with signs of ageing and dehydration

 

This moisturiser contains omega rich Argan oil, antioxidant Vitamin E and tripeptides. It  works to increase hydration levels, essential for healthy skin that looks and feels great, plus it smooths and firms.  The mix of essential oils of Frankincense, Myrrh, Borage and Rose of Jericho help to boost skin cell turnover, hydrate and strengthen the skin cells therefore reducing fine lines.

 

It has a rich lotion texture, so lighter than a cream but still quite substantial. Suitable for any skin type. This is a great all-rounder with a very light unisex fragrance. Apply morning and evening onto cleansed skin, after your oil, serum or after shaving.

 

 

Clarins

Re-Boost Refreshing Hydrating Cream

I would suggest for normal/combination/slightly dry/dehydrated skin

 

The main aim of this cream is to provide your skin with a hit of hydration which lasts all day. It has a powerful mix of ingredients to re-energise the skin which include fig extract, organic goji berry extract and shea butter. They not only boost the skins hydration levels but increase glow too.

 

It’s a cooling, lightweight gel/cream consistency which glides onto the skin easily. It has a light fresh fragrance and leaves the skin with a matt finish. Clarins suggest this for dry skin but I don’t think it is enough for a dryer skin type. It would be great as a morning moisturiser/following a morning shave to give glow to the skin due to its cooling effect and will help to soothe redness and irritations. But it won’t leave the skin dewy. Most moisturisers can be used morning and evening but I would say that this one is particularly suited to morning unless you have combination or oily skin when you could use it twice a day.

 

Neals Yard Remedies

Rejuvenating Frankincense Nourishing Cream

I would suggest for dry and very dry skin types

 

The ingredients within this moisturiser are perfect for nourishing and calming the skin. Frankincense is a wonderful rejuvenator encouraging the skin to look less tired, whilst Myrrh essential oil nourishes and feeds the skin with what it needs to feel hydrated.

 

This is a very rich thick cream which will help to bring comfort to dry and very dry skin types. It has a very light fragrance, great for soothing dry skin conditions and razer burn. This could be used morning and/or evening after cleansing, serums, oils, shaving. Depending on how dry your skin is, or perhaps just as a night cream.

 

L’Occitane en Provence

Immortelle Precious Cream

I would suggest for normal, dry and very dry skin types, concerned about the first signs of skin getting older

 

This is one of my personal favourites. It’s a great allrounder. Like the L’Occitane Divine Cream, this Precious Cream is made with the amazing oil from the Immortelle flower, known for its ability to fight visible signs of ageing. It also includes a Hyaluronic Acid complex (which is twice as powerful as standard hyaluronic Acid). This helps the skin cells to renew at a quicker rate, retain water, keep tissues well hydrated, moist and plump.  Free radical fighters (antioxidants) work against daily aggressors that try to attack skin cells causing damage.  It gives a lovely glow to the skin, a brighter complexion. L’Occitane say that the combination of Immortelle and their dynamic hyaluronic Acid complex powers up your skins natural renewal in just ten days (as opposed to around twenty eight days).

 

It’s a velvety cream texture. Really feels like it is feeding the skin with hydration to soften and plump it’s appearance. It has such a beautiful light floral fragrance. I would say that this cream is a wonderful option if you are concerned about the first signs of ageing or if you have normal or dry skin. You could opt for the Divine Cream if you have visible signs that your skin is getting older. Use in the morning and/or evening after cleansing/serums/oils/post shaving etc.

 

Clarins

Super Restorative Day Cream

I would suggest for dry and very dry skin types, those that have noticed hormonal changes in their skin

 

A vitamin C derivative encourages a brighter more even complexion. Whilst Hyaluronic acid, shea butter and mango butter provide a powerful hit of moisture and comfort. As we get older and as our hormones change, the many components within our skin change too. Clarins have included an organic extract of Harungana, which is known as the ‘healing tree’ in Madagascar. They have found that it has the ability to reactivate fibroblast cells within our skin which in turn stimulates collagen fibre production.

 

Clarins recommend this cream for women over fifty but I would say it can be used by anyone if you are experiencing pigmentation, fine lines, dehydration and they are causing concern. I personally really like this cream. It’s rich and substantial without sitting on the surface of the skin. It feels like it is nourishing the skin and leaves a lovely glow and sheen with a beautiful light fragrance. Use morning and/or evening on cleansed skin after serums, oils, post shave.

 

If you are lucky enough to live close to Perfumery & Company you can pop in and get some expert advice about the best products for you. Aside from anything else it’s the most inviting store and great to browse around and treat yourself. However, if you can’t just pop in as you live too far away, fear not! It’s super easy to order on their website and have your products delivered to your door. The blog is also a great point of reference if you want to learn more about your skin, skincare and some of the products which have been personally selected for a prestigious place on the shelves in store. Looking after our skin is part of looking after ourselves as a whole. Think of applying your moisturiser as a real act of self-care, take time to massage it into your skin, breathe in the beautiful fragrance and take time for yourself. A still point in your busy day.

 

N x

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Moisturisers – Your protective skincare shield

Moisturisers – Your protective skincare shield

Moisturisers – Your protective skincare shield (Part 1)

Written by Nicola Meir Holistic Therapies

 

Think of a moisturiser as your dependable suit of armour protecting your skin from the outside world. Whether it’s a cream, gel or lotion it can create a veil over the skin and is multi-functional, a necessity for all types of skin.

 

A good moisturiser is an essential part of our skincare routine,  and can help with many things, such as:

 

  • Maintaining the skins natural protective barrier whilst also preventing water loss from the skin. This is hugely important when we are surrounded by things like air conditioning, central heating and the normal changes of the seasons. It’s essentially there to help balance the water and oil in our skin, and by achieving the right balance, it will help our skin to be more hydrated and look healthier.
  • Maintaining the skin’s natural moisturising factors which are made up of a mix of water-soluble salts and amino acids inside our skin cells. As these are water soluble they can easily be washed out leaving the skin feeling dry. One reason why we shouldn’t opt for a harsh foaming cleanser or rigorous toner.
  • Some moisturisers are also really effective humectants (they prevent moisture loss from the skin and can also glean moisture from the air to nourish the skin). How fab is that!
  • Amazing soothing powers to ease irritated skin, for example after shaving.
  • Protecting the skin against free radicals (environmental damage) such as pollution. If left to their own devises free radicals can be responsible for breaking down our skin’s collagen, resulting in blemishes, fine lines, pigmentation and looser looking skin.
  • Some moisturisers contain key ingredients that can penetrate to feed and nourish the skin. These may include things like peptides, hyaluronic acid and glycerin to name a few.
  • Evening out and smoothing dry areas of the skin.
  • Providing a perfect base for makeup where it stays put and doesn’t slide or disappear throughout the day.

 

But where does it sit in our skincare routine?

For years the message has always been to cleanse, tone and moisturise as a bare minimum and this is still the case. We are fortunate to have lots of other product options available that can be intertwined into this basic routine. Our cleanser and our moisturiser are always the top and tail of our regimen. Start with cleansing to thoroughly clean your skin, then tone and treat it with toners/acid toners, exfoliators, serums, oils, masks and eye products before finishing off with a moisturiser to hydrate and protect it.  If you scroll through my blogs I’ve written about the purpose and benefits of cleansing, toning and exfoliating already. I like to use the analogy of using a moisturiser being like closing our front door when we leave our house. We wouldn’t leave it open to the elements, inviting aggressors in, would you? That’s what we would be doing to our skin if we didn’t moisturise it. Our last port of call would always be sun protection which is an absolute must all year round. Perhaps this is our burglar alarm for extra security!

 

What type of moisturiser should I choose?

Choose a moisturiser which is right for your skin type, whether that be oily, dry, normal (with no real issues – this, by the way, is very few of us unfortunately) or combination skin (where you might have an oily nose and forehead but dryer cheeks). Any concerns that you have regarding your skin i.e. pigmentation, dehydration, fine lines, uneven surface, lack of radiance can be dealt with by using products previously applied i.e. toners, serums and oils.

 

Surely I don’t need a moisturiser if I have really oily skin?

Yes you do! I’d suggest going for oil free varieties or a light lotion, gel or serum containing hyaluronic acid to help keep skin moisturised but not overloaded. From my days working on beauty counters and delivering skincare training I knew lots of people who did not moisturise their skin because it was oily.  They tried to strip the moisture out by using harsh foaming cleansers, astringent toners containing lots of alcohol and then purposely didn’t moisturise for fear of replacing excess oil. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this is the way forward. But these actions only encourage the skin’s sebaceous glands to produce more oil to replace what has been lost. Therefore exasperating the situation and leaving skin very confused and often oilier than it was before. So please do moisturise if your skin is oily. It’s all about choosing the right products.

 

What age should I start using a moisturiser?

From your teen years onwards. Basically as soon as you hit puberty. The type of moisturiser you use will change as your skin changes. But essentially  a moisturiser is a staple in your skincare routine.  As a teen or someone in their early twenties you may benefit from using a light lotion or cream depending on your skin type. As we progress through the years always choose a moisturiser suited to your skin type.

 

We don’t need lots of different moisturisers. This is in contrast to some of the other skincare steps where it’s quite normal (although not essential) to have more than one option. You may have more than one cleanser to remove make up and SPF, to clean your skin, whether it’s morning or evening etc. Always make your decision on what to do based on what you have on your face at the time and how your skin is feeling. You may have an assortment of toners and acid toners in your cabinet too. For example a glycolic acid and a lactic or salicylic acid based on what your requirements are on any particular day. You may have a Vitamin A (Retinoid) and a Vitamin C serum among others and they should be used until they are finished rather than chopping and changing. When it comes to moisturisers you don’t need a large selection. This is the same with eye creams and SPFs too.

 

What type of moisturisers are there?

There are generally four types:

 

Humectants

These are pretty clever as they attract water from the humidity in the atmosphere and from our epidermis to nourish the skin. They can be found in lots of moisturisers. These work particularly well for oilier and dehydrated skins as they don’t clog the pores or add more oil but they will effectively hydrate the skin.

 

Emollients

Sometimes called lipids. The function of these is to add oil to the epidermis (the upper layers of the skin) and help to soften and smooth the skin texture. They are there to imitate the natural lipids and oils that are found in our skin and fill in the gaps within our skin cells. They are great for most skin types but are particularly beneficial for dry and sensitive skins.

 

Ceramides

These are naturally produced in the body and act as a skin barrier. But when we are lacking in them, we can find ourselves with dry and irritated skin. When found in moisturisers they are just like the ceramides found in our skin. They penetrate quite easily which helps to seal in moisture and strengthen the skin barrier. Great if your skin is dry or sensitive.

 

Occlusives

The main purpose of these are to provide a coating or film over the stratum corneum (the outer most layer of the epidermis) to prevent water loss and therefore seal in moisture. They are generally prescribed by a professional to help with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis and extra dry skin. They are usually quite thick in texture.

 

Perfumery and Company have a plethora of different moisturisers to suit all skin types. In my next blog I will share some of my recommendations as there are quite a few. The store is now open again so feel free to pop in. They have a wealth of knowledge and are always on hand to help.

 

N x

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Our skin is a Super Hero! Why is an exfoliator the perfect multi-tasking Side Kick?

Our skin is a Super Hero!  Why is an exfoliator the perfect multi-tasking Side Kick?

Our skin is a Super Hero

Why is an exfoliator the perfect multi-tasking Side Kick?

Written by Nicola Meir Holistic Therapies

Fact. We all have dry dead skin cells on the surface of our skin. Doesn’t sound very appealing, does it? But it’s completely natural.  This layer of cells is called the stratum corneum, also known as the horny layer (don’t laugh!). It can cause skin to look and feel dry, give an uneven texture, create dehydration, dullness and cause problems with shaving, to name just a few. How can we deal with this so that we don’t end up with skin that looks like an elephants backside?  By exfoliating. This is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin using a physical or no physical exfoliator. Skin will instantly feel more comfortable, smoother, brighter and more radiant. If done before shaving it will help to lift the hairs and provide a smoother and more comfortable shave. But get this! It will also help subsequently applied products to penetrate more effectively. Therefore you won’t need to use as much of them. Let’s think about this, if we don’t exfoliate, we are just applying product to the stratum corneum, and a lot of it will sit on the surface. So our exfoliator is multi-talented.

In order to fully understand how exfoliation works, and skincare in general, let’s look at how the skin functions. It’s an amazing organ, a super hero in fact. It’s the largest organ of the body. So we need to look after it as we would any other organ. It consists of 80% water and if we were to spread it out it would measure around 1.8 square metres. As humans we shed about 600,000 particles of skin every hour. But let’s not think about that fact too much! We always have that layer of dry dead skin cells on the surface. So how does this happen? Cells are constantly being made in our ‘skin cell factory’. The journey from cell birth to death takes approximately twenty eight days although the rate at which they are produced slows down as we get older. Depressingly, this is anything from about the age of twenty five.  Or skin becomes lazy and therefore needs a helping hand.

The Epidermis

This is the outer most layer, it’s what we see and is about 0.1mm thick. It forms a protective waterproof barrier over the whole body including the face to protect against toxins, bacteria and fluid loss. It doesn’t contain any blood vessels but it’s where the skins pigment and proteins are. There is a thin layer of sweat, water, lipids and sebum (oil), like an emulsion, known as the Hydrolipidic Film. This is a natural protective layer and the secretions help to keep the skin supple. This is where you’ll find the Stratum Corneum (that horny layer) of dead skin cells. Our skin cell factory is here too, in the lowest layer which is called the Basal layer.  These basal cells start their journey and make their way up to the surface over a period of around twenty eight days. This is the timeline for a young healthy person. It takes longer when we get older or if we smoke, have exposure to the sun, a bad diet etc. So shedding often needs help through exfoliation to smooth and freshen the skin. Skincare products will often say ‘See results in twenty eight days/one month’ and this is working on the duration of the skin cell journey. However, if we are older and cell turnover slows down, skincare products can take longer to have a positive effect.

The Dermis

This is the middle layer which is thicker and contains blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles, sweat and oil glands. This is where our pores start and they are able to push sweat, oil and hair to the surface. In addition to this you will find collagen and elastin (two types of protein).  These give strength to the skin as they are a supportive mass of connective tissue. Collagen gives skin it’s shape, support and fullness and elastin gives skin its flexibility (its ability to ping back into shape) and its resilience. Fibroblasts, which are the cells that make these proteins ,are enveloped in hyaluronic acid which is a lipid great at holding water and giving skin its bounce and texture. As we get older collagen and elastin deplete which leads to fine lines, wrinkles, loss of volume and dry skin.

Subcutaneous layer (Fatty tissue)

This is where we find fat and tissue to protect the muscles and internal organs. It also helps to regular our body temperature. Connective tissue is looser here and we may start to notice cellulite appearing in other areas of the body. Collagen makes up about 70% of the building blocks of our skin but its renewal depletes by 1% each year after reaching about the age of twenty five years. If we look past how our skin makes us look, it has several functions which are pretty amazing:

Protection

Forming some protection from sun damage by producing melanin. It produces this as a way of protecting the skin from the suns UV rays. It’s what gives the skin its colour.

Excretion

We produce sweat which in turn cools the skin. Sweat is a great vehicle for removing waste substances from the body such as salt and ammonia.

Absorption

It has the ability to absorb certain substances i.e. oxygen, skincare products, medical ointments etc.

Water resistant

It acts as a water resistant barrier to stop essential nutrients from leaking out.

Regulates body temperature

Blood vessels which dilate and constrict (open and close) control heat. When we sweat, it evaporates on the skin which helps to cool us down.

Barrier

It acts as a shield between the outside world  and our insides from harmful toxins.

Produces Vitamin D

It converts vitamin D for healthy bones and organs.

Sensation

There are lots of nerve endings that react to touch, pressure, tissue injury, heat, cold.

Our skin can also affect our emotions. We feel more confident and happy when our skin is looking and feeling good.

So, our skin really is a super hero.

Let’s talk now about exfoliators. We don’t need to get the sandpaper out! There are much kinder ways to deal with the natural build-up of our dry dead skin cells as well as boosting cell turnover and radiance, creating a smoother canvas for subsequently applied products and make up.

There are two main types of exfoliators:

Physical/mechanical exfoliators are products that requires manual scrubbing to remove dry dead skin cells. It’s this texture which buffs the skins surface. For example a facial scrub (with particles) or the use of a muslin cloth for the face, body scrubs, body brushes and loofahs. It’s really important not to go hell for leather scrubbing away because this could irritate the skin. Go gently. Skin will still be left smooth and fresh. Always follow up with an oil or serum, rich in hydrating ingredients, to minimise irritation and lock in moisture.

Non-physical exfoliators (sometimes called Chemical exfoliators – don’t let the name put you off) do not contain particles. They generally contain acids like Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acids with enzymes to dissolve dead skin cells, even out the surface of the skin and pigmentation. These usually come in the form of liquids, pre-soaked pads and gels. Like physical exfoliators it’s still important to follow up with an oil or serum to keep the skin comfortable and hydrated. I’ve written lots about Acids, what they are and where they derive from, in my previous blog about toners. If you haven’t read it, take a look.  I hope it’s really informative.

As a side note we should never use a scrub designed for the body on the face. They are generally harsher (to deal with the more robust skin on the rest of our body) and may tear delicate facial tissue.

How often should I exfoliate?

This will depend on what your skin is like – your skin type. Most people would be fine using a physical exfoliator once or twice a week. Non-physical exfoliators can be used more often. Thicker and oilier skin could exfoliate up to about four times a week. But I would say that if you are new to this, start slowly. If you struggle with sore skin after shaving or usually end up with an uneven shave, exfoliating can really help to lift the hairs making shaving more pleasant with great results.

I’ve handpicked a couple of fantastic scrubs that are stocked at Perfumery & Co. If you haven’t visited this beautiful store before, the guys are fantastic. If you don’t live close by you can place an order on their website.

Clarins Comfort Scrub

This scrub does what it says on the tin. It comforts the skin. It’s a nourishing gel in oil scrub with sugar microcrystals made from beetroot to smooth and bring comfort to dry and sensitive skin. Mango butter, which is rich in essential fatty acids, nourishes the skin helping it to feel hydrated and comfortable. However, I think it would be fine for all skin types. The particles are small enough not to cause any irritation.

Use after cleansing the face. Mixed with water it transforms into a milky consistency. Gently massage in circular motions before thoroughly rinsing off.

 Neal’s Yard Remedies Honey & Orange Facial Scrub

This smells good enough to eat! It’s a best seller for Neal’s Yard. 

Organic rice powder smooths the skin, kaolin clay purifies and absorbs oil.

It’s suitable for all skin types. Although I would say especially for anyone who loves a larger particle to exfoliate with. Oilier skins who want to purify and absorb oil. Also a fantastic pre-shave to encourage the hairs to lift making shaving easier and more comfortable. 

Use after cleansing the face. Mix it with a small amount of water in the palm of your hand to form a paste before gently massaging it on your face and neck. Avoid the eye area as our skin is thinner here and therefore more delicate. Massage in circular motions and rinse thoroughly. I’d recommend using this once a week.

 This has been a bit of a biology lesson. I hope you’ve found it informative and can see the benefit of using an exfoliator.

 N x

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Why toner could be the secret skincare weapon you didn't know you needed!

Why toner could be the secret skincare weapon you didn't know you needed!

 

Written by Nicola Meir Holistic Therapies

To tone or not to tone? That is the question!

 If you’ve ditched toning in the past I’m here to ask you to give it a second chance. It may have behaved badly in the past but it’s turned over a new leaf.  I think you’d actually be surprised now by its positive traits. You’d also be forgiven if you are somebody who has never given it a chance in the first place. Toners have been very misunderstood.

 

Historically they have been the second step in any skincare routine after cleansing, usually in the form of a liquid poured onto a cotton pad and swept over the face and neck. However, many contained large amounts of alcohol which stripped the skin of natural oil. Their aim was to make the skin feel ‘squeaky’ clean as this was associated with having a clean face. But it left skin dry, flaky, sensitive, uncomfortable and understandably confused. So you wouldn’t be alone if you have decided in the past to give this (often) badly behaved skincare step the heave-ho!

 

Good news! Modern day good quality toners are much kinder and more sophisticated.  Long gone are the harsh astringent based toners, making way for more complex formulas. They may look just like water in a bottle but they are so much more. They target many specific skin care concerns, whether that be signs of ageing, blemishes, dehydration, sensitivity or discomfort and offer fantastic results. They can soften the skin, balance the pH levels of the skin, remove any residue from the cleansing process, slough off dry dead skin cells, brighten the complexion and in turn prep the skin for further products. They can really complement subsequently applied skincare products.

 

It’s important to say that many toners nowadays contain acids. Don’t let the name put you off. They aren’t going to strip your skin and leave you looking like you’ve been in the sun with a piece of tin foil and no sun cream!  They derive from sugar cane, willow bark, sour milk etc and they can be used every day as part of your normal skincare routine. Some acid toners have been in existence for several years, the oldest having been around for fifty, but they’ve only gained popularity over recent years. They will exfoliate without containing any physical granules in the product and will brighten, hydrate and balance the skin. They usually come in the form of liquids, pre-soaked pads and gels. However, there is a wide choice of toners on the market that don’t contain acids so the choice is yours! Rest assured there is a toner out there just for you!

 

What types of toners are available?

The easiest way to categorise toners are to put them into three sections:

Hydrating

Skin balancing

Exfoliating and brightening

 

Let’s take each of them in turn:

 

Hydrating

These toners are great for anyone who has noticed their skin is dehydrated. You could have a dull complexion, fine lines and wrinkles, increased sensitivity, oiliness, breakouts, make up that doesn’t last or goes patchy, moisturiser which gets absorbed super quick and possible itchiness. Your skin can be dehydrated no matter what your normal skin type. So it’s entirely possible for you to have oily or combination skin that is dehydrated.

 

These toners are packed with lots of water-attracting ingredients to keep the skin hydrated and comfortable. These may include glycerin and hyaluronic acid among others. They may also feature powerful antioxidants which help to fight free radical damage. These have a detrimental effect on the skin so antioxidant ingredients act like a super hero to restore the skins protective barrier.

 

When your skin is properly hydrated it will be able to absorb subsequently applied products much more effectively, for example, serums, oils, aftershave balms and moisturisers and will feel comfortable and supple. Think of these types of toners as adding an extra boost of hydration to your skin after cleansing or shaving.

 

Skin Balancing

These toners work well for anyone who has oily, blemish prone skin, or skin that feels a little upset or confused. Some have the ability to effectively manage blocked pores and treat breakouts.

 

These formulas are great to balance the skin’s pH level. Our skin’s normal pH level is around 5.5. The acidity level is an essential part of our skin barrier which helps to protect against external irritants entering our skin layers and helps prevent water being lost from our skin. Cleansing our face will naturally raise our skin’s pH level (pH of water is normally 7.0) therefore your toner will rebalance the skin by reducing the pH to its normal state.

 

Exfoliating & Brightening

These toners work well for anyone who has noticed signs of ageing. They usually contain an acid as these are most effective at gently removing dry dead skin cells from the surface of the skin which in turn stimulates skin cell turnover to reveal a fresher brighter looking complexion.  They can hydrate and many stimulate collagen product to keep the skin looking plump.

 

Let’s quickly talk through the three main acids you might see (although there are many more):

 

Glycolic Acid (an AHA – Alpha Hydroxy Acid) - it’s derived from sugar cane. It mainly concentrates on signs of ageing i.e. increasing new cell production, evening out skin tone, stimulating collagen production for plumper skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles. It’s considered by many to be the most effective AHA because it contains very small molecules to penetrate the skin and is an excellent exfoliator. Use an SPF (sun cream) after your moisturiser to protect your skin afterwards as you normally would.

 

Lactic Acid (another AHA) is derived from sour milk although now it’s made synthetically so that it remains stable within a product. It mainly concentrates on dull, dry or dehydrated skin. It gently dissolves dead skin cells and helps to resurface so that skin is left smoother. It offers a good hit of hydration. The molecules are larger which means penetration is slower and less likely to irritate or cause any redness. This is a great one to start with if you are new to acids. Use an SPF after your moisturiser to protect your skin.

 

Salicylic Acid (a BHA – Beta Hydroxy Acid) is derived from willow bark. Fantastic for oily skin and breakouts. It is oil – soluble and is able to breakdown what causes breakouts and oily skin by cleaning out the inside of the pores. This then allows excess sebum (oil) production to be released rather than being held prisoner which in turn can create blocked pores and breakouts. It’s anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. It’s possible it can have a drying effect on the skin but this can be counteracted with using other more hydrating products. This BHA doesn’t make the skin more susceptible to sun damage. But it’s good to get into the habit of using a SPF (sun cream) every day after your moisturiser if you don’t already.

 

Spritzers/Mists/Sprays/Essences

I’ve added these into this blog because they are a great way to keep the skin hydrated and comfortable throughout the day without applying heavier products like moisturisers.  They look like toners and come under the toner umbrella. Often containing glycerin or hyaluronic acid which are amazing hydrators. They are designed to be sprayed on the face and neck at any time – after toning (as a second tone), before moisturiser, after moisturiser, after shaving, before applying makeup, after applying makeup, etc. etc. They can really be sprayed at any time of day whenever you feel your skin needs a pick me up, or more hydration, a revitalising boost, a soothing veil, to cool down or to set your make up. I always keep one of these in my bag, especially in the hotter months or when I am on holiday (they are a real blessing on flights), as they are wonderfully cooling and refreshing on the skin.

 

As a side note I wanted to mention Hyaluronic Acid. You may have heard of it as it features a lot in television and magazine ads as a key ingredient in lots of skincare products.  It is in fact not an acid. But I wanted to include some information as it’s called an acid. It’s basically a very large sugar found naturally within our bodies, 50% of it within our skin. It holds moisture in the spaces between the cells of the skin helping them to stay plump. Babies have very high levels of it, but it depletes as we get older and most noticeably from our 40s onwards.  It’s usually found in serums (which you’d apply after cleansing and toning, and before moisturising) and it is safe to use morning and night.

 

I hope this has given you some insight into toners and how they have evolved over the years.

 

So let’s look at some of the fantastic toners available at Perfumery & Co. The guys there are excellent at advising on the best product for your skin.

 

 

 

 

 

Clarins Super Restorative Treatment Essence

Wow, what a product! This beautifully fragranced treatment essence, for all types of skin, targets signs of ageing. This is definitely a toner for you if you have noticed your skin ageing. Hibiscus gently sloughs away dead skin cells from the surface of the skin.  Green coffee and ginseng wake the skin up improving radiance. Glycerin helps to boosts hydration so the skin doesn’t feel tight or uncomfortable. It’s also a great way to prepare the skin for further products. It has a gel/lotion texture which feels very luxurious. Pour onto a cotton pad and apply to your face and neck or pour into your hands and dab directly onto skin. I personally prefer the cotton pad route. It can be applied after cleansing morning and/or evening.

 

Nourish London – Relax Soothing Toning Mist

A fantastic toner that not only soothes and balances the pH levels of sensitive skin, which is prone to allergic responses, but it’s also a great product for delivering a hit of hydration with the use of glycerin. One of the main ingredients is carrot which contains carotene, a natural antioxidant. This is very effective at providing protection to skin that has experienced irritations, stress and pollutants. Lavender also features because it’s so good at calming discomfort and irritations. As well as using this as your toner, by spraying it onto a cotton pad and sweeping over the face, it’s the perfect product to keep in your bag and spritz any time you need to soothe or cool the skin. A real multi tasker.

 

(Nourish London also offer other toning mists – Radiance Refreshing Toning Mist, Protect Cooling Toning Mist, Antioxidant Peptide Mist & Balancing Refining Toning Mist)

 

Neals Yard Remedies Rehydrating Rose Toner

One of Neals Yards best sellers, this is a great choice for all skin types. It not only helps to hydrate the skin with glycerin, but also balances and cools, prepping skin for further products. It has a delicate floral fragrance largely due to the beautiful damask roses. Close your eyes whilst using it and you could be transported into the middle of a beautiful rose garden. Aloe Vera works wonders to cool and soothe. Apply to a cotton pad and sweep over the face and neck.

 

Clarins Toning Lotion with Iris

This toner is an effective gentle toner for oily and combination skin types. It works to help purify the skin without upsetting the pH level. Therefore it’s not going to strip the skin of natural oil which in turn encourages it to produce more oil as a result. Iris is very refreshing and glycerin offers hydration to keep the skin supple and comfortable. It’s delicately fragranced. Apply to cotton pads and sweep over the face and neck.

 

I hope that this article has helped to answer the much asked question “To Tone, or not to tone?”

 

This skincare step has featured within my routine for many years. Why not give it a go if it hasn’t featured in yours.

 

N x

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WHY DOUBLE CLEANSE? NIC TELLS US WHY...

WHY DOUBLE CLEANSE?  NIC TELLS US WHY...

The power of double cleansing for healthy looking skin

Written by Nicola Meir Holistic Therapies

 

For years I’ve been wittering on about the importance of thoroughly cleansing our faces and how double cleansing is the gold standard of any skincare routine. But, understandably, there is sometimes confusion surrounding cleansing, double cleansing and their benefits and worth.

 

Cleansing is the most important step in our skincare routine because, if it’s done properly, it leaves a clean blank canvas for the rest of our products to work effectively. Would we polish our car without washing the dirt off first or iron our clothes before putting them in the washing machine? Hopefully most of us wouldn’t and it’s the same principal for our skin. Wash the dirt, grease, pollutants, make up and SPFs (sun protection cream) off to prevent the pores from becoming blocked and then clean the skin before applying other skincare products.

 

When should we cleanse?

Every morning and every evening regardless of whether we’ve been wearing makeup, an SPF or both. Overnight the skin eliminates toxins via the pores so cleaning in the morning removes this residue on the surface of the skin. These days I’m not wearing much make up but I will still thoroughly clean my face in the evening. I tend to do this when I put my PJs on which, at the moment, is around 8pm! My life is so rock and roll! In ‘normal’ life or for those of you that are still leaving your house for work, I’d do it as soon as you walk through the door after work. Don’t leave it until you go to bed as you may feel too tired to do a good job.

 

So what is double cleansing?

This is when we use more than one cleansing product (or the same product twice) to clean our faces in the evening. The first cleanser targets and works loose make up and SPFs. These are designed to stay on our faces all day, therefore they need to be removed thoroughly. The second cleanser actually cleans our skin. The only time I wouldn’t need to double cleanse at night is if I hadn’t left the house all day, wasn’t wearing any make up or an SPF. I’d still cleanse my face thoroughly though, but just once. This is also the case each morning as we’re not going on any wild nights out at the moment and forgetting to remove make up before bed. So a simple cleanse is all that’s needed.

 

What types of cleansers are there?

The cleanser you choose will depend mainly on your personal preference and your skin type or any skin conditions you are experiencing. I like to have a few cleansers on the go so that I can pick and choose on the day according to how my skin is feeling. I also like to use a flannel or muslin cloth that’s been soaked in warm water (not hot) to remove residue and gently remove dry dead skin cells in the process. I’d suggest having a stash of these at home so that you can use a fresh one every day.

 

 Cream/Milk

These are soothing on the skin and are usually applied all over the face using cotton pads.  I like to pop some into my hands, massage onto the skin and then remove with a flannel or muslin cloth. If your skin is really sensitive to water you can stick with the cotton pads.

 

Balms

By far my favourite way to cleanse. These are generally gentle and nourishing blends of great ingredients that can not only effectively remove make up (including mascara) but also thoroughly clean the skin. Their solid texture which melts on the skin means that a little goes a long way. Once massaged in, they can be removed with a warm flannel or muslin cloth.

 

Oils/Melting balms/Gels

These will often transform into more of a milky consistency once mixed with a little water on the skin. They are generally a newer generation of cleanser and are great for removing make up and dirt using a flannel or muslin cloth.

 

Washes/foams

These need to be mixed with water. In the past face washes and foams have been quite harsh on the skin, making it dry and uncomfortable. This is normally due to the chemicals used to ensure the product lathers. At no point during the cleansing process do we want our skin to feel super tight and squeaky clean. Therefore I would steer clear of varieties that use Sodium Lauryl Sulfate which may disrupt the skins natural protective barrier.

 

Micellar waters

A simple, gentle and convenient way to remove make up. I don’t consider them to be a full on cleanser for the whole face but act as a really effective makeup remover.

 

Face wipes

These might feel convenient but try to give them a wide birth.  They are usually packed with alcohol and fragrance and just smear the dirt and make up around our faces rather than giving a good cleanse.

 

What to use for a first cleanse?

These are products to remove make up and SPF and our main aim is to loosen these on the face so that they can be easily removed with a warm flannel or cotton pads. I usually apply them to dry skin as I find there’s less slippage on the skin and the product can really get to work.

  • Eye makeup removers
  • Micellar waters
  • Cleansing oils
  • Cleansing creams
  • Cleansing balms
  • Say ‘No’ to cleansing wipes

 

 What to use for a second cleanse?

This is when we are actually cleaning our skin. It’s not to remove our make up or SPF as we’ve already done that. My advice is to use the best cleanser you can afford for this stage. Our aim is for our skin to feel comfortable and hydrated. Again, apply to a dry face, massage the product thoroughly into the skin and remove with a warm flannel. The massaging action of working the product into the face and neck also helps bring fresh blood flow to the surface of our skin aiding detoxification. This encourages it to look fresher and more radiant. So if you can spend a minute or so massaging the product in before removing it you will certainly see the benefit. This is also a great time to really inhale the wonderful fragrances of the products. Cup your hands around your nose and mouth and take several slow deep breaths.

  • Cleansing balms
  • Cleansing oils
  • Cleansing creams
  • Cleansing milks
  • Cleansing gels
  • Say ‘No’ again to the cleansing wipes

 

Perfumery & Co. have a comprehensive collection of cleansers to choose from and offer fantastic personal advice. Here’s a selection of cleansing products they stock if you don’t know where to start:

 

Wildsmith Skin - Active Repair Nourishing Cleansing Balm

A wonderful balm/gel texture which glides on the skin and is super easy to use. It’s packed with lots of plant based ingredients to breakdown surface oils, make up and pollutants.  It has the most invigorating fragrance. It’s incredible at its job whilst leaving the skin hydrated, comfortable and protected. I’ve used this as both the first, second and both cleanses by applying a small amount to my palms, massaging onto my face and neck before removing with a warm cloth.

 

Neals Yard Remedies - Wild Rose Beauty Balm (One Pot Wonder)

A beautiful rose scented balm to nourish and soothe skin and provide a warm glow. Containing organic wild rosehip oil which is a fabulous skin protecting antioxidant and an amazing blend of essential oils. It comes with its own organic muslin cloth so will provide a gentle exfoliation on the skin to smooth its surface and boost radiance. Perfect for your first or second cleanse or both. I use a small amount and warm it in the palm of my hands, before massaging it into dry skin. I then remove with a warm flannel. It’s called One Pot Wonder as it has so many uses. Not only is it a cleanser, it can be applied and left on overnight as an intensive nourishing boost, can tame eyebrows, be a lip balm, accentuate cheek bones as a highlighter. It’s a delight to use.

 

Nourish London – Skin Renew Cleanser

A rich and creamy texture packed full of wonderful ingredients, including argan, jojoba and borage oils to hydrate the skin.  It’s a nourishing formula with a really comforting fragrance and is great at removing make up whilst being gentle on the skin. I use this for a first or second cleanse and sometimes both. The pump ensures you use the correct amount so as not to waste any. One pump into the palm of my hands, mixed to warm and massaged into dry skin loosens any make up, SPF, dirt etc. I remove with a warm flannel. This product is a great find.

 

L’Occitane en Provence – 3 in 1 Micellar Water

A very light texture infused with cucumber and thyme to refresh, hydrate and purify the skin. A perfect product to use as a first cleanse to effectively remove make up. I soak cotton pads with this and hold them onto my closed eyes to break down eye makeup before using a gentle sweeping motion to remove the residue. I then use fresh ones to sweep over my face afterwards. This is an easy to use product which does its job quickly.

 

Clarins – Cleansing Milk

A classic milky texture with a comforting delicate fragrance. This cleansing milk contains alpine herbs to soften the skin and vegetable extracts to help rebalance the skins natural protective layer. I use this for a second cleanse and work it into the skin before removing with a warm flannel or muslin cloth. It could equally be removed with cotton pads if your skin is particularly sensitive to water.

 

So, do you already double cleanse or have you been inspired to start?

 

Here's to glowing skin!

 

N x

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Meet Nic Meir our RESIDENT BEAUTY BLOGGER !

Meet Nic Meir our RESIDENT BEAUTY BLOGGER !

Meet Nic our resident beauty and wellbeing blogger. Nic has run her own business as a Holistic Therapist for over ten years and has a solid client base. She specialises in improving wellness through holistic treatments, support and advice. Writing regularly about subjects that are of interest to her clients and readers including practical advice to help improve mind, body and soul.  You can find her at www.nicolameirholistictherapies.com and also on Facebook and Instagram. Her background has been in the beauty and wellbeing industry where she has spent many years in training and coaching roles for the likes of Selfridges Department store and L’Occitane en Provence.  She’s developed and implemented initiatives including advanced skincare training and has a keen interest in everything health, beauty and wellbeing related. It was whilst at L’Occitane that David and Nic forged a working relationship and friendship.

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