Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Quick Acne Clearing Tips

Here are a few things I do when I need to get rid of spots that have surfaced unexpectedly. When I follow these tips, my skin clears up a lot faster.

Use topical treatments
I've used salicylic acid based products in the past, and they are very effective in clearing up spots. I now mostly use azelaic acid, which functions in a similar way to benzoyl peroxide, without the drying after effects. I also find the azelaic acid reduces any redness in spots, and reduces inflammation in a way other products don't. Here is a review of the product I have been using. Azelaic acid also helps with other skin conditions, here's a post on what the latest science says.

Drink more water, and try to get at  least 8 cups a day.

Blending kale, spinach or collards with frozen fruit is an easy easy way to get those nutrients and antioxidants in without feeling like your drinking your front lawn. I always feel like I'm doing something good for my skin (and health) when I drink green juice, and it's great for those who aren't fond of salad.

Cut out dairy
I don't really eat dairy (at least, I try not to but I occasionally slip up, usually when it comes to desserts). Cutting out dairy is how I initially cured my cystic acne. Here are a few posts about the link between acne and dairy:
5 Reasons why Dairy Causes Acne
I gave up Dairy and Became Acne Free

This is especially helpful before a pimple surfaces; if I take this early enough, spots aren't as red and inflamed like they usually would be and sometimes don't even flare up. A lot of people who have acne are actually zinc deficient, and find that once they start supplementing, and then include zinc in their diet, their acne goes away.
Vitamins for Skin: Zinc

These tips help me when my skin isn't looking its best, and eating healthier just makes me feel better in general, so it's a win-win.

xo, Amali

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Biore Triple Action Toner Review

I've had this product in my bathroom for a few years, and it's finally being reviewed. I initially purchased this because my cheeks had started to get a few pimples, and after about two weeks they weren't going away. They were inflamed and I wasn't using a toner at the time, so I grabbed this. I didn't even read the ingredients, which is pretty unusual for me.

  • Oil-Free
  • Non-Comedogenic (won't clog pores)
  • Hypo-Allergenic
  • Dermatologist tested
  • gentle enough for daily use morning and night
  • can help treat and clear blemishes for a deep down clean
  • with an active blemish-fighting ingredient, 
  • this toner effectively cleans skin and penetrates pores to reduce breakouts

Active: Salicylic Acid (2%), Other: Water, Alcohol Denat., Isopropyl Alcohol, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Glycerin, Alcohol, Menthol, Benzophenone-4, Polysorbate 60, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance, Yellow 5, Blue 1

  • cooling feeling (probably due to the menthol)
  • salicylic acid is proven to be effective against acne
  • at first skin feels clean, and not dry
  • helped the smaller zits

  • contains denatured alcohol as the second ingredient, as well as isopropyl alcohol
  • the formula may feel gentle but is very stripping of your skins natural oils
  • skin produces more oil
  • doesn't help acne long term
  • the only 
This didn't magically get rid of my spots at the time. Nor, did it improve the condition of my skin as a toner. I don't recommend it at all, the ingredients are too harsh, there is too much alcohol, and this will end up dehydrating your skin. It cleans my bathroom cabinet doors well though. 

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Photos of Half Moon Bay during Winter

Here are a few photos that I took when my friend and I decided to go on a spontaneous road trip on a Friday evening. It's not the best time for beach (since it's winter!) but we really wanted to catch the sunset. We decided to drive to Half Moon Bay which is only thirty minutes from Melbourne.

It was slightly cloudy when we arrived but it was still nice to walk along the waves to the wharf.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Updated Skincare Routine | Winter

My last skincare routine post was a while ago, and since then, things have changed. My skin is currently combination-dry; it's a windy, rainy winter.

I'm still using the same cleanser. Goodness Everyday Cream Cleanser is a gentle cream cleanser that isn't harsh or stripping. It is something I'm trying to finish off though. While it doesn't make my skin any drier, it doesn't make it any more hydrated. Maybe I'm asking for too much, but I don't think the essential oils right at the end of the ingredient list are helping.

Sometimes I skip this all together, but it's usually rosewater, green tea or chamomile tea. Here's the time  I  used green tea as toner, and when I used chamomile tea. It's either chilled from the fridge or I've made it that morning. No, it's not steaming hot.

I don't necessarily believe in eye creams, but I do occasionally use them. Mostly because it makes a great makeup primer, and I guess because somewhere in the back of my mind, there's this little voice telling me to take care of my skin. It's my mum's voice, okay? 
My friend, who's a makeup artist gave me something she swears by and uses on all her clients. So, I've been using this small pot of Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream, and it does work really well under makeup, and plumpens up my skin. I am also trying to finish off an eye cream from Alpha-H (review here). 

This is what has helped my dry skin the most, and has especially helped those stubborn dry patches (chamomile tea healps too).  You can't really tell when your skin is bare, but makeup can accentuate that flakey skin. Bioderma Hydrabio Serum is something I've reviewed and recently purchased in full size. 

I'm now using Thursday Plantation Replenishing Face, which I reviewed here. It's light but works well with the Bioderma serum. It's also made mostly from natural ingredients; the downside is again, the essential oils. 

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Azclear Azelaic acid Review

I finally found azelaic acid in the pharmacy. I'm still not sure if I couldn't find it because I didn't look hard enough the first time, or because it's actually harder to find in smaller stores.

If you want to know how azelaic acid could benefit you, here's a detailed post. To put it briefly, if you have hyperpigmentation, rosacea, or acne this could help. I've been using it specifically to get rid of some hyperpigmentaion, as well as the occasional hormonal spot.

I've been using azelaic acid for about a month now, which coincided with getting two huge pimples. One was red, inflamed and painful. Not the end of the world, a little annoying, but perfect to test out this gel. I usually spot treat with a salcylic acid based product and while it works, it can sometimes take a while (not always), and the downside is dry, peeling skin. It also does nothing for the acne scars I always seem to get after.

I used Azclear Medicated Lotion which is in a 20% form. The lotion is slightly sticky and reminds me of glue we always used it primary school. Think it was PVA glue? The consistency is close to that, I think it even smells like it...

It's the most effective in calming down redness. It also takes away the "hardness" of a spot, and does help in clearing it up faster. Unlike other exfoliating acids, my skin wasn't dry and didn't peel at all. I think the lotion itself is more likely to peel if you apply too much.

I usually get dark acne scars that take months to go away if I don't use rosehip oil straight away. It doesn't always work though. Using azelaic acid, my spots haven't scarred like they usually do, but are red. They haven't completely disappeared, but they are lighter than they usually would be. The lotion hasn't done much for old scars, they have faded slightly within the last month, but nothing significant.

Tip: I've applied it alone and also below moisturiser. It works the same, but wearing moisturiser is more comfortable.

Some Brands
Ego Azclear Action Lotion - Australian/online
The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
Finacea Gel - US, and Australia at some pharmacies
Azelex Azelaic Acid
Skinoren Azelaic Acid Cream

Monday, 13 June 2016

Moroccanoil Intense Hydrating Mask Review

This is the second product I've tried from the Moroccanoil range, the first being the Moroccan Oil Treatment Oil.

  • for damaged hair in need of instant repair
  • a 5–7-minute revitalizing treatment that reconstructs hair and infuses protein back into strands that have been damaged by chemical treatments or heat styling
  • high-performance, deeply restorative formula
  • rich in argan oil, shea butter and reparative proteins
  • restore hair's elasticity and rebuild its strength from the inside out
  • ideal for hair in need of extra conditioning
  • ideal for thick hair
  • dramatically improves hair’s texture, elasticity, shine and manageability


Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Linseed (Linum Usitatissimum) Extract, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Chloride, Argania Spinoza Kernal Oil (Aragan Oil), Cetrimonium Chloride, Methylparaben, Fragrance Supplement, Butylphenyl, MethylPropional, Coumarin.

Apply a generous amount to towel-dried hair and comb through. Leave on for 5–7 minutes and rinse thoroughly. No heat required. Use 1–2 times weekly.

This hair mask is the texture of a thick conditioner, but not as runny. The first thing I noticed was the smell, this definitely has a strong fragrance. It lingers in your hair, and I love how it smells, and apparently so does anyone who gives you a hug. 

  • conditions and hydrates hair after one use
  • hair feels and looks silkier and smoother
  • easier to manage
  • styling hair after is easier, and results are better
  • also works well for finer hair
  • smells amazing

  • silicone heavy, although this is what makes hair look and feel smooth and silky

Moroccanoil Intense Hydrating Mask is a very hydrating mask that leaves hair soft and silky after one use. It's something I use when I remember, when my hair really needs a deep condition or because I recall how I much I love the smell. I have really fine hair so I only use a small amount, otherwise this makes my hair feel heavy. This is ideal for thicker hair, but if you have fine hair like me, it is still a great product, just use a small amount.

Friday, 3 June 2016

BIODERMA Hydrabio Serum Review

If you have dry patches, dehydrated skin, or you want your makeup to look natural and not powdery, this is for you. I have been using Bioderma's Hydrabio Serum for the last two weeks now, and I think it's fair to say that I love it. I received it as part of a few other Hydrabio products that I have also been trialling, and it's definitely my favourite product out of all the items in the range.

The Hydrabio range was specifically developed with sensitive and dehydrated skin in mind.

  • instant and lasting moisturising effect
  • smoothes the skin and restores radiance
  • smooth, extra-fresh texture
  • can be used as an excellent make-up base
  • tailored to all skin types, alone or combined with a treatment
  • allergen-free fragrance
  • non-comedogenic
  • hypo-allergenic


Water, Glycerin, Xylitol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Mannitol, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Laminaria Ochroeluca Extract, Niacinamide, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Trideceth-6, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hexyldecanol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Disodium EDTA, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum).

Apply Hydrabio Sérum in the morning and/or evening on your face and neck. I just apply it where it's needed as my skin gets oilier during the day.

This is the best product I've used that instantly hydrates and plumpens dry and parched skin. The formula is light, slightly viscous and spreads easily. A small drop is all that is needed for your whole face. I've been using this on my cheeks, which have become dry this winter, and I saw an immediate difference. Makeup now sits on my skin amazingly, whereas before it would sometimes look dry and cracked in some places.

  • skin feels smoother
  • reduces dryness on first application
  • great makeup base
  • the first main ingredients (from water to apple extract) all have properties that aid or increase skin hydration, also includes hyaluronic acid
  • formula is not greasy and absorbs quickly
  • did not cause irritation to my skin


  • is not silicone free, but they are further down the ingredient list (I don't mind some silicones as long as I don't use it over night)

Bioderma Hydrabio Serum's ability to hydrate and smooth out skin lasts all day, and even on days I don't wear it, my skin isn't as dehydrated as it was before. I also think this would work for all skin types as my skin gets slightly oilier during the day, and it worked well for me. Overall, this is an amazing product that I will gladly be repurchasing in full size.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Miss Dior Cherie Perfume Review

This is one of my favourite perfumes. It's the Miss Dior Cherie before the most recent formula change. Dior has now dropped the "Cherie" from the label, but you can probably still find this version online.

Miss Dior Cherie is described as a Fruity Chypre, which is a subtype of the Chypre perfume family. Chypre fragrances are warm, dry and usually follow the following pattern:
top notes: citrus
heart notes: floral
base notes: woody (classically patchouli), oakmoss, amber and animalic

Here are the notes for Miss Dior Cherie:

Top Notes
mandarin orange

Heart Notes
rose damascena
intense jasmine

Base Notes

Initially, Miss Dior Cherie is sweet with its citrus top notes. The strawberry note isn't obvious to me, but it may account for the sweet tartness. I'm not the biggest lover of very sweet fragrances, but this is not cloyingly sugary. After an hour, the mandarin notes mellow, and a softer (white) floral scent takes over; the jasmine and rose makes the fragrance progressively deeper and warmer. The dry down is what I love the most; the base notes of sandalwood, patchouli and amber combine with the heart notes, making for an understatedly sensual and feminine fragrance that lingers on my skin for hours.

Miss Dior Cherie has a high longevity and lasts for around 8 hours on my skin and over 12 on clothes. The sillage is high in the beginning, which honestly isn't my favourite thing, but it calms down after a while and stays fairly close to the skin during the last few hours.

The new Miss Dior is also classified as a Chypre, but is now a Floral Chypre. The formula was tweaked during the end of 2011 and I think they dropped the 'Cherie' the following year. I've tried it, but didn't want to commit to a full bottle of something so similar. It is definitely floral, as the top notes are softer; the strawberry note is excluded while the base notes are only patchouli and musk. Since it doesn't open with the sharp sweetness of the old formula, it would probably be something I'll end up getting.

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Monday, 25 April 2016

Clarisonic Mia Review

I've had the Clarisonic for a few years. Here's a detailed review about this device and what happened to my skin when I used it.

  • a travel-friendly, professional-quality skin care brush
  • the sonic frequency moves Clarisonic's soft, gentle brush back and forth at more than 300 times per second
  • removes makeup six times better than traditional methods
  • clears pores and reduces the appearance of pore size
  • cleanses so thoroughly that skin care products absorb better
  • creates noticeably healthier looking skin.
  • ideal for all skin types, it is used and recommended by leading dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons.

I have the Clarisonic Mia which came with the sensitive brush-head and a cleanser. The cleanser wasn't the best, so I used my own. Never use a scrub with this, or a cleanser with small particles, as you will over-exfoliate your skin, After charging for 24 hours, the brush lasts many uses; about two months if you only use it a few times a week. The normal brush head isn't harsh, and doesn't irritate my skin, even when it was sensitive and spotty.

While I was very diligent in using this daily when I first started, now it's something that I would never do, only because I like using chemical exfoliants and it would be too harsh for my skin. My skin didn't break into a lot of spots or become red when I did use it daily, but I made sure to be gentle and not drag it across my face.

This also has removed makeup well, but now I prefer to use cleansers or oil to clean makeup, which works better for me. I also hated how the brush would look after makeup haha..

The brush head doesn't rotate, but vibrates and 'oscillates'. There is also a timer, so it stops automatically. In the newer models, the timer beeps to indicate how long you should spend on parts of your face, but I don't think that's necessary.

  • exfoliates skin and skin feels smoother
  • removes makeup (better than some methods)
  • skincare does seem to absorb better
  • foundation applies easily and the finish is smoother, as it gets rid of dry patches
  • does help in smaller whiteheads
  • lasts a long time after being charged

  • easy to over-exfoliate, especially if used every day, or with chemical exfoliants
  • not great if you have very thin skin or are prone to broken capillaries 

I think the Clarisonic Mia is a great tool to use if you aren't fond of chemical exfoliation (which can also have it's side effects), and would like to manually exfoliate.
When I used this everyday, I didn't experience anything negative; at the time I had oily skin and cystic acne. I was also careful to be gentle, and not apply any pressure. It worked the best when used occasionally, a few times a week or even less, I felt like it kept my skin smoother, and kept the smaller spots I was prone to get on my forehead at bay.

Have you used the Clarisonic? I know some people are totally against face brushes, but I think they are great to use occasionally on your face, and to exfoliate your body. The key is not to press or drag!

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Azelaic acid for Acne, Rosacea and Hyperpigmentation

There's one acid I completely missed in my chemical exfoliation post, and it seems to be the most promising one. Most people haven't heard of this as you can only get it through prescription in the US and it's hard to find in Australia and elsewhere.
Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring dicarboxylic acid which is found in wheat, barley and rye.

Here's why it's great for many skin concerns:

Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis are two of the dominant bacterium found in acne. Topical application of 20% azelaic acid cream has been found to inhibit the growth of these bacteria in many studies (Bladon et al., 1986), including a recent study which showed a reduction in 60 % of pimples in sixty patients (Iraji et al., 2007). Azelaic acid also acts against many other bacteria.

Applying azelaic acid has been shown to reduce inflammation (Elewski, 2006)

Azelaic acid reduces inflammation and redness in rosacea patients (David A. Jonesand, 2009) and only requires a daily application (Worcester, 2008).

Azelaic acid is also anti-inflammatory because it can scavenge free radicals which would otherwise be harmful for the skin, which means it has an anti-oxidant effect. Skin damage is also more prevalent in skin conditions like acne and rosacea.

This describes the process of the outermost layers of skin softening and shedding, much like exfoliation. Like alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, azelaic acid is able to chemically exfoliate and reveal 'new' skin.

Azelaic acid is able to inhibit the formation of blemishes and comedones which usually form when oil and skin cells become trapped.

Having anti-inflammatory, comedolytic and exfoliating properties makes azelaic acid a great treatment for acne, blackheads and whiteheads. Studies have shown that azelaic acid gel in 20% form can be an effective treatment for mild to moderate acne (Iraji et al., 2007). Azelaic acid also targets the bacteria associated with acne and seems to be a great ingredient that is effective overall in targeting acne through many pathways. 

Discolouring after acne scars or other skin conditions like melasma is a problem many people face. If you have a darker skin tone, scars can be dark, and while some products may help, they can also lighten the skin surrounding the scars and make your overall skintone uneven. Azelaic acid interferes with melanin production where it is abnormal and blocks the extra production but does not affect the normal melanocytes.

Finacea Gel - you need a prescription in the US and it apparently costs between $240-$300, which is ridiculous, ordering it and shipping it online from Australia seems to be a better option. Details will be up this week.
Azclear Action Medicated Lotion - is what I'll be trialling and reviewing soon - probably purchase from Chemist Warehouse


Bladon PT, Burke BM, Cunliffe WJ, Forster RA, Holland KT, King K: Topical azelaic acid and the treatment of acne: a clinical and laboratory comparison with oral tetracycline. Br J Dermatol 1986;114:493–499.

Iraji, F., Sadeghinia, A., Shahmoradi, Z., Siadat, A. and Jooya, A. (2007). Efficacy of topical azelaic acid gel in the treatment of mild-moderate acne vulgaris. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol, 73(2), p.94.

Jones DA. Rosacea, Reactive Oxygen Species, and Azelaic Acid. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. 2009;2(1):26-30.

Worcester, S. (2008). For Rosacea, Azelaic Acid Only Requires Once-Daily Application. Skin & Allergy News, 39(8), p.37.

Iraji, F., Sadeghinia, A., Shahmoradi, Z., Siadat, A. and Jooya, A. (2007). Efficacy of topical azelaic acid gel in the treatment of mild-moderate acne vulgaris. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol, 73(2), p.94.

Sieber, M. and Hegel, J. (2014). Azelaic Acid: Properties and Mode of Action. Skin Pharmacol Physiol, 27(s1), pp.9-17.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

How to Replicate the American Psycho Skincare Routine

So recently, I watched the psychological thriller, American Psycho. Apart from being completely disturbed, there are moments of the film that are actually comical, in an absurd, unsettling sort of way. Patrick Bateman's opening scene is one of them, where Bateman discusses his lengthy morning routine which involves a very elaborate skincare regimen. So, just in case you're a little crazy and want to be just as a diligent and precise as Mr Bateman, here's how you too can replicate this routine.... The products I mention are either those that I have or would/ want to use in the future.

You can watch the video here:

In the morning, if my face is a little puffy, I'll put on an ice pack while doing my stomach crunches. I can do a thousand now.
Let's skip the crunches - the cooling mask is actually a good idea if you have a puffy face in the morning, and want to reduce the swelling.
TheraPearl Eye-ssential Mask, Reusable Hot Cold Therapy Eye Mask
Facial Ice Pack

After I remove the ice pack I use a deep pore cleanser lotion.
I usually use a light cleanser in the mornings, but make sure it's not too stripping - deep pore cleaning
goPure Natural Facial Cleanser for Acne, Blemishes and Anti-Wrinkle - natural skincare
Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser - gel cleanser that has charcoal and brightening ingredients, not stripping.
ClaREN ClearCalm 3 Clarifyingy Cleanser - gentle anti-bacterial clay cleanser formulated to combat acne.

In the shower I use a water activated gel cleanser, then a honey almond body scrub,
Cussons Imperial Leather Body Wash - is what I use, it leaves skin moisturised and 'no. 37 - Flirtatious' smells like roses,
Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Shower Gel - here's something for men, and something Bateman would have probably used...
L’Occitane Almond Shower Scrub

and on the face an exfoliating gel scrub.
Unless you wake up with dry, flakey skin and want a quick fix, using an exfoliating product in the morning is overkill. I also don't think you need a scrub when, you can use a gel exfoliant. Using an exfoliant at night, or once in a while is a better option.
Cure Natural Aqua Gel - natural skincare, best selling in Japan
boscia Exfoliating Peel Gel - a peeling gel, just in case you wanted to re-create the famous scene.

Then I apply an herb-mint facial masque which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine.
Queen Helene Mint Julep Facial Masque  - this sounds like the closest to what's described, but it is a clay mask, so it would work better at night.
Dr Hauschka Soothing Mask - a soothing mask without clay.
ArtNaturals Aloe Vera Gel - aloe vera alone is great to soothe skin and calm redness

I always use an after shave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older.
Using skincare without alcohol is actually a good tip. Here are a few alternatives to aftershave.
Aloe Vera Gel - soothes and moisturises skin, also has great healing and anti-bacterial properties.
Jojoba Oil - the closest oil to our own natural sebum.

Then moisturiser,
CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion - affordable and gets great reviews
Olay Total Effects Anti-Aging Daily Moisturizer - and here's an additional $1.50 discount
Thursday Plantation Replenishing Moisturiser - what I've been using lately

then an anti-ageing eye balm
Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Eye Cream - here's an additional 15% discount on Burt's Bees.
Avocado Oil - what I occasionally use. Certified Organic.

followed by a final moisturising protective lotion
I'm going to take this to mean sunscreen - it wasn't though, but it should be.
Natural Instinct Invisible Natural Sunscreen - physical sunscreen, with more natural ingredients (Australian)
La Roche Posay CICAPLAST BAUME B5 - multi-purpose/soothing/repairing balm

If we all followed a routine exactly like this every morning, I think it would be fair to say that our face would eventually fall off. Some steps are better for the evening, like the first cleanser, and exfoliating gel. Bateman also seems to be obsessed with his pores, but ultimately his routine reflects the routine of someone who hasn't really researched the skincare products, and just buys the latest, or most popular product at the time. The products I've suggested are more gentle or natural, and will be reviewed in future posts so stay tuned!

Friday, 1 April 2016

Thursday Plantation Replenishing Face Moisturiser Review

I picked this up about three weeks ago, and have trialled it everyday so far. My skin is usually normal to slightly oily, but I my cheeks have been have dry lately. The moisturiser claimed it was suited for dry skin, and I was hoping it would help,

  • Protects the skin from the visible signs of premature ageing
  • Tightens the skin
  • Retains optimum moisture to the skin
  • Restores the skin’s natural glow
  • 99.5% naturally derived
  • Contains natural yet innovative ingredients that reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
  • Free from petrolatum, mineral oils, silicon, SLS, SLES, animal derived ingredient and testing, synthetic parabens
  • Vegan friendly

Apply daily on face and neck after cleansing and massage into the skin


The formula is slightly thick, but easy to spread. It is a slight beige colour but doesn't stain your skin. I apply this onto cleansed, slightly damp skin by patting it in. I also have massaged it in as the directions say, but the results are the same. The formula dries without a sticky finish, although it can feel slightly powdery after it dries, which I think, is because of the addition of bentonite. This is hardly noticeable.

  • contains many beneficial plant oils, vitamins and vegetable squalene
  • dry skin does feel more moisturised
  • slight 'tightening' feeling
  • non-irritating, no redness after use
  • easy flip lid, and hygienic tube packaging 

  • contains essential oils which some people may find irritating - citrus, lemon smell
  • skin looks more 'natural matte' than 'glowy' after use (can be a benefit)

Ideal For: those with normal to drier skin

Even though it is recommended for dry skin, I think normal to slightly oily can also benefit, because the finish is not greasy or oily. It did help my dry patches, but for extremely dehydrated skin, it may work better with a drop of facial oil. Overall, this is an amazing moisturiser that does not irritate my skin and is cruelty free.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Using Chamomile Tea as a Toner | 3 Day Update

If you're new, here is why I began this skin experiment. Before I used chamomile tea, my skin had been dry, red and scaly and nothing would calm it down. Here are the pictures after three days of use.

LEFT: day 2
RIGHT: now, after 3 days

My skin is almost back to normal! The scaly feeling as well as the dryness has completely vanished, and so has most of the redness. The picture below is of all three days. I don't think the camera captured how red my skin actually was on the first day, but even after a night's use, the redness was the first thing to dramatically improve (as seen on picture two).

Chamomile tea is definitely something to look into if your skin is sensitive or red and inflamed. Chamomile has anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties, as well as many other benefits which all seem to work in union to improve skin health.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Chamomile Tea Toner | 1 Day Update

Here's a quick update on using chamomile tea as a toner. Last night I brewed chamomile tea and applied the cooled down bag on my skin (where it was dry/red) as well as using the tea as a 'toner'.

Here is what my skin looked like before and after one day of use

The shot on the right is after a night and morning of using the tea. The before shot is after I used a facial oil, so excuse the shiny skin! I use oil almost every night, and tried using rosehip and coconut to calm the redness a few days before - it didn't work, which is why I began this skin experiment! So, it is definitely not the oil that has calmed the redness. I mention this in my previous post too.

I explain what happened to my skin here - in a few words; it was dry scaly, red and inflamed. The redness has definitely gone down, and the scaly feeling has also disappeared, but it still feels dry and dehydrated (I've tried everything). It is slightly softer though. Considering it has only been a day, I would say that the results are amazing. And a little surprising, since I was a tad sceptical when I was making tea from a dingy teabag.

The brewing, waiting and storing of this toner can be a bit of a process, so if you're looking for something more convenient, pre-made chamomile toners and hydrosols are a great option. The hydrosols can also double up as a setting spray.
If you have red, inflamed skin or rosacea, here's a post of ways you can add chamomile products into your skincare routine from cleanser to serum.

I'll still be updating this week, so stay tuned to see if this really works and bookmark or follow me on twitter to see when my posts go live!

xo, Amali

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Using Chamomile Tea as a Toner | Day 0

So, this week's beauty experiment will be about using chamomile tea as a toner. While it is a great tea to drink, topical application of chamomile also has its benefits.

I'm mainly doing this because something strange has been happening to my cheek; it's red, and dry to the touch. It feels like it's flaking and scaly, but looks fine (apart from the redness). It might be a spot treatment I used, or a new moisturiser, I still don't know. So, until then, I'm going to be trying this toner and see what happens! Chamomile is supposed to be soothing and calm redness.

I've tried green tea as a toner before and it got rid of my small dry spots, but this is different. It's more inflamed, and not your usual case of winter skin. I've tried coconut oil, rosehip oil and exfoliating, but nothing has helped. Hopefully this does!

If you would like to see my previous skin experiment on green tea, here's the

For now, join me as I update you all on my progress with pictures in the following days. Stay tuned and follow me on twitter for when my posts go live!

UPDATED: chamomile tea

xo, Amali

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Clay for Skin: French Green Clay | Part III

Part III of this series will be on a clay that is not so common and may go under a few names. Rich in minerals, it can draw out toxins, dust and dead skin cells.

French Green Clay: a clay mineral composed mostly of illite clay.

Where is it found: first produced on a huge scale in France, hence the name, but deposits are also found in Wyoming, Montana and China.

  • medium cation-exchange capacity, but higher than kaolin (absorbing toxins)
  • mainly a non-expanding clay
  • antibacterial (Williams et al., 2011)
  • contains many minerals: calcium, copper, potassium, silicon, iron, magnesium.
  • not as 'powerful' as bentonite clay, is slightly more gentle
Colour: green, which is due to a combination of iron oxides and decomposed plant matter.

'Green Landscape' modified by Ron Brinkmann licensed under CC BY 2.0

What to buy
Popular masks with French Green Clay or Illite

French Green Clay would be a great clay mask for those with less oilier skin, and do not like the 'pulling' sensation that comes with bentonite clay.

Studies Referenced

Williams, L., Metge, D., Eberl, D., Harvey, R., Turner, A., Prapaipong, P. and Poret-Peterson, A. (2011). What Makes a Natural Clay Antibacterial?. Environmental Science & Technology, 45(8), pp.3768-3773.

B. Williams, L., E. Haydel, S., F. Giese, Jr., R. and D. Eberl, D. (2008). Chemical and Mineralogical Characteristics of French Green Clays Used for Healing. Clays Clay Miner., 56(4), pp.437-452.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

7 Ways to add Turmeric into your Skincare

My last Tea for Skin post was about the benefits of turmeric for skin, as well as overall health.
Drinking and topically applying turmeric onto skin has been shown to helpful for many conditions according to numerous studies and anecdotes.

A Summary of Benefits
  • acne fighting
  • antioxidants
  • anti-inflammatory
  • wound-helaing
  • psoriasis
  • evens skin tone
  • brightens skin

Turmeric II by Steven Jackson licensed under CC BY 2.0

Here are some ways to included turmeric into your skincare routine

Turmeric Root Powder
Starwest Botanicals Organic Turmeric Root Powder
Flavor Of The Earth Organic Turmeric (Curcumin) Powder 

Clear Face Turmeric Cream Cleanser Paraben Free Organic

Serums and Treatments


KIEHL'S Turmeric & cranberry seed energizing radiance masque
Juara Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask 

Drink Tea

Adding turmeric into a DIY mask is also a good option for when you have time, and is something I will review soon!

xo, Amali

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Current Favourite Hand Creams

Here are the hand creams I currently use. Not all are traditional 'hand creams'. If you want to keep your hands soft and your nails strong, a hand cream is great in general, especially after washing your hands with soap, which can dry out your skin.

Monday, 14 March 2016

10 Science-backed Benefits of Using Coconut Oil on your Skin

My last post was about how using coconut oil in it's purest form has kept my skin soft and lush. This post will be about all the studies and journals that support this claim. Get ready for some evidence, because I definitely haven't been imagining how good this stuff has been to my skin!

'Coconut oil' by  Meal Makeover Moms licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

  • natural healing properties of virgin coconut oil (CO) in healing atopic dermatitis. A 2013 study found that compared to mineral oil, CO was superior and showed significant improvements (Evangelista, Abad-Casintahan and Lopez-Villafuerte, 2013)
  • this study also showed improvement of transepidermal water loss (leading to dry skin, less 'moist') (Evangelista et al., 2013)
  • improved skin hydration and increases skin surface lipid levels (Agero and Verallo-Rowell, 2004)
  • anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial (DebMandal and Mandal, 2011)
  • has a natural sun protection factor of SPF 8 (Saraf and Kaur, 2010)
  • wound healing properties (Nevin and Rajamohan, 2010)
  • lauric acid, the main acid in coconut oil works well against acne (Yang et al., 2009)

What happened when I Used coconut oil on my face

You're probably eating it by now, right? Might as well put it on your face. Here's what happened when I did.

The First Time
I've mentioned this briefly but a few years ago, I used coconut oil and broke out about two days later with three or four cystic pimples that seemed to be clogged and hard to the touch. So, I stopped using it straight away, and they took quite a while to calm down and go away. So, I never went back.

The Last Time
About a week ago, I ran out of moisturiser, so I took the risk.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Moroccan Oil Hair Treatment Review

When I was at the hairdresser's they used this in my hair and then blow dried it straight. My hair had never looked as shiny and as sleek as it did then.

Apply a small amount to clean, towel-dried hair, from mid-length to ends. Blow-dry or let dry naturally. Moroccanoil Treatment can be applied to dry hair to tame fly-aways or condition dry ends.

  • versatile, nourishing and residue-free formula
  • used as a conditioning, styling and finishing tool
  • blends perfectly with other products and even speeds up drying time
  • transforms and repairs as its formula transports lost proteins for strength; fatty acids, omega-3 oils and vitamins for shine; and antioxidants for protection
  • absorbs instantly to fill gaps in hair created by heat, styling and environmental damage

Monday, 7 March 2016

What happened when I used Oils instead of Moisturiser

A few years ago, I went on an all-natural skincare kick. I decided I needed to throw out my silicone filled moisturisers and just use oils. What could be bad about just using something without preservatives, colours, fillers and who knows what else? I think I did this for a couple of weeks. This is what I learned from my experience.

Oily Skin?
I think most people are hesitant to try facial oils because of the idea that they will make your skin erupt into a million pimples. This is definitely not the case with most oils. Oils may sit on top of the skin or be absorbed, either fully or partially. Before I started using just oils as moisturiser, and especially before I started using oils at all, I had diagnosed myself as having oily-combination skin. Using oils has helped my skin become more 'normal', and this is something I started to notice from the very beginning. It's as if, my skin was actually dry and producing more oil to compensate for all the 'oil-free' moisturisers and anti-acne products I was slathering on to tame my temperamental skin.

Dry Skin
Towards the end of my "oil moisturiser" journey, I started to notice some dryness on my forehead and smile lines. It wasn't so much that the skin was patchy, but in some places. it wasn't as 'plump', so either I actually developed fine lines or they became more obvious. So this is when I decided using oils was not such a great idea. Had my skin had become dry? Or was I just creating a barrier where it couldn't "breath?"

'Oil Drop' by Mark Vegas licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Tea for Skin: Turmeric (5)

Turmeric has traditionally been used in Asia and the Middle East as a spice and medicine. The past few years have seen a huge interest focusing on turmeric, accompanied by the rise and surge of the supplement market, where turmeric and it's components can easily be found in capsule and tablet forms.

Here are just a few benefits of turmeric, that are specifically great for skin.

Antioxidants neutralise free radicals, which would otherwise harm our cells. They can be caused by many factors, including age, the environment and diet. Studies have found that oxidative stress (imbalance of free radicals compared to antioxidants) is increased in acne patients (Arican, Kurutas and Sasmaz, 2005), as well as rosacea (Tisma et al., 2009).
Curcumin, a significant component of turmeric, is a powerful antioxidant that can help treat a variety of diseases, including skin conditions.

A lot of skin conditions produce inflammation, or are exasperated by it. From redness to acne, adding turmeric into your diet can help alleviate some of these symptoms. Curcumin (discussed earlier) also possesses anti-inflammatory properties (Menon and Sudheer, 2007) which is why a lot of people take this supplement for arthritis.

'Turmeric' by Steve Jackson licensed under CC BY 2.0

Wound Healing
Curcumin acts on different stages of wound healing process that speeds up the time it take (Akbik et al., 2014). Turmeric's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties also aid in its wound healing ability. Broken skin, scratches, acne, acne scars and other skin conditions all go through the skin healing process.

A 2015 study showed that topically applying turmeric to have positive affects on psoriasis (Sarafian, Golnaz, et al.).

Turmeric is said to be great for healing acne through it's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions, which have been shown in studies. There are also many anecdotal accounts and reviews online about how turmeric masks and supplements have helped those with acne.

While you can add turmeric root to hot water and have it as a tea, it's powdered form makes for a great addition to a homemade mask.
You can also add it into your food.

You can find turmeric easily online: Jiva Organics USDA Organic Turmeric Powder
or in most South Asian grocers.

Studies Referenced

Arican, O., Kurutas, E. and Sasmaz, S. (2005). Oxidative Stress in Patients With Acne Vulgaris. Mediators of Inflammation, 2005(6), pp.380-384.

Tisma, V., Basta-Juzbasic, A., Jaganjac, M., Brcic, L., Dobric, I., Lipozencic, J., Tatzber, F., Zarkovic, N. and Poljak-Blazi, M. (2009). Oxidative stress and ferritin expression in the skin of patients with rosacea. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 60(2), pp.270-276.

Thangapazham RL, Sharma A, Maheshwari RK. Beneficial role of curcumin in skin diseases. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:343–57.

Menon, V. and Sudheer, A. (2007). Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin. Adv Exp Med Biol, 595(105), p.25.

Akbik, D., Ghadiri, M., Chrzanowski, W. and Rohanizadeh, R. (2014). Curcumin as a wound healing agent. Life Sciences, 116(1), pp.1-7.

Sarafian, Golnaz, et al. "Topical Turmeric Microemulgel in the Management of Plaque Psoriasis; A Clinical Evaluation." Iranian journal of pharmaceutical research: IJPR 14.3 (2015): 865.

Monday, 29 February 2016

Black and Blue Sea Horse Nails

Thought I would share what I was wearing on my nails this week! A little whacky and actually iridescent in person.

The nail decals from Born Pretty Store contain a sheet full of
  • either gold or silver decals
  • in an ocean theme
  • includes seashorse, starfish, seashells, mermaid and seaweed stickers

1. Black nail polish - OPI Nail Lacquer Black Onyx
2. Blue nail polish - W7 Nail Polish Blue Mirror (Just because I didn't want them all to be black)
3. Seahorse/seashell nail art - Magico Nail Art from Born Pretty Store
4. Top Coat or clear, glittery polish for shine

Friday, 26 February 2016

7 Ways to Change Your Skincare for the Winter

During winter, it can be difficult to maintain clear and healthy looking skin. The dry winds and low humidity can take its toll, making our exposed skin dry, cracked, itchy and irritated. It’s this time of year, more than ever, when we need to take extra measures to battle back against the cruel cold.

Here are some things you can do to keep yourself looking smooth and fresh.

Use exfoliating lotions or toners at night. Exfoliating acids like lactic or glycolic increase cell turnover to reveal "new" skin.
To read more about which exfoliant to use based on your skin type, click: here.
Don't use harsh scrubs on your face. Scrubs can irritate the skin and cause broken capillaries.
Shaving is a form of exfoliation. If you shave your legs (or face), you're removing the uppermost layer of skin cells.

> right after a shower, when your skin is still damp
> mix oil with moisturiser (like avocado)
> use oils as body lotion

Switch your cleansers to
> cream cleansers
> oil-based cleansers
> balm cleansers
> syndet bars/cleansers

Don't use skincare products
> that contain alcohols, denatured alcohol, SD alcohol or isopropyl alcohol as they will dry out your skin.
> are targeted for oily skin, usually these are way too stripping and cause your skin to compensate by producing more oil.

Use a moisturiser
> with humectants, which prevent the loss of moisture, and some attract and retain moisture (like hyaluronic acid)

Oils at Night
> use a facial oil
> rosehip, jojoba and argan are drier oils that absorb well into the skin and don't leave a greasy feeling
> read what I use, here.

Put on a Mask
> a hydrating mask
> make your own, here are a few recipes.

These tips aren't exclusive to winter, and can be used for those with dry, dehydrated skin and all year round. Happy pampering!

xo, Amali

Monday, 22 February 2016

Using Green Tea as a Toner | 2 Week Update

Ok, it's time to update  you all - it's Week 2! I started using green tea as a toner everyday, two weeks ago to see whether I there were any benefits to my skin. I decided to this

If you have missed my 1 week update and how I make the green tea toner, click - here.

Before GT
My skin is normal to slightly oily. I have small dry spots around my cheeks that aren't visible but feel like my skin is dehydrated and not as smooth as the rest of my face. After putting on moisturiser, my cheeks can get a little dry after a few hours. This has been going on for the last year and I still don't know what's causing it. I'm prone to breakouts, (hormonal/diet), and some tiny spots on my forehead. I also have a few acne scars.

After 2 Weeks GT
  • the dry spots I had are gone
  • none of my acne scars have faded significantly
  • it looks the same as a week before, maybe less apparent pores.
  • feels a lot smoother
  • no small tiny zits I'm prone to getting
  • does not stop big hormonal spots (which surfaced on my face after the two week mark), but seems to reduce some redness

The picture below is:
Left: Before green tea
Right: 1 week after

Below: two weeks after green tea (a few days ago): I tried to get the same angle, but the lighting is a bit different. Excuse my eyebrows!

After these two weeks, I can't just go back skipping this (slightly annoying) step. It's only a hassle if I don't feel like drinking green tea. I'll be continuing for a month, and be testing it on my new lovely hormonal spots. The came in a two days ago after the two week mark so that's why they're not pictured!

Overall, I think everyone should try this. It is soothing and great for dry skin!

To see the benefits of green tea, backed up by research/experiments, click - here

xo, Amali

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