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

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Why You should use Avocado Oil as an Eye Cream

I've mentioned using this oil as an eye cream before, but I thought I would elaborate for those who are into natural skincare or aren't into traditional eye creams. I use avocado oil as an eye cream occasionally; usually in the evenings. Sometimes in the morning, if I'm not in a rush (it takes a while to absorb: minutes not hours).

While not as vogue as coconut oil, avocado oil seems to gaining momentum in the beauty world, with skincare companies introducing serums, moisturisers, and eye creams with this promising ingredient. The catch is the oil used in skin care products do not claim to be organic, unrefined, undeodorised and unbleached, so they probably aren't.

Nutrition: what's in avocado oil
  • high in monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic and palmitoleic acids) - typically 75 % of the oil 
  • the rest in made up of polyunsaturated (linoleic and linolenic acids) and saturated fatty acids (palmitic and stearic acids)
  • chlorophylls
  • carotenoids
  • high in vitamin e
  • phytosterols

'Avocado' by Chad Miller licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Studies on Avocado Oil and Skin
  • Lutein is the most significant caratenoid in avocado oil and is also found naturally in the skin. Studies have found lutein protects the skin from damage from UV radiation (Roberts, Green and Lewis, 2009)
  • lutein provides antioxidant protection (Roberts, Green and Lewis, 2009)
  • wound healing properties (Nayak, Raju and Chalapathi Rao, 2008)
  • increased collagen synthesis and decrease inflammation (de Oliveira et al., 2013)

Other Uses
  • mix in with a moisturiser 
  • as a 'serum' at night before moisturiser
  • on it's own (I've tried this - it seemed too thin)

Best to use organic, unrefined, cold pressed for the most benefits:


Roberts, R., Green, J. and Lewis, B. (2009). Lutein and zeaxanthin in eye and skin health. Clinics in Dermatology, 27(2), pp.195-201.

Roberts, R., Green, J. and Lewis, B. (2009). Lutein and zeaxanthin in eye and skin health. Clinics in Dermatology, 27(2), pp.195-201.

Nayak, B., Raju, S. and Chalapathi Rao, A. (2008). Wound healing activity of Persea americana (avocado) fruit: a preclinical study on rats. Journal of Wound Care, 17(3), pp.123-125.

de Oliveira, A., Franco, E., Rodrigues Barreto, R., Cordeiro, D., de Melo, R., de Aquino, C., e Silva, A., de Medeiros, P., da Silva, T., Góes, A. and Maia, M. (2013). Effect of Semisolid Formulation of Persea Americana Mill (Avocado) Oil on Wound Healing in Rats. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013, pp.1-8.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Clay for Skin: Kaolin Clay | Part II

Part II of this series will be on arguably the most common clay mineral on Earth. If you have bought a drugstore or high end face mask recently, chances are kaolin is one of the ingredients.

Kaolin: a clay mineral, layered silicate mineral, which is found in rocks rich in kaolinite.
Also called Kaolinite and china clay.

How does it form: chemical weathering of rocks in humid, hot climates

Where is it found: mined all over the world as it is a common mineral

Varieties: two main types
  • primary: residual clay that develops on site from already existing rocks
  • secondary: redeposited clay that accumulates in lakes and steam like environments through eroded residual deposits. 
  • there are different grades of kaolin depending on use
  • low cation-exchange capacity and
  • low shrink–swell capacity (making it ideal for industrial uses)
  • primary use is in the paper industry
  • used by the cosmetic industry to absorbs skin secretions and as skin protectants 
  • added to many cosmetic products like powder, toothpaste, 
  • not many studies about its use in skincare
  • active ingredient in many masks; more affordable masks seem to have it as a main ingredient, as it is probably cheaper than other clays

"facial" Photo by Zenspa licensed under CC BY 2.0

Colour: usually white to almost white. Some are red, orange, pink to yellow depending on how much iron oxide is present.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Using Green Tea as a Toner | 1 Week Update

Here are the results from my green tea skincare experiment. As promised, I used green tea as a toner for a week to test whether my skin improved. When I wrote my Tea for Skin post, there were way to many studies that showed how great green tea was when applied topically onto skin. I definitely couldn't ignore this.

How I prepared green tea toner (GTT)
While I made green tea to drink, I would pour some into another glass and let it cool in the fridge. A reader on twitter suggested green tea ice cubes; which is a lot smarter and way less of a hassle! And, if you have a puffy face in the morning, ice is great way to reduce the swelling.

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 1 Week GT
I can safely say that after a week of using green tea, my dry cheeks have

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Alpha-H Age Delay Intensive Eye and Lip Treatment Cream Review

I'm a big fan of Alpha-H Liquid Gold, which I've featured on the blog before. This eye cream is from the same brand, and I've had it for a while. The packaging looks different now, and instead of a tube it comes with a pump.

  • restores youthful firmness to the eye and lip area
  • lightweight but nourishing cream
  • blends Vitamins A, C and E with essential fatty acids
  • signs of stress and dehydration are diminished with each application
  • leaving your eye and lip contour visibly more supple and luminous
  • nourishes, rehydrates, reduces puffiness and dark circles
  • fine lines, wrinkles and crows feet become less visible as the skin is plumped and moisturised\
  • suitable for all skin types

Saturday, 6 February 2016

How to add Chamomile Tea into your Skincare Routine

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

A Summary of Benefits
  • can aid dry skin
  • ezcema
  • mild to moderate acne
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antioxidants
  • skin irritation
  • redness
  • can aid sleep
  • calming
  • enhances hair colour, especially blond

'Chamomile tea' by Maria Keays licensed under CC by 2.0
Here are some ways to included chamomile into your daily routine

Drink Tea
Tea bags: Stash Tea Chamomile Herbal Tea 100 Bags in Foil
Organic Whole Tea: Frontier Chamomile Flowers German Whole Certified Organic
With Lemon Loose Leaf: Numi Organic Chamomile Lemon Herbal Loose Leaf

Add powder into smoothies/tea/make your own toner or mist
Powder: Starwest Botanicals Organic Chamomile Flower Powder

Cleanser for sensitive skin: Elemis Soothing Chamomile Cleanser

Toners pre-made with added beneficial ingredients and Hydrosols as a face mist
Skin Toner: Eminence Soothing Chamomile Tonique
Organic Hydrosol: Chamomile Water Hydrolat Organic

Soothing Moisturisers
Moisturiser: Eminence Organic Vitaskin Calm Skin Chamomile Moisturizer

So, now there's no excuse not to drink chamomile tea and use it for nourished, and even skin.

xo, Amali

Friday, 5 February 2016

Tea for Skin: Chamomile (4)

Chamomile, which is Ancient Greek for 'ground apple' has been used for centuries for its aromatic and medicinal properties. Ancient Egyptians used chamomile on their skin and dedicated it to the sun god, Ra for its healing properties. The Romans flavoured their beverages with chamomile and used it as an incense.

There are two types of chamomile that are typically used:
  • German chamomile and 
  • Roman (or English) chamomile
Most people know chamomile tea for it's relaxing and calming properties. I like to brew myself a hot cup before bed in the colder months to wind down and keep warm. While it does have calming and mild sedative properties, it is also a great herb for skin health.

Although chamomile is easily found in most grocery stores, some people may react to it differently. Always research before you try something new or if you are on medication.

These are the properties of chamomile tea that I found to be beneficial to skin health when reading through various medical journals and studies.

'Fresh tea' by FromSandToGlass licensed under CC BY 2.0

Chamomile flowers contain flavonoids and volatile oils which possess anti-inflammatory properties (Srivastava, P and Gupta, 2009). These properties can also be attributed to an essential blue oil that contains certain components like chamazulene and sesquiterpene (Benzie and Wachtel-Galor, 2011), which work by inhibiting certain chemicals and pathways associated with inflammation.
If you have an inflammatory skin conditions like acne, rosacea, or eczema, chamomile tea may be effective.

Anti-microbial and anti-bacterial
A 2005 study found that drinking chamomile was associated with a significant increase in hippurate and glycine in urine (Wang et al., 2005), which is a sign of increased antibacterial activity. A lot of skin conditions can be exasperated and built up with increased bacteria. Drinking chamomile tea has also been claimed to fight infection and boost the immune system. My skin is definitely more prone to breakouts when I'm sick.

Wound healing
When topically applied, chamomile has been proven to be efficient in wound healing. This was evident in an experiment on wounds after dermabrasion of tattoos (Hautkr, 1987).  as well as a faster healing rate in a 2007 study (Nayak B et al., 2007).
Chamomile's ability to be anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and fight against infection, make for a great topical treatment if you have dry, chapped, or damaged skin.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Why you should use Green Tea as a Toner

I wrote up a post a while ago on the benefits of green tea as part of my Tea for Skin series. Most of the studies I came across involved drinking green tea, while a few experimented with topical application. Here are the main benefits of green tea as a skin treatment.

  • has a photoprotective effect, so protects against UV radiation, and
  • has been shown to improve skin redness, and UV-induced damage (Katiyar, 2003)
  • can reduce severity of acne in mild to moderate acne sufferers (L Elsaie et al., 2009)
  • green tea polyphenols possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties
  • significant improvement in the elastic tissue content (Chiu et al., 2006)
  • elasticity, roughness, scaling, density, and water homeostasis were shown to improve in a 2011, 12 week study (Heinrich et al., 2011)

Sencha at the Advanced Tea Brewing Class  by Michael Allen Smith licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

After writing that last post, I have definitely started drinking green tea more regularly. I also wanted to use green tea as a toner, and while I have a few times, I haven't been consistent. So, from tonight onwards I'll be incorporating green tea into my skincare routine.

I'm planning to use good old tea bags (because that's what I have), but hopefully graduate with something a little more substantial, like this:

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