My Favourite Things To Do In Autumn + How I Prepare For The Cold Season

     Even though summer is my favourite time of the year, I love seeing the greens and goldens of early autumn turn to siennas and reds.

The things I look forward to:

* Wearing "real" outfits. Summer means mostly throwing on a dress, sandals and maybe a shawl for the evening. Effortless but it can get boring in the long run. Autumn means creative layering, interesting accessories, combining my lighter summer pieces with knits and woollens, playing with textures.
* Teas and other warm drinks. With lots of cinnamon and ginger. Matcha lattes and hot chocolate.
* Everything is so beautiful! Grey mists and strings of bedewed spider webs on one day, decadently colourful leaves in the low, almost amber light on the next.
* Flying kites. I'm really good at it.
* Bonfires. It was much too hot this summer for any, but autumn is the perfect time to enjoy as many as I can squeeze in before it gets too cold.

Things I do while it's still warm:

* Put all my shoes out in the sun for a day, it kills all the odours.
* Drink teas with the last of the fresh herbs -- lemon balm that sows itself wild in random nooks all over my garden, holy basil in a pot which I adore to death but never manage to bring through the winter, and fresh nettles. 
* Switch out some of my clothes, put away the summery ones that I can't mix and match with warmer stuff. Get out my boots and sweaters.
* Launder the big stuff around the house, like curtains and rugs. I line dry, so I much prefer doing this when it's still warm.
* Take my wrist-warmers, shawls and headbands out of storage. I have quite a collection.
* Visit thrift stores on the day they switch to cold-seasons stuff and pick out sweaters made out of natural yarns.
* Getting inspired by the knitwear from Outlander. I also taught myself to crotchet and make one Outlander-ish piece a year.
* I start taking my St John's Wort supplement and vitamin D, which really helps me during the dark cold weeks of winter. 
* I wear a lot of rings, earrings and brooches, as well as chunky necklaces that work with sweaters.
* I start lighting candles as soon as dusk falls. I have discovered salt lamps for myself, they do wonders for the air quality in the room. When I walk into a room where a salt lamp is burning, I can smell the faint salty smell and it's just so clean and calming.

Do you love autumn or is it not your favourite season? What are you looking forward to this autumn and winter?

Photo credit: AZGAN MjESHTRI on Unsplash

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Cosmetic Favourites -- Autumn 2018

September was my birthday, and most of the products featured in this list are birthday gifts from lovely friends. Yay!

Weleda Creamy Body Wash

This body wash is the best one I've used so far. It's really mild and moisturising, and gentle on even very sensitive skin. I find it really lovely to use because of its amazing scent. I have an extremely sensitive nose and get easily annoyed by scented products, but this one is a sensual experience for my nose. 

Dr Hauschka Rose Nurturing Body Oil

I can't think of an oil that is more cozy and enveloping than rose. This body oil is a mix of rose, sunflower and jojoba. It's very smooth, almost silicone-y, and is absorbed instantly by the skin. The scent is divine, like that of real garden roses. It dissipates very quickly leaves only a lightest of hint of rose scent on the skin, which might be a good or bad thing depending on your taste. Personally overwhelming scents can trigger headaches or annoy me, so I think it's a  that it doesn't hang around.
The product is rather pricey, so I use it on my hands, neck and decollete and my legs get the good old cheap kitchen oils.

Orientana Papaya And Indian Ginseng Scrub

It is really hard to find a good enzymatic exfoliator in Germany, so I requested this one from Poland. The papaya extract lightens discolourations, and the Ashwagandha is an amazing antioxidant. This scrub is quite gritty, a tad sharp for my skin, so I use this more like a masque that I pat on rather than rub as the papaine enzyme gently loosens dead skin cells. I feel that for the ingredients to work it has to be left on for a while. You can actually feel the bromeine working, it causes a very light tingling. After I wash it off with a washcloth my skin is really smooth, healthy and bright.
I looked around to see if it is available abroad, and found this ebay seller who ships it for a very reasonable price.

Korres Goji Berry Instant Firming and Lifting Mask

I never tried anything from Korres before so I was quite excited about this mask. I found it to be very moisturising, ideal for the winter or on any parched bits of the face. Because it has a matte finish I often end up leaving it on my skin like a moisturiser.

Catrice Art Coleurs in 140 Secrets Of Le Chrome Duochrome

For a long time I was looking for good, affordable duochromes. Unfortunately lots of the eyeshadow labelled duochrome is just glitter in two colours, mixed together. A true duochrome had a different colour depending on how it catches the light. I found several of those, but most of them were for skin tones that look good in cool tones. The Secrets Of Le Chrome one is a lovely nougat-berry that moves into a icy blue. It's hard to photograph, but I think the images on my instagram shows of the colour change quite well. It's very soft and buttery and easy to apply and blend, and very layerable. I find that I need a primer to prevent it from lightly slipping into the crease, but this is pretty much standard with my oily + hooded lid combo.

Trend It Up Eyeppearance Eyeshadow Pallette in 040

So since a while I was looking for a gold khaki eyeshadow to replicate this look. After a lot of swatching I decided to buy this tiny little palette. I like that the colours are in a theme, and I think would work on a lot of different face colouring (from a soft summer all the way through all the autumn types to deep winter). The shadows are of decent quality, the only problem is that they aren't in pans but are pressed directly into the palette, and might fall out if it's dropped.
The white turned out to actually be a nice light beige with golden shimmer. Then comes a matte brownish grey, which is surprisingly wearable. Then the lovely golden khakhi (the one I bough the palette for). This is followed by a shade of old faded gold. Then a matte sea green. The last shade is a black livened up with golden sparkles.

All in all I'm very happy with the whole bunch! two more products I've bought recently are lipsticks, but I wanted to talk about those in a separate post. What are your favourite buys this autumn?

Photo credit

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Here Are My Favourite Bollywood Movies That You Should See!

A less known fact about me is that I'm a Bollywood film connoisseur. Now Bollywood often conjures images of over-the-top make-up, ridiculous action scenes, poor acting and song-and-dance sequences. However things have changed a lot in the industry since the 90s, and even back then there were tons of indie and regional film makers that were making amazing movies.
I find that two kind of Bollywood films make it to the west -- the stereotypical blockbusters and a smattering of serious movies. Today I want to share a couple of films which are (mostly) neither, films that I dearly love and think that people without any knowledge of Indian cinema would enjoy. And most of them are free of dance sequences.


If you like travel stories or are looking for something heart-warming and fun, watch this. A traditional "good Indian girl" gets jilted just before her wedding, and is so devastated that her parents allow her to go on her "honeymoon" trip to Europe solo. After spending the first day under her hotel room blankets, she ventures out to brave the unknown culture. The culture clash is hilariously accurate, and her journey to discovering a new self-confidence is familiar across all cultures.
The funniest part: where she stealthily tries to put on the bra under the blanket. Though the sex shop scene is good too.

Mr and Mrs Iyer:

One of my all-time favourite films, an off-beat slow, sweet story where the most important things are left unsaid. On a bus trip along the length of India an orthodox Indian woman passes off a Muslim fellow passenger as her husband to save his life. The same one with whom she doesn't want to share her water bottle because of the strict rules of her caste. Amid the background of violence which is always present and never shown, a tender and tentative relationships starts to bud.

The beginning is a bit slow for my taste, but then the story really pulls you in. And the ending, well, it's one of the best ones I've ever seen. Just about everyone whom I showed this film to loved it.
My favourite bit: the ending. Though the scene where he teaches her photography is great too.


If you want the splendid colours, the breathtaking costumes, the gorgeous women an lavish sets that Bollywood is known for, look no further. You get all of this plus a tumultuous story about pride, unfulfilled love and longing, supported by great acting from the biggest Indian stars.
The director draws from a different culture in each of his films for the storytelling, and this film sparked a major craze for everything Bengali. For while everyone and their aunt were getting puffed-sleeve saree blouses. I actually went and bought myself a replica of the bangle Paro wears, and got the bottoms of my sari petticoats lined with lace.
My favourite tidbit: The first dance stunning of the character Chandramukhi is choreographed by one of India's leading classical dance masters, and the actress is classically trained, so you get a taste of what north-indian classical Kathak dance is like. And her costume was apparently ridiculously heavy!
My favourite scene: Paro and Devdas by the river where the thorn gets stuck in her foot, and the one where Chandramukhi whips her wet hair over Deva's face.


This movie touched me pretty deeply, and I couldn't stop thinking about it for a long time. It starts out as what could be a road thriller, and then quietly evolves into something  soul-achingly beautiful. The story is about coddled rich girl gets abducted and held for ransom until the kidnappers, realising their hostage is from an extremely powerful and influential family, panic and want get rid of her. Yet she doesn't want to go back to her family, having tasted the wild free life on the road. The ethereal cinematography takes you on a journey through lesser-known corners of India and inspires major wanderlust, especially the last scenes in Kinnaur which is one of the most remote and the most beautiful parts of the country.
The music is by my favourite Indian composer AR Rehman, and each song draws from a different Indian tradition.
The last scene inspired me to finally order Women Who Dance With The Wolves, which had been on my wishlist for years.


An innocent, quirky and fun movie set in the 70s. A story of a deaf and mute man, an autistic girl, and... well, you'll see. The film is really funny and heartwarming, and I really really am a fan of the main actor's Chaplinesque humour.
If you like films like Benny and Joon or anything by Wes Anderson, you'll love this. Plus Priyanka Chopra as the autistic girl is jaw-droppingly good and really looks like a kid.

Dear Zindagi

So I'm unabashedly adding a slice-of-life film here, because it's genre I really like. Especially if it features two actor I love -- Shahrukh, who was my crush since I was a pre-teen, and Aliya who is just an amazing amazing actress. This film is about a jaded girl going through a series of (very good looking) men, finding herself through her therapy sessions with a rather unorthodox therapist. But the real star of the film are the friendships and the relationship with her brother and her housemaid. And the beautiful interiors and Aliya's outfits (I was seriously taking notes).

Will you be watching any of these? If you have a good Indian film you'd like to recommend, let me know in the comments!

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What Triggers Hyperpigmentation? Things To Avoid

Sun is not the only thing that causes discolouration, inflammation (wounds, skin problems) can also leave behind discolourations. Some women get discoloured patches after pregnancy. However there are many other things that can cause hyperpigmentation or worsen existing discolourations: problems with the liver or adrenals, vitamin deficiencies, medication.
If your skin tends towards discolourations you need a dual approach: good cosmetic routine to deal with it is essential, but you also need to look into what caused or triggered the problem. Some of the triggers are hard to avoid, sometimes we don't have much choice when it comes to certain medications, birth control or other issues, in this case we should try minimise other potential triggers of hyperpigmentation. And wear lots of sunscreen. And hey, if nothing works out, that's what make-up is for.

What May Trigger Hyperpigmentation:

* UV rays, especially tanning beds which use mostly UVA light. Also the UV gel hardener lamps.

* Incorrect use of sunscreen: sunscreen that isn't full-spectrum, too low SPF factor, isn't applied correctly (a thick enough layer, patted on and not rubbed on), chemical sunscreen that isn't applied 20 minutes before sun exposure and reapplied every two hours. Obviously all of this doesn't trigger melanin production per se, however when we apply sunscreen we tend to spend more time in the sun -- even if the sunscreen doesn't offer enough protection.

* Adrenal stress

* Liver problems 

* Essential oils: bergamot, lemon, lime, orange, mandarin, juniper, jasmine absolute, lavender, red zig, sandalwood oil, ylang ylang oil.

* Antibacterial/antiseptic ingredients (soaps, cleansers, household cleansers): Hexachlorophene, bithionol, 5-bromo-4-chlorsalicyanilide, chlorhexidine, chloro-2phenyphenol, triclocaran. More reasons anti-bacterial stuff is ineffective and bad for health anyway.

* Perfume, also synthetic fragrance in skin care: Peru balsam, benzoyl alcohol, benzoyl salicylate, canga oil, cinnamic alcohol, geraniol, hydroxycitronellal, mithoxycitronellal, oak moss, musk, xylol, 6-methyl coumarin, cinnamic aldehyde. Unfortunately these do not have to be disclosed and are often simply declared under inci: parfum.

* Deficiency in vitamin B12 and other B vitamins, vit A, vit PP and folic acid.

* Hormones: this includes birth control as well as pregnancy.

* Improper used of hydroxy acids: A lot of anti-ageing, brightening and anti-acne products contain AHA and BHA, which make the skin more susceptible to UV rays. I've even seen them in sunscreen. Always use products with these ingredients in the winter, apply only in the evening, and use proper sun protection!

* Some herbs: fennel, calendula, St John's Wort, figs, lime, parsley and wild carrots.

* Many medicaments: antibiotics, anti-inflammatory anti-fungal agents, some blood pressure medication and pain killers. One list and  another list, also a good list. If you are on any of these any cannot switch, take extra care with sunscreen!

* Acne medication: Benzoyl peroxide, retinoic acid, unbuffered and very low or high pH glycolic acid, tretinoin, resorcinol.

* Systemic drugs: Tiaprofenic acid, carprofen, promethazine, chloropromazine.

* Sunscreen chemicals: Para-aminobenzoic acid, glyceryl-paminobenzoate, 2-hydroxy-4-methoxy-benophenone, isoamyl-p-N, Ndimethylaminobenzoate, p-methoxy-isoamyl-cinnamate. Or basically: switch to zinc oxide based sunscreen already.
* Other cosmetic ingredients that are photosensitising: hydroquinine (brightening products), retinol (anti-aging).

I hope that this list is helpful. It's definitively not completely exhaustive, it was really surprising how little information there is out there on photosensitising cosmetics ingredients. When in doubt, wear sunscreen!

Photo credit:  Mohammad Metri on Unsplash

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How To Get Rid Of Hyperpigmentation, Age Spots, Melasma, Post-Acne Discolouration

So it's the end of the summer, time to assess what the too much sun, chlorinated water and humidity (or lack of it) did to our skin. In my case it's about checking the hyperpigmentation which gets more intense during the summer months. My personal theory is that the years spent in south-east Asia without proper sun protection have damaged my skin, and this damage "rises up to the surface" in the summer months.
I remember my mom, who would sunbathe for years without repercussions, suddenly become thickly covered with brown spots after a single day in the sun. Like a ladybird. They literally popped up over the course of a few hours. S o my theory is that the sun after a certain amount of sun damage it simply becomes visible to the naked eye. Before that you can see it if you shine a UV lamp on it, it's pretty scary.

How to use sunscreen properly:

I can't say how often I have seen people using sunscreen completely wrong. Here are some guidelines:

* Apply enough, pat on a nice layer. Don't rub it in, for all that is holy. Otherwise you're getting just a fraction of the SPF advertised on the bottle.
* At least SPF 30. No, mineral make-up is not enough.
* Use it every day, UVA rays can go through clouds.
* Zinc oxide is the only ingredient that provides full-spectrum protection.
* Don't rub it off. Apply make-up carefully, don't touch your face.
* If you are not using a purely physical sunscreen, you need to reapply every two hours.
* If you are taking medication or birth control that can make the skin photosensitive, you need to be extra vigilant with sun protection. (More about this in the next post!)
* Sunscreen has to be water-resistant if you are sweating even just a little bit. This one is my favourite.
* Be mindful of spots where the sunscreen wears out or is rubbed off during the day. In my case it's where the bottom of my sunglasses frames rests on the cheeks, the part where the hat touches my forehead, and the nose... can anyone tell my why products don't stay on the nose?

Cosmetic Ingredients that helps against hyperpigmentation:

Vitamin C: Ascorbic Acid,
Glycyrrhetinic Acid und Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract

Rose / rosehip oil
Azelaic Acid
Morus Alba (Mulberry) Root Extract and Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf (Bearberry) Extract
Alpha Arbutin
Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) extract
Glycyrrhetinic Acid and Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract  
Kojic Acid or Kojic Dipalmitate  (can sensitize the skin)
Aloe Vera
AHAs, especially Malic Acid (only in the winter, sunscreen mandatory, except for mandaleic acid)

I purposely left out hydroquinine, arbutin and a couple of other ingredients that are banned in the EU, because of studies about lack of long-term safety. Also don't use lemon juice, it makes the skin photosensitive!

Some Product Recommendations

 I recommend looking for products for hyperpigmentation as well as those that "brighten" the complexion and then checking whether one of the above substances are near the top of the ingredient list (ingredients are sorted by amount).

You might want to try different things because the ingredients work in several different ways. Some block inhibit tyrosinase (the enzyme needed to make melanin), others help to breakdown melanosomes (melanin pigment granules) in the cells that produce melanin. Others (AHAs, PHAs, Glutonactone) helps remove the damaged top layer, these should be used in the late autumn and winter.

* Right now I am using the Balea Serum Konzentrat gegen Pigmentflecken from DM which has Niacinamide as the second ingredient.
* Koije-San Soap or Wardi Shan soap is surprisingly effective on pigmented areas.
* Vit C -- I've found a lot of great products in my local TKMaxx (TJ Maxx in some countries). The higher the 5 of the vitamin, the better.
* Paula's Choice has the Resist Anti-Aging Brightening Essence well as several products with AHAs and BHAs.
In the next post I'll talk about what causes and triggers hyperpigmentation.

Photo credit: on Unsplash

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Jade Rollers And Gua Sha -- Do They Work And How To Use Them

I've owned and used a jade skin roller and a Gua Sha tool for over two years. Since I have seen posts saying that it's the solution to all beauty problems and posts saying that they don't do anything, I wanted to write about my own experiences with both tools.

So I'll spoil the ending and say: yes, both these tools work, if you use the proper technique. Rolling back and forth isn't going to do much.

The Jade Roller

The jade roller works really well when I have a puffy face, a couple minutes of rolling and I can feel things draining away. For extra effectiveness, store yours in the freezer. If my lymphatic system needs extra help I make sure to add the step of rolling from my temples own the sides of my face, my neck, and towards the collar bones -- this really drains everything.
The wand really helps to relax facial muscles are habitually contracted. In my case it is around the outside eye corners and the forehead -- this causes lines and makes hooded lids even more hooded (you can test this in front of a mirror -- the hood become more prominent when you frown). When I roll these areas I feel the muscles relaxing, and I feel like rolling regularly keeps the muscles from staying contracted.
Finally, the rolling massage stimulates the circulation, which is good for the skin.
The Chinese also claim that regular massage of the face tissues can lightly form the facial shape by shifting fat tissues, and helps to fight facial sagging. I have read quite a lot of comments and blog posts of women who have overdone the Tanaka massage and ended up over-slimming their face, so it is safe to say that the method is very effective.
My jade roller isn't really jade, it is a cheap version from Ebay. I wish I could have picked one from a regular store since the smaller roller isn't perfectly symmetrical, also I kind of would love to own one out of a "noble" material like real jade or rose quartz. However mine did its job relatively well (apart from mildly squeaking) and it cost around 3€. Until my kid broke it.

Here is a nice guide on using the jade roller for a lymphatic massage. I like how she combines it with a s sheet mask. The actual technique starts around 4 mins:

The bottom line is: the jade roller is fun and easy to use, I'd recommend everyone to try one. However if you are serious about your facial massage, I'd suggest going for the Gua Sha.

This one is mine, however they come in all kinds of shapes.

The Gua Sha

The Gua Sha is an advanced tool, you can do much more with it than with the jade rolling wand, however you really need to know what you are doing. The Gua Sha tools have a shape where you can use a bigger surface or a smaller on, hold it flat or at an angle; this makes it extremely versatile for he different parts of the face.
I kind of follow the video below and also do a couple of steps that I learned from the Tanaka facial massage with it. I often do it in the evening while reading.

This video is really good and thorough, unlike many other youtubers she shows how to hold the skin in place so you aren't pulling on it:

How To Use The Jade Roll Or Gua Sha:

Always cleanse your skin first, then use a moisturiser or oil for the slip, and don't forget to wash it properly afterwards.
Don't use the roller or Gua Sha on irritated or broken skin or breakouts.
You need to use smooth, form strokes and roll from the inside of the face towards the outside. On the cheeks and around the mouth you need to roll upwards ten outwards. And in the end you need to roll down the outside edges of the face and down the neck.

So the bottom line is: massaging the skin in this way helps with de-puffing, relaxing the tissues, and improving circulations, however whether you use the jade roller, the Gua Sha or your fingers is a matter of preference. Those of you who are dealing with a poor circulation, a puffy face or tensed up muscles will see pretty quick results.
BTW my Chinese friend uses a porcelain soup spoon or a very smooth (polished) stone for the same, in fact my first introduction to Gua Sha was when she used it on me postpartum.

Let me know in the comments if you use the jade roller or the Gua Sha, or if you prefer your fingers.

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DIY Shimmer Golden Oil + Shimmer Powder For The Summer

A while back I was looking for a shimmer oil, something like Nuxe or Joik but cheaper. And organic. Needless to say I was sorely disappointed, so I decided to make one myself. it's really easy, plus it's a good way to use up products that you aren't using, maybe because it's too heavy or not quite the right shade. After making the shimmer oil I realised it's really easy to make a dry version, really useful if you don't want to stain your clothes.

DIY Shimmer Body Oil

You need:
A shimmery eyeshadow, bronzer or highlighter. You can also buy mineral pigments online in all shades and finishes. In some countries you can buy mica in apothecaries. I used some mineral highlighter from the now defunct Lumiere that were a tad too shimmery for my face, but you can use just about anything. I like the fact that mineral make-up uses mica and silica for the shimmer, since micro plastic is such a problem right now.
An oil, lotion or cream. I used a mixture of sesame oil and carrot oil, the latter for its orange colour in an attempt to fake a bit of a tan. If you want a quick-absorbing light oil try jojoba or sunflower or grape seed oil. If you want something that's easier to transport, try something like murumuru or shea butter, you might want to warm them up till they are liquid.

If your shimmery product isn't in powder form, you need to smash it. Best using a mortar and pestle but you can use a fork or a spoon in a pinch. Then add it to your oil or lotion, work gradually, testing how it looks like. You might want a subtle glimmer or a much sparkier effect, it's up to you!

I have a little glass funnel, but you can easily make one out of paper

DIY Body Shimmer Powder

Instead of oil or lotion, mix your product with arrowroot starch. Of course you can apply a shimmer product straight up, but by stretching it with starch you can cover large areas like the legs or arms with an even and light layer.
If you are into essential oils, you can add a drop or two to the oil or the powder for a light scent.

Here is how mine looks like. It's pretty subtle and suitable for the evening, I'm thinking to make a sparklier version for the beach.

Over to you, do you have a favourite shimmering product for the body? Let me know if you try this DIY version.

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My Favourite DIY Micellar-ish Makeup Remover

As you might know I am a huge fan of micellar cleansers. Micellar cleansers are basically tiny oil droplets suspended in water, they are free from detergents and a effective yet gentle cleansers. Since a while I was looking for a cheaper alternative to my favourites, which is not easy because I'm picky and don't want anything with alcohol and unnecessary chemicals.

The past weeks I have been testing a home-made Micellar cleanser and I'm pretty happy with the results! I feel like it is even more effective that the store-bought ones. I use the same amount of tinted sunscreen everyday and where before when cleansing my third cotton pad would be almost clean, now I need to use five ! So I feel that every last trace of product is gone, plus my skin is very clear. This diy cleanser feels oilier that store bought micellar cleansers which have the consistency of water, however it does not leave my skin greasy at all, only lightly moisturised. If you want you can remove all traces of oil with a gel cleanser, I prefer to leave it on my skin and am rewarded with a well moisturised face.


DIY Micellar Cleanser:

1 part water or hydrolate or herbal tea:  hydrolates keep longest, however you can use plain water or make a tea out of herbs (rosemary, salvia or  peppermint for oily skin, lavender for dry skin).
1 part oil: I use sesame oil because at the moment my skin is rather dry, however it might be too heavy for some. If you're not sure what to use jojoba oil is a really light and neutral oil.
pinch (1-2%) xanathan gum or lecithin or another emulsifier of your choice. This will keep the water and oil from separating.
optional: a drop of essential oil
optional: squirt of cleansing gel or castille soap of you need something stronger

Disinfect all your containers with alcohol or boiling water! Mix all the ingredients together and shake well. 
Play with proportions! If you tend to use waterproof make-up, use 2 parts oil to one part water. If you don't like oily formulas, try 2:1 water:oil. Pour into your container. If you want to make pre-soaked make-up remover pads, put some into a jar and pour the diy micellar cleanser over them and let them soak it all up. If you used water or tea, the cleanser will keep for ca 3 weeks. Store it in the fridge if possible. A micellar cleanser made with store-bought hydrolates will keep for several months.

To use, simply squirt onto a cotton pad and wipe your face. If you wish you can cleanse off any oil residue with a warm, wet wash-cloth. I leave the oil residue on my face and feel that my skin likes it.

You might wonder what the difference between this home made micellar cleanser and oil-cleansing is. I find that it is much easier to remove make-up with pads soaked in this diy micellar solution than to do it with pure oils. Oil mixed with water is usually much more effective both at cleansing and at moisturising than oil on its own. The diy micellar clenaser also leaves only a slight layer oil oil on my face, so I don't have to use a hot wash cloth on my face (which I'm wary of since I have fragile capillaries) or any other cleanser. Also it's more convenient.

Let me know how this works for you. Or maybe you have a favourite cleansing product that you swear by? Let me know in the comments.

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Reminder -- All Beauty Routines Must Stem From A Place Of Self-Like

Whatever you do -- makeup, skin care, clothes, exercise, hair removal -- do it with a feeling of kindness towards your body.
This body is the one that you got in this life, it's the only one. Learn to like it.
I don't really like the term self-love because love is a bit of a strong word to use for the feelings towards one's own body. "Like" I think is better, but the one that fits best is the metta which can be translated as loving-kindness or friendliness.

After struggling for a long time with the question of how does make-up and beauty care fit in with the idea of self-acceptence I have come to the conclusion that for me it's about adornment. It's about beautifying something that I like and accept. I realised this when my small daughter was twirling in front of the mirror in a pretty dress and colourful hair clips. For me she is beautiful without all those things, she doesn't "need" anything more. But me and her find joy in putting a pretty dress on her precisely because because we are free to wear them (or not to). In the same way I try to see my skin care routine, my makeup and my clothes as a means of caring and adorning my body, and not as an attempt to fix it and make it acceptable to myself and others. Gradually I realised that I "need" less and less things to feel good. I feel comfortable when not dressed up or made up, if I don't feel like doing this things. Ten years ago I wouldn't have felt this way -- I was acutely nervous about looking and dressing appropriately.

Imagine you were helping a good friend to get ready for a big event. We usually find people who we like attractive, even if we realise they are not conventionally beautiful. But we are really aware of their best features, of their charm, of the unique things that make them themselves. If you were to dress up or apply makeup on such a friend, you would do it out of a place of joy and acceptance. You would try to find colours and textures that brought out the things you like about them. You would certainly not talk them don and criticise things about their appearance. You'd probably say kind things to them. And not because they are flawless -- because you like them, and because you chose to focus on their best parts.

That's the way you should approach your own beauty rituals. Be your own best friend. Focus on being kind. If need to give yourself this kindness and acceptance, you can't expect them from anyone else.

If you find it hard to accept and be loving-kind towards your body, the first thing would be to gently change your internal monologue. Our inner voice is usually the voice of our parents, and it can take some work to replace it with our own voice. Talk to yourself as you would talk to a friend. Try to reformulate your thoughts to make them more gentle. When you find yourself talking to yourself in a harsh tone, stop, take a breath, and tryy to say it in a kinder way. It takes a bit of work but from personal experience I know that it can be done.
Look at yourself in the mirror, take a few moments to practice seeing yourself in a kind light. Louise Hay's Mirror Work can be helpful.
Remember that your body is not a decoration, it is a vehicle for you, it's an instrument. It does so much for you everyday. Take time to appreciate being able to walk, see, dance.
Try Metta meditation. It is a simple psychological method, non-denominational, which helps you to practice an attitude of loving-kindness towards yourself and towards other people. Here are instructions, and there are several free guided meditation mp3s if you prefer that.

Photo credit: Adam Jang on Unsplash

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I Realised I Haven't Been Really Taking Care Of My Body -- Inspite Of My Entire Beauty Routine

Recently I realised that since years I have not really taken care of my body. You heard that right. In spite of exfoliating, moisturising, nice clothes, make-up, I have been neglecting it. Sounds like a paradox? Let me explain.
Here is how it happened:

These past months have been extremely stressful for me, and I began to have body pains that were psychosomatic in origin. The peak point  was after an experience which finally relieved me of a ton of heavy responsibility, and almost exactly in the same moment all the stress and pain of the past months finally crashed down on me -- not just mentally but physically. Everything hurt, body and soul.

With my therapist I learned that when I took a couple of minutes to sit with whatever I felt, the sensations would calm down and I would feel better. Paying attention to my body sensations, especially the tense tissues gradually released whatever was stored there. Physically it felt as if things were evaporating from my tissues, and left me feeling light.
I had to be actually present and in my body. This was not easy. And then I realised I have not done this since a long time. I had never actually sat with my body, never actually listened to it, not since a long time.

I looked back at years of body care, of dressing nicely, taking care of my skin and hair, exercising and eating well, of going to the doctor whenever I felt something was off. All this time I had been taking care of my body as if it were an object. I exfoliated and moisturised just like I scrubbed my kitchen counters and oiled my chopping board. When I applied Ayurvedic oils on my body, I felt how my skin felt to my hand -- but never actually felt how it felt to be touched by my hand. I didn't really pay attention to hunger cues. When I did pay attention to the sensations, it was often with judgement.

Because, as I wrote in my last post, it can be dangerous. Feelings may rise up that one doesn't want to feel.

I wanted to share ways in which I try to get in touch with my body in small steps, but one of my favourite instagrammers has coincidentally shared her very similar ones in a much more poetic way:

K E E P • I T • S I M P L E . Recently, on my friend Natalie's new podcast, I had the opportunity to reflect on what self care means, looks like, and allows me to do in my own life. What I realized through that conversation is that the most important self care practices are also the most simple. When we tend to the basics, we begin to thrive naturally. While it can at first seem seductive to take a ten day retreat in an exotic location and return to your daily life ready to take on the world, I personally don’t think things works like that. Real vitality and resilience are cultivated through offering our full attention to the simple tasks of daily living - again, and again, and again. . Self care costs nothing. Want to practice it right now? Put your phone on airplane mode and go outside. Breathe the sweet air all around you. Take a minute to fill your favorite glass with water, then drink it slow. I’d you’re still thirsty, drink more. When you get home tonight, turn out the lights thirty minutes earlier than unusual. Light a candle. Sit still and breathe. Dance. Massage yourself with or without oil. When you are hungry, eat food. When you are tired, rest. When you feel overwhelmed, slow down. If your life feels chaotic, do less. . The most meaningful solutions are those which are slow and steady, and which you already hold within you. Because you know what you need to do to take care of yourself. If you say you don’t, more than likely what you mean is that you do know, but that you don’t want to do, or don’t believe that you can do, whatever it is you know you must. This totally okay and totally normal. Sometimes all we need to get back on track is a gentle reminder that it is okay to nourish ourselves in whatever ways we need most. . So, I hope you’ll listen to the recently released interview I mentioned above. It was recorded last week with Natalie Ross of @selfcareclubbb and @dreamfreedombeauty. And if you're doing pretty groovy right now, then this might be a good one to bookmark for a later date when you need a little reminder of just how and why to care for your sweet self. . . photo by the truly incomparable @lesliesatterfield
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I would love to know your thoughts about this topic. I know I have been rather personal here, and I promise that the blog will not be taken over by such "heavier" topics. However I wanted to share this realisation as it has played a huge role in my life, and it will doubtless colour the way I will be approaching my personal beauty care.

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