How Barefoot Shoes Improved My Posture And Strenghtened My Feet

Today I want to talk about how my barefoot sandals changed how I walk, improved my posture and strengthened my feet. After walking in them for the entire summer I'm absolutely addicted, and have neglected all the other shoes I own.
Before I start, I want to say that if you feel put-off by the, well, raw and organic look of the sandals I made, there are stylish options out there like these:

I haven't tried High Feels myself but have heard good things about them, but it was their creator Yamina who inspired my to try barefoot shoes (and I'd love to try High Feels, in case you are reading this Yamina). It was this video where Yamina talks about walking gracefully:

Oh and she does walk so gracefully. To those of you who don't speak German, here are her tips:

* Know where you are walking towards. I know this trick from theatre workshops, basically if you know exactly which spot you are walking towards, you automatically walk more harmonously. And funnily people get out of your way in crowded places.
* Lean slightly forward at the ankles and allow yourself fall to forward. So you push yourself off with the back foot and place the foot that swings forward falls under your body (and not in front of your body). (Better explanation here).
* Wear shoes that allow such ease of movement and don't force you to walk with a heel-strike. Barefoot shoes allow the foot to move the way it's supposed to. Yamina developed High Feels which are a chic version of traditional barefoot sandals.

After this video I was lusting after High Feels, and remembered that my husband had made himself a pair of Huarache barefoot sandals a couple of years back, and we still had the supplies in the closet. This is basically a type of sandal which the Huarache tribe has been using for centuries, and are popular among barefoot runners. There are tons of instructional videos and articles on how to make such barefoot sandals, and making such sandals is easy as long as you have a good tool to cut the leather. A good vegan alternative to leather is vibram soles.

After the first few days of wearing Huarache sandals I had tired muscles in my feet. I read that in regular shoes out feet are completely passive and don't do anything, and this additionally places strain on the knees and other joints. With barefoot walking your foot is active and adapts to the terrain you are walking on. After the first few days my foot muscles got much stronger and walking is an amazing new sensation. I love feeling the ground I'm walking on. The sandals also changed the way I walk and stand. First of all they force me to stand straight and activate my abdominal muscles and position my pelvis correctly. Since I have a pretty pronounced anterior pelvic tilt that I have been trying to fix since years, this is really amazing. I also learned to place my feet correctly on the ground. And to walk correctly, with the stride longer towards the back, like in Yamina's video.

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The amazing thing about barefoot sandals is that they give you immediate feedback if your stride is wrong, if you are doing anything unnatural with your feet or legs. This happened to me several times, the weirdest one was when I realised that I wore a hole in the sole of my right shoes, below the ball of my foot -- the left sole didn't show any wear at this spot, so I was perplexed. I couldn't pinpoint the cause, and finally someone on a forum told me that I was probably twisting my foot slightly every time I placed it on the ground. Bingo! I trained myself not to do that, and probably saved myself tons of joint troubles.

So probably you want to know how practical and comfortable the shoes are. After the initial adjustment period they are really comfortable. You might also want to experiment with the many ways of tying the shoes to find the one that is the most comfortable for your foot shape. My soles are 3mm thick and I can walk comfortably on sharp gravel, asphalt, grass and dirt roads. They soles mould to the foot, and then you feel as if were wearing almost nothing at all.

After the initial adjustment period I can walk in them without getting my feet dirty. I have a job where I dress for function and comfort, so I can wear them at work. So far I have only gotten compliments for them, even when I combined them with sun dresses. I went for nude coloured straps because they blend in with my skin, giving me a barefooted look. In my head I imagine it looks a little bit like Bardot in And God Created Woman. I wish.

I have worn the Huarache sandals almost every day since I made them in the spring, and if I happen to war other (comfortable) shoes for some reason I always miss the feeling of the solid ground beneath me and the springy step that I have in the barefoot sandals. I still haven't figured out my cold season strategy yet (closed barefoot shoes still have thin soles not really appropriate for very cold temperatures). 

Have any of you worn barefoot shoes? Or simply love walking barefoot whenever you can? (It's "in" and it's called earthing, apparently). Let me know!

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Reader Question: 10E/10F Aussie Looking For Bra Recommendations

S from Australia sent in this mail:
I came across your blog last November, measured myself (loose in the bust 92cm and below 76cm) and using the bra calculator got the size 10DD. I have migrated breast tissue under both arm, right side tissue is bigger than the left. When shopping I found 10DD could not hold migrated tissue and settled for 10E and 10F.  I have been using these bra last 7 months. Now my migrated tissues are again spilling out of bra and overall my breast looks spread sideways and flatter. 

* My current measurements- loose in the bust- 97cm, tightly below the bust 80cm
* a bit about breasts: tear-shaped, floppy, sagging, migrated breast tissue under both arms (right arm more).
* I live in Australia.
* if you are talking about a bra you tried on that fit or didn't fit you, please mention the size, brand and model (or at least cup style) currently using 10E and 10F, full figure bra, padded and not padded designs, Target brand. It is very difficult to find above D cup size and very limited choices. 
My questions are:
* Is this bra right fitting for me?
* Migrated breast tissue is again spilling out of bra. Will it ever move back? as per your blog, the migrated tissues moves back after a few months of using larger cup bra. 
* Can you suggest push up bra size and brand? I need push up for occasional use.

I cannot tell if the bra fits you correctly without seeing it, however I can try to give you some tips.
You mention that you wear full figure bras. I find that they are extremely unflattering for tear-shaped breasts and unfirm breasts. Usually the top stays empty even when the bottom is too full, and because of this women buy the wrong cup size because they feel that the cup is too big. It's possible that balconette style bras will look and fit much better, at any rate they work well with tear-shaped breasts.

Migrated tissue is an individual thing, depending on the specific body, the age of the woman, etc. In my experience during the first few weeks a lot of the migrated tissue goes back and women often go up a cup size or two; slower changes in the shape and consistency of the breast tissue can take place for several years.

You mentioned that migrated tissue is still spilling out of the bra. Is the cup big enough to contain this tissue when you scoop and swoop? Is the band snug enough to keep things in place? (to test this try on the bra backwards, with the cups on your back. Try to pull it away from your ribcage, it should not pull away more than a few centimetres.)
I don't have any experiences with Target, but if it's anything like supermarket bras in Germany then chances are that the bras have lost their shape after 7 months of wear and the band is looser than it was.
If you have no problem with ordering from abroad, I really recommend the Braologie Posture And Contour Bra, it's really amazing if you are dealing with breast tissue migration. It also gives great cleavage. Then of course I love Ewa Michalak, some of their bras have insertable pads, if you buy another set of them so that you can put two in each bra pocket you get nice cleavage. Another bra that is great for cleavage but without the negative effects on the breast tissue is the Gossard Superboost.

I am a bit stumped about recommending specific bras as I'm not quite sure what the market is like in Australia. Can you get British brands there? Are the shipping costs + taxes reasonable if you order online directly from the UK? Can readers from Australia please chime in with their bra recommendations?

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All About The Different Types Of Face Masks

All about face masks in skin care

Since masks are big right now, I decided it is high time to write a post about them. I'll loosely define a face mask as a treatment that you apply for a short period of time and then remove. I feel like masks got big because the rest of skin care has been getting really light -- moisturiser is expected to be light enough to go on under sunscreen and makeup, and many people even shy away from heavier night creams. So people whose skin needs much more reach for masks, and they tolerate heavy masks because they are meant to be washed off after twenty minutes.

Let's talk about the different types of masks. These categories are not exhaustive, it's just my way to orient myself among all the available products:

Cleansing masks:

Clays pull out dirt from the skin, and should not be allowed to dry out when on the face. There are many different types of clays out there, like the different Kaolin clays and my personal favourite Rhassoul. An oats mask is also cleansing but even gentler. Charcoal masks are also really popular, however I don't really see the point of using activated charcoal if it's already mixed with other stuff.
Then there are masks which are actually exfoliating products: peel-off masks and masks with exfoliating particles. Both are fine if they are gentle and don't scratch or tug at the skin.
It's important to clean off cleansing masks, I like to use a microfibre towel for that. Otherwise the clay (or whatever) can stay on the skin and make makeup look weird.

Hydroxy Acid Masks:

The ones with salicylic acid (BHA) do wonder for acne, blocked pores, and oily skin. The are often marketed as clarifying and anti-acne.
The effects of a mask with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and polyhdroxid acids (PHAs) depends on which exact hydroxy acid is in the mask (here is a great guide). If the concentration of the acid is low, the effect will more likely be brightening and moisturising, however anything with more than 10% acid will have an exfoliating effect. AHAs make the skin sensitive to the sun and so should always be followed by diligent sun protection, and should not be used in the summer. The only exception is the gentle mandeleic acid, which can be used all year round.

Hydrating masks and "treatment" masks:

The main ingredients here are humidifiers and emollients, they are meant to moisturise the skin and brighten it or counter ageing. Some aren't much more exciting than my regular moisturisers. Ingredients that I look for are algae, Q10, hyaluron and interesting plant extracts. I don't get excited about oils or aloe vera or honey because these I use on my face directly pretty often. If alcohol is among the top ingredients I run.
These masks are pretty similar to heavy moisturising creams. Personally I don't shy away from richer moisturisers so I use such  masks once in a while, when my skin needs and extra pick-me-up. Sometimes I use masks like these as a moisturiser in the winter. 

Sheet Masks

Sheet masks are very different from regular masks, because they are basically a way to keep liquids on the face for a longer time. To me the ingredients of many sheet masks are closer to those of serums -- meaning that they have a lot of active ingredients (that deal with various skin issues, or brighten it, etc), but usually aren't that good with dry skin. They are so popular because they are great for those in a hurry -- you don't need to wash them off.

The thing about masks is that they need a bit of time, so it's usually something you do over the weekend or so. Always start with clean skin. You can stack masks, starting with cleansing ones (apply these on clean skin), then following it up with another. Apply your masks on the neck and decoltee too!
If you are not really familiar with masks I suggest doing one at a time, so that if your skin is unhappy the next day (or very happy) you know which product is responsible. If you use DIY masks, I strongly recommend starting with one-ingredient masks and seeing how your skin reacts. Honey, yoghurt, chickpea flour and oatmeal are a great place to start.
You can also apply hydrating masks on drier parts of your face and cleansing ones on the areas which tend to break out.
The important last s

My favourite masks:

All kinds of clays, pure, which I mix either with just water or yoghurt.
Cattier argile masks
Weleda almond mask
Hauschka Revitalising mask
Martina Gebhart 7 herbs mask
Lavera vitalising mask
Luvos Hydro Maske
Logona purifying mint mask (only on impurities)
Madara brightening AHA peel mask (for the winter)
I've also heard really great things about the masks from Living Nature, but I haven't been able to get my hand on one.

What are your favourite masks? Let me know in the comments.

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Skin SOS After Too Much Sun: DIY

My friend saw me yesterday and went "You sunburned your feet?" Turns out I did, the tops of my feet any my heels. I also sunburned the back side of my armpits. I was trying to ride my bike as much as possible; and though I was diligent about applying sunscreen in all the obvious places I missed some non-obvious ones.

Anyway, this incident plus some other sunburn incidents this summer prompted me to share how to deal with sunburnt skin -- or just skin that is tired and thirsty after being too long in the sun.

Apres Sun Products:

I was trying to find out what is different about products marketed for use after sun exposure. The majority are moisturisers that don't (or should not) contain ingredients that are irritating or dry out the skin. Some include ingredients that give a calming or cooling feeling, like aloe, lots of water or mint. Finally, they should include an ingredient that are astringent (lightly constrict skin and thus reduce inflammation), analgesic (relieve pain) and are anti-inflammatory.

How to treat skin after too much sun exposure

Moisturise as much as possible, inside and out. If the skin is actually sunburned,  apply a compress of cold water as soon as you can. If you got a strong sunburn you might want to go to the doctor, or ask for advice at an apothecary. If you just got a mild sunburn or your skin is just generally irritated and dehydrated, you can try out the kitchen and herbal treatments that I described below. Obviously keep away from the sun in the next few days, and /or use a high SPF applied liberally (apply a layer, don't rub it in!)

DIY sunburn treatments:

These are mainly kitchen-shelf ingredients that you might already have

  • Aloe vera: cooling and soothing. Straight from the plant is best. If you are using a product out of a bottle, be sure it contains as little additives as possible.
  • Witch hazel (alcohol-free): Astringent and anti-inflammatory.
  • Baking soda: anti-inflammatory. Bath (1/2 teaspoon per bathtub) or compress.
  • Oatmeal paste: soothes and calms. I'd recommend adding a bit vinegar to it.
  • Raw honey: a great antiseptic. Do not mix this with vinegar or yogurt because it will kill the beneficial bacteria!
  • Cucumbers: they are analgesic (relieve pain). Apply slices or a paste (blended).
  • Yogurt: cools the skin, the enzymes speed up healing.
  • Green / black tea: steep two tea bags in hot water, let it cool down. Squeeze out the tea bags onto the sunburnt areas.
  • Sandalwood and turmeric paste: in Indian literature there are lots of descriptions of beautiful princesses applying sandalwood paste to soothe their love-fever. But really, according to Ayurveda these two ingredients cool and calms the skin. Diluted vinegar is a really amazing astringent, it can often turn red angry skin to a nice brown tan. (Bath or wash cloth compress)

Herbal infusions: 

I also found myself with a light sunburn after kayaking, and since I was in a tiny village I didn't have access to many product. In case you find yourself in a scenario like that, here are some plants that can ease sunburn.
The best way to use them is to make a hot infusion (basically a tea) by pouring hot water on it and waiting for it to cool, then applying the infusion with a cotton pad or spraying it on the skin. You can also cut up the leaves and let them soak in water (in the sun if possible). Such a cool brew takes time but less of the plant nutrients get destroyed in the process.
You can also make an infusion at the beginning of summer: ca 1 tablespoon herbs to one cup cider vinegar, let it steep for ca 6 weeks, then strain. It will keep for ca 6 months.
Remember to harvest in a sustainable way. If you don't have the equipment to make a tea you can crush the leaves and apply on the area.

Here are plants that are know to soothe sunburnt skin. 
  • Wild strawberry leaves
  • Yarrow -- the sunburn remedy of the Crow people
  • Calendula
  • Gumbo Limbo (Kamalamee) bark -- apparently this Bush tree is also called the Sunburned Tourists Tree
  • Rose petals and leaves: astringent.
  • Cottonwood bark
  • Blackberry
  • Alder
  • Elder (leaf, bark flower)
  • Linden flowers 
  • Chaparral
  • Prickly Pear cactus
  • Lavender
  • Rose petals
Obviously this list is very small, it is very likely that you have local plants where you live that are great against sunburn. If you know of any let me know in the comments. Also share with me how do you treat your skin after too much sun, do you have favourite products?

Photo credit: Christopher Roller via Unsplash

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DIY Bath Oils And The Water+Oil Method For Moisturising Your Body

Of all of the different ways I have tried to moisturise my dry body, the bath oil is absolutely the best. It leaves my skin oiled but not oily, and the effect lasts for days. In the summer this really calms my sun-parched legs and makes everything soft and supple. In the winter I go for heavier versions of this oil soak and come out of long hot baths with a lovely protective coating on my skin.
If you own a bathtub I'll be sharing my simple DIY recipe with you, if you are bath-less I'll share a way of doing this in the shower.

Combining oil with water works way better than oil alone -- on both skin and hair. The best way to do this is to pre-mix the oil and the water, and there are two ways of doing this: the primitive one is mixing oil and water and beating it with a whisk, like you would a salad sauce. The better way is mixing the oil with an emulsifier. An emulsifier is something that helps water and oil mix. It breaks up the oil into really tiny droplets that coat your skin evenly and don't make it feel greasy like when you apply oil straight onto the skin.
Emulsifiers are also the way to go if you want to use essential oils in your bath. When I was a young foolish girl I didn't know this and just added a couple of drops of a strong essential oil into the bathtub and stirred the water. The oil ended up on just one area, and it stung my skin.

I love baths, and when I don't have time for a real one I do a short half-baths with just enough water to cover most of me. When I add this oil mix it moisturises my skin like no other product does:

Bath Oil Mixture:

8 parts oil (I go for the cheaper stuff like sunflower oil, or use up whatever is starting to get old).
1 part emulsifier*
1 part or less essential oils (Optional. I like lavender, sandalwood and patchouli)
The contents of one punctured capsule vitamin E for extra moisturising.
*Most DIY cosmetic ingredient retailers sell emulsifiers, and I use one from BeHaWe because I can easily buy it in my city. Lecithin, guar  ones are especially gentle. Here is a nice overview of the different emulsifiers.
If you prefer to go the kitchen route, milk, aloe vera gel, castile soap and Epsom salts are lightly emulsifying.

I like to make a bigger batch of this and fill it into a bottle. I shake or whisk everything and pour it into the tub -- in the summer I use around two tablespoons but in the winter it can be half a cup. Add water, jump in and soak. You can also dip your hair in it if you plan to wash it afterwards, it is a great way to lightly oil it without overdoing it. After you come out of the bath it is a good idea to immediately rinse the tub with a blast of very hot water, otherwise the oil attracts soap scum.

If you don't own a bathtub then you can massage oil onto your skin before taking a warm shower. At the end I usually find that the oil has not completely absorbed into the skin, so I wash off the excess with a gentle soap or towel it off.
These bath oils make great gifts, especially if you know which scents the receiver likes. If you don't, you can't really go wrong with lavender for a relaxing bath or eucalyptus for a cold-relieving bath.

How do you moisturise your body? If you use oils, what is your preferred way of using them? Have you ever tried a bath oil?

Photo credit: Karla Alexander via Unsplash

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My favourite Beauty Tools: Eyelash Curler

I wanted to write a bit about my lash routine. I find that curling my lashes balances my eyes which are lightly hooded and slightly droopy. It opens up the eyes and works wonders if your eyes are small or deep-set. The lashes also look longer and because you can see more lash surface.
If I want to do a no-makeup look (or actually go without makeup, or skip the mascara because I expect to cry -- I cry during films and concerts)), I just curl your lashes and maybe run a little mascara through them (especially the ends) and tightline.

Lash curlers are one of the few products where I really suggest shopping around till you find the perfect one, and splurging a bit if needed.
The most important thing is that the lash curler has a rounded rubber/silicone pad. And there should be absolutely no sharp edges. Don't use the really cheap ones with plastic handles, as I've heard some horror stories of them breaking during curling.
Some recommendations are: MAC, Shu Uemura, Sephora, Revlon, Inglot and Kevyn Aucoin and Tweezerman. Shiseido is less curved and great for "flatter" eyes. The HM curlers are also great for bigger eyes with less curve.
Be careful with really cheap ones, often the rubber wears out really easily and has to be replaced -- and in many cases you can't buy just the rubbers so you need to replace the entire curler.. Another question is whether replacement rubbers are sold separately?

The correct way to curl your lashes is this: warm up your curler, I like to put mine on the heater in the winter and in my bar in the summer. It should be warm by the time you've done the rest of your face. You can also use a blow dryer, just don't make the curler too hot.
Curling the lashes right at the roots makes them look longer, curling them in the middle makes them look curlier. Depending on how your lashes are and what kind of effect you want to achieve, experiment with curling your lashes at the base, middle and end -- or all three. 
You need to pump a couple of times. How hard you need to press/pump depends on your eyelash curler -- the Shu has less springy rubber and doesn't need much pressure as the MAC, the HM needs quite a lot of the pressure as the curler is constructed a bit differently. You kind of need to test things out and see what works best on your lashes.
Finally, apply mascara, which helps to fix the curl.

Personally I own a MAC eyelash curler, which I bought secondhand. Before this I owned a cheap one from a German drugstore (I don't remember the brand) and I must say that the MAC is much better at curling and much gentler on the lashes.

Update: Evelyn emailed me with a great recommendation -- in Austrian DMs the brand s-he zone has a really good eyelash curler -- it is squarish with very soft and thick rubbers. Apparently Essence used to have a very similar one, marketed as a travel eyelash curler. She also mentions that you can find cheap replacement rubbers in the Müller, so I'm thinking that if the rubber pads of your eyelash curler wore out and the original brand doesn't sell replacements, it is absolutely worth a try to buy cheap rubber pads for the drugstore and see if they fit. Evelyn also mentions that waterproof mascara holds the curl much better than regular mascara, because the inside those oils don't make the hair droop like water does.

Also here is a really cool trick you can do. I tried it and it's much easier than it looks:

I've heard really good things about heated eyelash curlers, they are very practical for those with eyelashes that are really stubborn and don't hold the curl. Before buying read though reviews because some heat up too much.

Do you use eyelash curlers? What is your favourite one?

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How To Change The Growth Direction Of Unruly Eyebrow Hairs

This method is something that I tried out and has worked really well for me. I have pretty bushy eyebrows which I have to tweeze really often, but theg most irritating thing about them were a couple of hair near the center that would grow straight up, and a couple that would grow downwards. Cutting them was not a good look.

I remember reading somewhere about plucking in the direction of hair growth so that the hair wouldn't end up growing in random directions. I thought that logically the opposite should work too: pulling the hair in the direction you want it to grow in. So I tried it out and I have to say that it works. It does take a while though, I'm not sure how long because as soon as the hair started growing neatly along the brow line I completely forgot that they used to be unruly. I think that I did this for several growth cycles of the eyebrow hair before it worked, which is at least half a year.

To do this you need a a really good tweezer. I like the Solingen Mörser ones, but even here I have to examine each tweezer to make sure I get the one with the thinnest ends. The ends need to be perfectly smooth and thin so that you can easily grab the exact hair you want. If you want something really cheap, get the tiny penknife ones. You need to grab the hair near the root and slowly pull it in the direction you want it to grow in. You can completely pluck the hair out, or you can just pull for a bit.

You can speed up the process by brushing the eyebrows into the desired shape (outwards and slightly upwards) and using a product that will keep them in place.

Have you ever trained your eyebrows into growing the way you want them to? Or maybe messed up their growth through careless plucking? Let me know.

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Which Old Favourite Products Do I Still Love? (Bra + Beauty)

 I review a lot of stuff, many don't even make it into the blog because there aren't anything special. Some however turn out to be personal holy grails, which I quietly rebuy again ad again.

This bra has proven to be really sturdy, and looks really good after all the wear. The band was really very snug in the beginning and came with an extender, now that it has stretched I don't use the extender any more. This has really increased the life of the bra because as it stretches you have six rows of hooks you can work your way through. This is probably as close to a Buy-It-For-Life as a bra can get.
I like the feeling of encapsulation that it gives me, and I think that this bra is at least partially responsible for the fact that over the years my breast tissue has shifted more towards the center (my breasts used to be very far apart and I needed really wide underwires, but not any more). I haven't used the vest much because it's almost too much cleavage for my lifestyle.

I use this religiously, often combining it with other types of cleansing products. It removes all oil and makeup, and does not dry or irritate my skin.

Gosh Click n Conceal

This concealer from the Danish brand Gosh lasts ages. It goes on easily -- I always have problems with applying other concealers smoothly, and doesn't budge or crawl into creases.Unfortunately I can't buy it in Germany, so I stock up when I'm abroad. Fortunately one pen lasts for a very long time.

I still haven't found a better colouring Henna. One thing I did learn though is that colour releasing is very different across brands, and in the case of Khadi I get best results if I mix it with cool water and let it stand for ca 12 hours, or I mix it with very hot water and use as soon as it is cool enough (in the second scenario I need to blast my hennaed hair with a hair dryer every half an hour to make sure that the henna keeps on releasing it's dye).

Still the best way to get my skin really smooth. I always take both with me in the sauna, it's also a staple gift.

This product is amazing when it comes to mattifying just about anything. It's a great primer and a great finishing powder.

I do this every six months or so. It usually takes 2-3 sessions will my teeth are nice and white again.

I'm actually pretty surprised I haven't broken the big one. I love how it's really gentle and smooth, and I don't use anything else apart from my fingers to comb my hair. I lost the small one which made me pretty sad, I replaced it with a similar one from the Hercules Sägemann line from Müller. I used it for my bangs. DM also has the nice plastic-free Ebelin Nature combs.

If there is any other older product you'd like to ask about, let me know in the comments.

Photo credit: Rachel Walker

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Perfect Mineral Nano-Free Sunscreen: Alga Maris Tinted SPF 30

 My standards for sunscreen are pretty high: purely mineral, free from nano-particles, with no or little alcohol, must not make my skin look white. Especially the last point is difficult: my skin is warm and I am not pale, so I often read review that a certain product leaves barely and white traces and then I'm sorely disappointed. I also like my sunscreen to contain zinc oxide, as this is the only thing that gives protection from the full UVA spectrum.

    For anyone who hasn't been following my sunscreen journey: I avoid chemical sunscreens because they are often not photostable and may react with other products on your skin, they are not immediately effective, apart from Avobenzone they don't offer protection from UVA, and some ingredients work similar to hormones in our body. Mineral sunscreen doesn't have to be reapplied every two hours if you don't rub it off, and usually offers better UVA protection. I stay away from nano-sized ingredients since they penetrate into the blood stream and there is still way too little research about the effect of that. Also, nano-sized particles offer worse UVA protection. This paper is very interesting if you want an insight into the pros and cons of mineral ingredients and nano-particles, it especially highlights the fact that there haven't been enough studies on the subject. I imagine that in the next couple of years new research will change what we know about sunscreen. 

My favourite sunscreen so far is Kimberly Sayer. The only disadvantage is that it doesn't stay put when I sweat. Anyway, I wanted to expand my choices and have been testing out many other products: almost everything from the Eco Cosmetics range, Melvita ProSun SPF 50 and the Biosolis Extreme Fluid 50+ which you have seen on Facebook. I decided not to write a detailed review post on each since none turned out to be my holy grail. The Eco Cosmetics SPF 30 (tinted) worked pretty well as long as I used something to mattify it (Hide-A-Pore from Sweetscents is perfect). Everything else took a powder and foundation to look presentable because they are all either really white or a very cool beige, which might work well for some people but not on my warm skin tone. They all need to be mattified. Apart from that not all of the Eco Cosmetics provide full-spectrum protection.
The Biosolis Extreme Fluid 50+ has the advantage of being scent-free and very affordable, plus it is full-spectrum, and it's quite affordable.
The Melvita ProSun SPF 50 is a blueish white which is very noticeable on my skin. The scent is rather heavy. It is full-spectrum.
 All of these are going to be applied on my body, hands, kids and paler friends.

It blends almost perfectly with my skin

Alga Maris Creme Solaire Teintee SPF 30 review:

This sunscreen blew me away with how good it is. First of all: no white cast and no greasiness! It looks like a light foundation or a BB cream. The finish is creamy matte, it evens out the skin colour but does not provide a lot of coverage. It glides on really easily and is easy to blend, and once it has set (around 5 minutes) it does not gather in the creases of the skin. The ingredient responsible for the pretty satiny finish is silica. Other than that the sunscreen contains aloe vera and algae extract, so it has some skin care benefits.
On to its properties as sun protection: the Alga Maris tinted sunscreen provides full-spectrum coverage, the titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are micronised but not nano. There is no alcohol, so it doesn't dry me out. It has not broken me out or blocked my pores. The product is water resistant which is perfect since in the summer I sweat when I'm on my bike.
The scent is a bit coconutish, but it disperses after a bit -- I can't smell it on me after a while, though normally I'm really sensitive to smells. Some reviewers don't like the smell, however since we aren't exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to good physical sunscreen I'd say it is a minor issue. If the scent bothers you, apparently the SPF 50 from the same brad is unscented.

I wear it over a bit of concealer, and usually wear a bit of bronzer or blush on the top, otherwise the skin can look a bit flat. If you have oily skin, I'd suggest using a starch-based powder below (or even a dusting of pure cornstarch or rice powder or arrowroot starch) below the sunscreen. The Alga Maris sunscreen evens out my skin tone and lightly cancels out the redness, so I don't feel the need of wearing foundation over it.

The Alga Maris sunscreen comes in three shades: white, tinted-light and tinted-dark. I chose the light one which isn't that light -- it leans warm and I'd call it light-medium. The dark one is probably meant for persons with brown skin. If you feel that you are in between shades, you can mix them together. Greenconscience not only swatched of all of shades of the Alga Maris sunscreen, but experimented with mixing them (on the bottom).  I don't normally advocate mixing sunscreen but in this case it is the exact same product just with different colours.

The Alga Maris SPF 30 is certified organic and vegan. 

The bottom line: Personally I can't find fault with this sunscreen, it's everything I have wished for. However it would be great if the brand came out with a cooler tint as well as an unscented version.

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Weekend Reads + A Couple Of Questions

* As soon as the lilac blossom, I'm going to make this lilac oil infusion. Somewhere else I read that you should let the flowers wilt a bit first, so that they contain less water.

* Very interesting read on gratefulness and offering up one's identity.

* Beautiful styling ideas for your windowsills.

* Great thrift store shopping tips.

* Cute ways to customise your sunglasses.

* For simple make-up looks I love Violette's channel. As she applies her make-up at the back of a car or a cafe using her fingers to blend, you wouldn't guess that she is actually a pretty big professional make-up artist. Plus her voice is so amazingly soothing.

Finally I have a big favour to ask of you: please take a few minutes to answer a couple of questions. They will really help me. Thanks!!!!

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