Don't Forget To Carve Yourself A Piece, Or The Secret To Almost Everything






   I wanted to share something that I discovered for myself recently. You know the phenomenon where you are trying hard to make the best use of your time, money or energy? To be thrifty or extra productive or eat only healthy stuff? For a while it goes great, and then something goes wrong. At the end of the super productive day you end up in a slump before the computer instead of going of to bed. Or you suddenly lose motivation and don't do anything useful for weeks. Or you splurge on something useless, or binge. Sometimes time, money and energy slips in little doses through the cracks -- you spend a surprising amount on small treats, sneak in empty calories several times a day, get seduced by the lure of social media or window shopping or conversations with people you don't even like -- and then wonder where the time has gone.

   It was when I was trying to plan my to-do list according the Six Selves of The Habits Of Highly Effective People that I had the realisation of what I was doing wrong. In short, you play several roles in life and it is recommended that you have at least two tasks for each role each week. On of the roles is called Sharpening The Saw, and it's all about rest and regeneration. And then it hit me -- on most days I wasn't actively planning anything fun for me. When I didn't plan something nice to do during the day, chances were higher that I would end up wasting time at the evening, usually at the computer, too tired to do anything that was actually fun.
  It's not a secret -- if you take breaks, you have better chances in sticking to your plan long-term, whatever that plan may be.

   I few days back I tried this theory out by taking around 45 minutes to read a book by a lake. It's just an urban lake and nothing exceptional, but I love lying on the wharf with a book, plus it's just a few minutes by bike from my home. (Being away from the house is also an important factor here -- I could focus completely on rest and not on the chores waiting to be done.) In the evening I felt satisfied with the day and didn't need to veg out in front of the computer. I went to bed at a reasonable time, and felt amazing the next day.

So, my theory is this. To make the best of my resources, I should plan:

* Me-time: no self-improvement, just pure fun or pure relaxation.
* Me-money: Again, pure enjoyment.
* Food I actually enjoy:  Good food. Guilt-free. Eaten mindfully.
* ?: What else is missing? I'll observe in the coming weeks.

Quality and regularity is quite important here. Not everything counts!

What loves you back?:

    Which activities do you genuinely like, and which ones make you actually feel better during and after? For example studies have shown that people watching TV are relaxed during, but afterwards they are just as stressed as before. Things that are touted as relaxing might not really be that much fun for everybody -- I don't really enjoy at-home-spas since taking care of my skin and hair bores the hell out of me (I just do it for the results, just like flossing). However it's really important to listen to your gut and observe what you really want and what is good to you. Don't let anybody tell you to go to the gym during your lunch break or read a challenging book when you'd much rather lie on a park bench or feed ducks.

   To find your activities for this time, ask yourself: what activities make you feel good both during and after? 

Quality:

  Quality wins over quantity, especially when it comes to spending money. It makes sense to decide how much money you have for personal fun each month, and to spend it on items from a well thought-out wish list. While saving up for months on pricier designer items might be some people's approach, it's not my thing -- I wouldn't want to have to wait so long, and besides that I might end up not liking / using the item as long as I think I would. Also, transient pleasures have their place too -- a bouquet of peonies from the flower market, some really nice chocolate, crafting supplies, an interesting magazine.

Rhythm:

   With time, it is really important to block off me-time each and every day, even just 20 minutes, but hopefully a bit more. I often take a bit of time off on my way back from work, to sit on the riverbank or have a coffee in my favourite cafe (or just the cafeteria) or sometimes to visit the current exhibition in an art gallery. When I plan the week I usually pick one day as me-day, where I plan in a bit more time.
You can't recompensate for work-packed months with a week or two on the beach, our bodies and minds don't work that way. Not even machines work that way.

   The hardest thing about caring out me-time and me-money is that you have to say no to other things and people. It might feel really self-indulgent and selfish. You need to realise two things: first, you'll probably manage the rest of your stuff better after you've carved out your piece first. You'll be more patient with the kids if you take time out for yourself; you'll be less inclined to impulse-buy if you plan a couple of special buys each month.
   Second, if you don't plan it, your subconscious will reclaim it anyway. Sooner or later you'll burn out, you'll lose motivation, the quality if yours work will go down, you will get grumpy and resentful. or you'll get sick because your body and mind will demand a break. You'll be tempted to splurge a bunch of cash just because the idea of doing something for yourself will sound so great.

For parents (or caretakers of elderly parents): 

    A friend who works as a therapist told me that stay-at-home-parents should spend a minimum of 6-8hours of personal free time a week outside the house (sans family) in order to recuperate and be happy at home. It is much harder to regenerate at home as it is simultaneously the work place, and one is constantly interrupted). So spending quality time with the family is also usually not "quality me-time".

 These are my musings on the topic so far. I have been trying to live according to  these thoughts in the past months, and I must say that I my mood is better and I feel more rested. If you'd like to share about hat your favourite mini-breaks are, let me know in the comments.




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My Two Step Method To Clean And Disinfect Cosmetic Containers





Apart from DIYing a lot of my own skin care, I sometimes decant purchased products into prettier (or more practical) bottles. For example I got aloe vera in liquid for in a plastic squeeze bottle, which I promptly decanted into a glass spray bottle. And I added a tiny little crystal to the bottom, because I read about in Into The Gloss and it sounded decadent. It clinks delicately when I use the aloe to mist my face.

For this puropose I often save containers that I find aesthetic or useful. It wasn't always easy to clean them thoroughly, especially if the product inside was heavy. After some trial and error I finally have the perfect method down pat.

Two Step Method For Cleaning Cosmetic Containers:


Step one: cleaning

The magic combination is baking soda + dishwashing liquid + hot water. Baking soda is a magical ingredient which easily binds fats and proteins, I have been cleaning everything with it recently. I pour some hot water into the container, add a dash of baking soda and dishwashing liquid, then shake vigorously and then leave it to stand for an hour or so. If it's a spritz bottle I pump a couple of times to make sure the tube is clean too. If there is any gunk around the neck of the container, it dab a little baking soda on a brush or cloth and clean. Then I rinse and let the water drip out.

Step two: disinfecting

Clean doesn't mean disinfected, and it's really important for cosmetic containers to be sterile if you are making a mix that could be a nice habitat for bacteria. I like to use alcohol, either rubbing alcohol or vodka. I pour a little into the bottle, shake really well, press the pump if there is one. Then I pour out the alcohol (usually on a cloth with which I then wipe the kitchen hood, it gets rid of the grease), and let the container dry. Voila, done! If I don't intend to use the container straight away, I often just leave the alcohol inside.
You can also disinfect glass containers and metal lids by pouring boiling water in them and letting it stand for a couple of minutes.





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Lets Discuss Lipstick Coverage: Sheer vs Opaque





A while back I fell deeply in love with this gorgeous shade of lipstick from this post. As I wasn't about to splash a ton of money on the original (and am not a huge fan of their ingredients which regularly get the bottom grades in Öko Test lab tests), I started swatching in the local stores. After a bit of searching, I found a really close match and I tried it on. It looked wrong. I didn't understand why, the model's skin, eye and hair colouring isn't that far from my own, and I can wear such shades in my clothes pretty well. So why wasn't the lipstick working? I went back to the post and one word caught my eye: sheer. The original lipstick was sheer. The one I tried on was opaque. This was something I had never considered when looking for lip products.

If you're reading this and going "duh", you can skip the rest of the post because you're obviously not a makeup rookie. And it would be really lovely if you'd share your opinion about opaque and sheer lip products in the comments! However if like me you are still figuring things out, here are some things to think about:

Sheer lipstick has several advantages: it allows your natural colour to peek through, which lightly adjust the product colour to your own colouring. It makes the lips look more three-dimensional and thus fuller. It also looks more natural and softer, because who has flat colour without variation anywhere on their skin? Sheer lipstick lets you get away with crazier shades and with sloppier application, like dabbing it on with your finger without a mirror. However sometimes sheer products can be too sheer, and end up being a layer of pinkish gloss. My two favourite kinds of sheer lip products are either lipsticks that aren't opaque but are layerable, for example the Catrice Ultimate Colour line, or lip tints like Benetint from Benefit.

Opaque lipstick, whether matte or not, will give you the colour that you see in the tube. When applied well, it can really make a statement. It covers any unevenness, whether a wonky shape or uneven colouring. Long-stay lipstick is almost always opaque. However opaque lipstick may not always look right on makeup-free skin, and does need careful application.

Are your lips heavily pigmented or not? If they are, you might find that you need recall opaque lipstick to get the colour you want. On the other hand sometimes all you need it a bit of very sheer product to make your natural colour pop.
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So what do you prefer? Sheer or opaque? Or do you love them all? Let me know in the comments!



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Little Ways To Be More Present In Your Body





Being present in my body and listening to it's needs has been a huge topic for me this year. If you take a moment to try to feel what you really need, you might be surprised!
Here are some ways you can take a few moments throughout the day to be more present in your body:

Stretch as soon as you wake up, like a cat or a small child. Enjoy the stretches, really feel them.

Apply body cream in slower, tender motions. Feel caressed.

Feel the softness of your hair around your face.

How does your face feel? Relax it. I found out I was going to sleep with a tense pinched-up expression.

When in the shower, take a moment to ask yourself how your body feels under the warm water?

Check in with your body a couple of times a day. Without judgement, just notice what is there: hunger, energy levels, itches, how your clothes feel.

Take a couple of deep breaths and actually feel the breaths. Stay with them for their entire duration, from start to finish.

Massage your feet or your ears. Instead of just concentrating on the act of massaging, feel how you are being massaged.

If you can, get a massage and try to stay present in your body throughout the experience (warning: you might cry, but if feels so good afterwards).

Try a guided body-scan meditation, especially before sleep. There are many apps out there that have short and simple ones.

Eat without distracting yourself with a book or the phone. If it feels boring, be curious about the boredom --if it feels uncomfortable, why?

Have a lovely day!




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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.




Queen:

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.





Devdas:

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.






Highway:

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.





Barfi:

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
Niacinamide
Azelaic Acid
Morus Alba (Mulberry) Root Extract and Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf (Bearberry) Extract
Alpha Arbutin
Tumeric
Kombucha
Sandalwood
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)
PHAs 
Glutonactone

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:  freestocks.org 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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