Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts
Friday, August 28, 2015

Clear Skin Tips: How to Prevent Cystic Breakouts

I'm sure many of you have experienced the wrath from the demons that are CYSTIC SPOTS! You know... the ones that are unpoppable (sorry!) and instead form hard, painful lumps under the skin and leave the surrounding area red and swollen. These little demons last for weeks, don't respond to topical spot treatments and then when they do go they leave behind dark pigmentation marks. 

What causes Cystic Breakouts?
I have researched this and there is no definite answer. Many Dermatologists believe that cystic spots are caused by hormones and an over production of sebum that leads to blocked pores. 

What is a Cystic Spot?
A Cystic Spot is a hard nodule beneath the skin that never reaches the skin's surface. When the oil gland becomes permeated in sebum, it swells and hardens. The gland then bursts which causes a cyst to form underneath the skin's surface.

I am definitely not a skin expert but I have been getting cystic cpots every few weeks for a number of years. As a result of a few simple changes I have not had a cystic breakout now in a few months which is unusual so I thought I would share with you what I have found to be helpful. I cannot give any advice when it comes to acne, however, the stunning Model, Makeup Artist and Blogger Tara O Farrell (Tara Makeup) has written an in depth blog post about her personal experience which you can read here.

Below is a list of things that have helped keep cystic spots at bay over the last few months!

1. Water, Water and more Water!
This one won't come as a shock to you. I've heard this countless times over the last few years and I'm only beginning to implement it now! Water flushes out all those nasty toxins that lead to ill effects on the body. Upping your H20 intake helps keep your skin looking hydrated, plump and glowing! Research has suggested that dehydration can affect the type of oil and sebum your skin produces which in turn leads to breakouts. If you're not convinced, aim to drink at least 1-2 litres of water a day for a few weeks and note the difference in your skin.

2. Ditch the Face Wipes
I used to swear by using Face Wipes to take my makeup off. Cheap and convenient however, they don't actually clean your face and instead push the makeup back into your pores. I know... it's quite disgusting when you think about it. Your love of face wipes is clogging your pores and leading to breakouts which doesn't actually make any sense when you think about it!? So, if you take one thing from this post then PLEASE DITCH THE FACE WIPES!

3. Double Cleanse in the morning AND single cleanse at night
Double cleansing ensures that your face is as makeup free as possible which means your pores are less likely to become clogged and you're less likely to have a breakout. It seems so disgusting now but I used to only cleanse at night and now realize it is essential to cleanse away the sweat and dead skin cells that accumulate as you sleep! In the evening the first cleanse acts as a makeup remover (pretty obvious I know) and it's best to use an oil, butter or micellar water to melt away your makeup. The second cleanse is to literally cleanse and nourish the skin once the make up is removed. Does it make more sense now? Caroline Hirons aka the Queen of Skincare talks about Double Cleansing here. If your budget doesn't stretch that far you can just the same cleanser for BOTH CLEANSES. In the morning you only have to cleanse once as there is no makeup on your face and you can use the first cleanser (oil, facial butter, micellar water).

4. Spot Clean your makeup brushes at least once a week
I'm not afraid to admit that I was slack when it came to washing my makeup brushes. They are a breeding ground for bacteria and it's disgusting to think that you're then wiping that ickiness all over your face on a daily basis *shivers*. Makeup brush cleaning always felt like such a time consuming task and my brushes took AGES to dry which was so off putting. However, the P.S Love Makeup Brush Cleaner from Penneys, €2.50, is so quick and handy to use every few days to give your brushes a quick spot clean if you don't have time to give them a deep cleanse with Johnson's Baby Shampoo and Water. Quickly spray them with the P.S Love Brush Cleaner, wipe them on an old towel until all the excess makeup is removed and you're good to go. Practically zero drying time so it's pretty AMAZING!

5. Vitamin C
Anyone who has experience with cystic breakouts will know that the post inflammatory pigmentation marks (purple/red marks that are left behind from the spots) take FOREVER to clear up. Topical creams and products containing Vitamin C will help lighten the pigmentation marks so that they don't linger on the skin as long as usual! The Body Shop do a fantastic and affordable Vitamin C range and if you love a bargain as much as I do then it is a third of the price on

I really hope this post was helpful and I didn't ramble too much! If you have any tips please share them in the comments.
Rachael O ♥
Saturday, June 6, 2015

Mac Fix+ Dupe: Nivea Refreshing Toner

If there is one product that I see Makeup Artists continuously use in tutorials it's Fix+ by Mac: "Helps create an even surface for a smooth makeup application." I've always been intrigued to see if it would make a difference to the finish of my makeup and when I found a dupe for it on Pinterest I had to give it a try. I picked up a bottle of the Nivea Refreshing Toner and also bought a travel sized spray bottle from Superdrug to transfer it into. 

Mac Fix+ and the Nivea Refreshing Toner are both water based products with similar ingredients such as glycerin and hydrogenated caster oil.
As I suffer from dry/dehydrated skin I find this so refreshing and hydrating to apply before makeup and after I set it so that it appears less "powdery."

Skin Refresher/ Finishing Mist NOT a setting spray. 
Spritz onto beauty blender before applying foundation for a more natural finish.
Spritz onto eyeshadow brush before applying baked/shimmer eyeshadows to give a more vibrant effect.
Spray after setting with powder so the powder sets into your skin and the finish is less "cakey".
Use with gel liner that has hardened in the pot to break up the product so that it will glide on easily.

The Nivea Refreshing Toner retails for €4.79 for 200ml in comparison to Mac Fix+ which costs around €18.50 for only 100ml.

If you have any makeup or skincare dupes I would love to hear them!
Rachael O 
Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How to clean your Beauty Blender

It is a well known fact that makeup brushes and applicators are a breeding ground for bacteria. Washing your brushes and sponges regularly can help prevent breakouts and is especially important for those that suffer from acne.

I find it relatively easy to clean my brushes with my Cinema Secrets brush cleaner and clean them routinely every week; you can read the post here. However, trying to wash my Real Techniques Complexion Sponge was a whole different story. I always found that it never felt completely clean and almost impossible to get those foundation stains to budge!

That was until I found a trick that kills bacteria, removes foundation stains and leaves your sponge looking and feeling fresh. If you want to find out what to do just watch the video below.

If you have any brush cleaning tips please share!
Rachael O 
Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How To Lose 5lbs in 5 Days

Even though it is well into January, the mountain of chocolate that is left over from Christmas continues to tempt me. However, a few days ago I decided to make some small changes in order to purge toxins from my body that have caused a post Christmas bulge. I honestly got a shock when I decided to weigh myself today and seen that I had lost 5lbs in the last 5 days.  I cannot guarantee this will work for everyone but this is the results that I maintained from introducing some of the things below.
Edited by Rachael O

1. Breakfast
I'm no expert but I think it's safe to say that if I miss breakfast then I'll reach for the nearest thing (usually full of sugar) come lunchtime. Or if I have a croissant or toast for breakfast, I'm usually starving by the time lunch comes around and I end up overeating. Recently I've been having porridge for breakfast with a handful of blueberries and a tiny drop of honey or cinnamon. This sets me up for the day and because it's so healthy it encourages me to continue eating healthy throughout the day.

2. Herbal Tea
I cannot stress how important this is and how many health benefits there are from drinking herbal tea. My favourites are Pure Green Tea with an added slice of lemon to boost metabolism and Peppermint Tea for the digestive system. "Skinny Tea" seems to be  circulating the media at the moment; However,  these brands are seriously over priced, contain laxatives (senna leaf) and aren't proven to have more health benefits than regular herbal tea.  I now start my day off with a cup of green before I have my daily coffee to rehydrate my body fist thing in the morning.

3. Water
I aim to drink 1-1.5L of water everyday. The health benefits to drinking water are numerous and often we mistake hunger for thirst. If I'm feeling hungry, I'll have a glass of water first and see how I feel afterwards instead of just grabbing something to eat. Water also aids digestion, flushes out toxins, gives you energy and prevents the body from retaining water,

I have always wanted to try Yoga and be more Zen-like but was always put off by the hassle of going to a gym class and the repetition of a Yoga DVD. Then I discovered Yoga With Adriene's 30 Days of Yoga which is free, convenient and can be found on her YouTube channel. I haven't been doing this religiously everyday but I try to do it most days and never go more than 3 days without exercise. I have always been quite flexible as a dancer but I haven't been as active lately and didn't realise how tense my muscles were. I can already notice a difference in tone and flexibility after a week. These videos are very easy to follow, especially for beginners, and for the more experienced Adriene goes back to basics. All you need is a Yoga mat and an internet connection!

5. Fruit & Veg
This is a no-brainer. If you load your body with phytonutrients, you will reap the benefits. Each type of Fruit and Vegetable has it's own unique set of disease fighting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to ensure your body is functioning at it's optimum. Fruit and Vegetables are naturally low in calories, convenient and a good source of fiber so they will keep you feeling fuller for longer. With so many varieties of fruit and vegetables there is always something new to try to keep things interesting and varied.

6. Supplements
These are important for giving your immune system an extra boost and ensuring you always get a daily dose of vitamins and minerals; This is especially important when your diet is not as well balanced as it should be. Supplements are not be a substitute for fruit and vegetables and should be taken to bridge the gap between what we do eat and what we should eat. I have been taking Juice Plus since November 2013 and have experienced so many advantages. The capsules contain 27 different types of organically grown and vine ripened fruit, vegetables and berries that are 100% absorbed by the body (unlike synthetic man made pharmacy brands).

7. Skipping
This is one of the best all over cardio, fat burning workouts that you can do. It is inexpensive and all you need to dedicate is 10 minutes a day 3-4 times a week. A ten minute skipping session is the equivalent to an 8 minute mile and 10 mintes has the same benefits as a 45 minute run. I swear by it!

If you have any tips I would love to hear them!
Rachael O 
Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Secrets to Good Skin

Identify your Skin Type
It's important to know if you have normal, dry, oily or combination skin so that you can use products that cater for your skin's needs. If you are unsure of your skin type then you can do the following to determine it:
Cleanse your face and wait an hour before applying any product and try not to touch your face.
Pay particular attention to your T-zone (forehead, nose, chin).
Normal: skin feels smooth with no oil or flaking in T-zone.
Oily: T-zone is quite oily.
Dry: skin feels tight and may appear flaky.
Combination: the t-zone is oily but the rest of the skin may feel quite dry.

Use a moisturiser with SPF
Even if it the weather is miserable and it seems overcast, your skin is always being subjected to sun damage. Using a moisturiser with SPF reduces harmful sun exposure that can cumulatively lead to premature ageing and skin cancer.

Exfoliate twice a week
This is a step that most people often  neglect to do and I've been guilty of it in the past also. Exfoliation is necessary to remove the dead skin cells that gather on the surface of the skin. If you don't do this often enough then the products you use will not be absorbed by the skin and will sit on the surface. However if you exfoliate too often or use a product that is too harsh then it can strip away the natural oils and cause excessive dryness, irritation, redness and sensitivity. To keep a balance you should aim to exfoliate twice a week.

Use a serum
A serum can improve the overall look of your complexion by bringing antioxidants to the skin, restoring cell growth and decreasing pore size.
If you have acne prone skin look for a serum containing L-ascorbic acid and retinol; for normal skin alpha lipoic and glycolic acids should be in the ingredient list. It is best to use a serum after you exfoliate and before you moisturise so that it sinks into the skin. Again, you don't need to use a serum on a daily basis but a few times a week or when your skin is looking dull and needs a boost.

Stay Hydrated
This one is simple: if you are hydrated on the inside then you will see the benefits on the outside, i.e your skin. Wrinkles and dark under eye circles will be less pronounced and you will be less likely to get spots as you are flushing the toxins from your body. People who suffer from dry, flaky skin will see the benefits of this quite quickly (talking from experience).

Antioxidants help to repair and prevent damage to the body's tissue. They also soak up harmful free radicals that lead to diseases and cause the skin to age. There are many facial products on the market that contain antioxidants but the best way of getting them is through fruit & veg. I've been taking Juice Plus for a year now and have noticed a big difference in my skin: it is brighter, my complexion is more even and I rarely have breakouts(went through a period of constantly getting those under the skin spots that are painful and leave a purple/red mark behind.)

This increases blood flow and circulation which in turn leads to healthy and vibrant skin. Sweating through exercise also rids the body of toxins that often lead to spots and breakouts. When you exercise your skin also produces more of it's natural oils which leads to healthy, glowing skin.

Remember: As you age, cell turnover can take anywhere from 35- 57 days.
So if you are trying out new skincare or taking supplements then it is likely that it will take this long for your skin to see the benefits.

- Rachael O 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday Tip: Hooded Eyes Do's & Dont's

Hooded eyes: when the skin on the upper lid hangs over the eyelid making them barely visible and the area under the brow bone is the most prominent.
Some of the most well known celebrities have hooded eyes but they use clever make up tricks to make their eyes appear wider.

Firstly, here are some examples of celebrities with hooded eyes:

L-R: Jennifer Lawrence, Blake Lively, Kate Moss, Gisele Bundchen

I have hooded eyes and some of the celebrities I found with this same eye shape came as a surprise; you would never think that their eyes appear small or quite closed off.  
The most important thing to be conscious of is whether to use:
- a white or black eyeliner
- matte or shimmer eyeshadows
Another important tip is knowing where to contour the eye; because the natural crease is hidden, you will barely be able to see any contour in this area. In effect, it will  just make the eye appear smaller.

Below is a picture of some hooded eye Do's & Dont's when it comes to applying eye makeup:

As you can see the right side appears brighter and more lifted whereas the left side looks puffy and droopy in comparison.

-Apply matte eyeshadow to form a crease above where the natural crease in the eye is.
-Tight line eyeliner on the upper rim of the eyelid and create a tiny flick at the edge to elongate the eye.
-Apply a shimmer neutral shadow to the space underneath the brow bone and on the inside corner of the eye.
-Wear white eyeliner on the bottom inside rim of the eye.

-Heavily line the eyelid as the limited space on the eyelid will appear even smaller.
-Apply shimmer eyeshadow to the space between the crease and the brow as this will make the eye look puffy.
-Wear a black eyeliner on the bottom inside rim of the eye.
-Apply a dark eyeshadow underneath the eye as it will drag everything down and cause it to look droopy.

If you want to see some tuitorials for people with hooded eyes, Stephanie Lange has some interesting and helpful videos.

I hope you learned something from this!

- Rachael O 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Highstreet Vs Highend: Highlighters (Benefit, No.7)

I've always loved the look of dewy, glowy skin even in Winter so it's no surprise that I've tried many highlighters. Benefit's High Beam and the Instant Radiance Highligher from No.7 are two of my absolute favourites but with two very different price points & applicators.

Highbeam by Benefit is a brush on highlighter in a nail polish type packaging. It is suitable for everyday wear but I prefer to keep it for going out as I find it that it is more iridescent than the No.7 one and is noticeably more glowy in photos. The only problem I have had with Highbeam is this: when I used to wear Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation it would cause the foundation underneath to come off/ leave a streak.
In contrast, the No.7 is a better price point and the crayon type applicator makes for a very easy and mess free application.

Where to apply: to tops of cheekbones in a C shape to outter edge of eyebrow. 

Suitable for all skin types even oily skin. For people with oily skin: make sure t-zone area (forehead, nose, chin) are have been powdered. 

Even though both of these highlighters are champagne in colour, the No.7 Instant Radiance will only suit fair skin tones wheras Highbeam is suitable for all fair- medium skin tones. For those with a dark complexion it is best to use a gold based highligher like Sunbeam from Benefit or the Instance Radiance Highlighter in the golden shade.

As much as I love the No.7 highlighter, Benefit's Highbeam is the winner for me.
If you have the budget then splash out on Highbeam but if not then you will no be disappointed by the  Instant Radiance Highlighter by No. 7 (you can't go wrong with €12.95!)

*Tip: if skin is looking dull and needs a boost then mix a tiny drop of highbeam with your foundation.

I hope that you found this post helpful if you are new to the world of highlighters. I would love to know what your favourite highlighter is?

Benefit Highbeam
No. 7 Instant Radiance Highlighter
- Rachael O