Tuesday, 30 September 2014

How to Rescue Your Chapped Nose

Thanks to my crappy immune system which overreacts to things it doesn't need to but still lets the germs in, I'm currently getting over a really bad cold, just in time for hay fever season. Having a nasty chapped nose is pretty normal for me, but I never really managed to work out a way of dealing with it quickly and effectively until recently. Here's my method, for getting over the evil red flakies ASAP without making it get worse.

Stage 1: Protect

When your skin is raw and inflamed, there's not much you can do except protect the skin to try to get it to heal faster. I apply moisturiser about 4 or 5 times a day during my sneezy period. My old favourite for this is Nivea Creme, which contains a host of nurturing ingredients like glycerin and lanolin alcohol, as well as hardcore occlusives to seal in moisture like microcrystalline wax and mineral oil. You essentially want something pretty neutral that will help your poor cracked skin keep water from escaping, and protect from bacteria, friction and dry air. A thick cream will stay on for longer - Vaseline and cold cream are also great for this.

I've been trying out La Roche-Posay Cicaplast as well, which I purchased in France for this very purpose. The formula contains madecassoside and panthenol, which have been shown to improve wound healing, and some zinc, copper and manganese compounds, which are antibacterial. There are two types - the classic Cicaplast, which is a silicone-rich gel, and Baume B5, which is a thick cream. Annoyingly, I think I like the Baume B5 better, and I only have a tiny sample tube of it. The classic Cicaplast feels like it might work better under make-up, but I'm yet to try that because I avoid make-up around my nose when I get sick (it all gets wiped off with tissues anyway).

Stage 2: Attack

Gently, that is. I don't even go near it while the skin is still tender at all, but once it feels like there's solid skin under the leathery exterior and there aren't any angry pink patches, I give the shedding a little nudge along with some gentle exfoliation.

This is one of the few cases where physical exfoliation is much, much better than chemical exfoliation. Your skin is still pretty fragile at this point so you want to go easy on the low pH chemical exfoliants, which can seep into tiny cracks and sting the crap out of your nose, and you want to avoid any harsh scrubs that will cause more damage and prolong healing time.

I use The Face Shop White Jewel Peeling Gel - peeling gels are some of the gentlest physical exfoliants around. Other gentle exfoliants include konjac sponges and microfiber cloths. I wouldn't recommend a grainy scrub, and I doubt it would do much good here anyway (be careful of grainy peeling gels as well, like Skinfood Pineapple Peeling Gel).

I take a tiny bit on the pads of my fingers and gently rub it in tiny circles on the rough bits - by gently, I mean I can barely feel my fingers on my skin. Don't succumb to the temptation to go hard, you'll regret it when your skin is crusted over for another week. After rinsing, immediately stick more protective cream on it. Repeat twice daily until skin is smooth and happy (it only takes about 2 days for me).


Sunday, 28 September 2014

ulta3 Lip and Cheek Tints - review and swatches

Aussie cult favourite budget brand ulta3 have just released three limited edition Lip and Cheek Tints ($5.95) as part of their Spring/Summer collection. I love creme blushes, so I was all over these!

Side note: The compacts have FULL SIZED MIRRORS. I've been whining for a while about how blushes these days rarely come with mirrors, so I am super pleased that the universe has heard my moaning!

There are three shades available:

Peach (top) - a light pink that would work best on someone pale
Pink (left) - a reddish pink that's a bit fluoro in the pan but goes on to give a pretty flushed colour
Nude (right) - brownish pink, gives natural looking colour

On me, Pink and Nude look great! Peach is a bit too light but would suit someone after something subtle.

When I first opened the compacts I was a bit worried - the tints have the texture of a lip gloss, which didn't seem promising for longevity or finish in a creme blush. My fears were put to rest when I tried them on my cheeks though. They're actually pretty pigmented, so a small dab is enough, and they give a dewy glow to your cheekbones if you leave them as-is. They also perform really well under powder if you're after matte! They last all day long. Yes! All the yes.

As a lip tint though, I found them a bit lacking - they cling to cracks and dry skin, and my lips are frequently dry and peeling so it's not a pretty look. It doesn't seem to do much in the way of tinting either. It acts like a pigmented lip gloss, that offers nothing in the way of hydration. I am a solid meh on this front.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Violet Box July and August 2014

I'm playing catch up with the subscription boxes that landed on my doorstep while I was away! Here are the two latest from Violet Box.

July Box

Skin & Co Truffle Therapy Serum - This is a moisturising serum laden with antioxidants. I'm glad it's here in time for summer, to soak up all the damaging free radicals from the sun.

Sukin Skin Purifying Facial Mask - There are two sachets of this mask in the box. It has a very promising-sounding formula, with kaolin and bentonite clays, rosehip and jojoba oils, and hydrating aloe vera. I'm looking forward to trying this one out!

KMS California Hair Play Molding Paste - I don't really use hardcore hair products, but a dab of this might be handy for smoothing down flyaways.

LAQA&Co Sheer Lip Lube Lipstick in Stranger Danger - This is a lip crayon, much like the Face of Australia ones from earlier this year. Stranger Danger is a bright pink shade but it's quite sheer and wearable, and very moisturising. The name is pretty hilarious too.

Dr Hauschka Lavender Sandalwood Calming Body Wash - This gentle body wash is the perfect size for overnight trips. I do love getting little samples of products, they're so handy!

So Susan Flutter Mascara - This had hyaluronic spheres, I'm not sure why, since water isn't really something eyelashes need for curling. I'm curious how well this will work.

Beyonce Rise fragrance sample - This wasn't listed on the insert, so it's just a little extra. I'm really impressed that they didn't list it as a product, since I know some other boxes would have counted it!

August Box

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The pHs of some AHA products

I have a little collection of AHA products now, and since I also have a bunch of pH strips lying around at home, I thought it'd be a good idea to test all the pHs out, since they're pretty important when it comes to choosing an AHA, and companies rarely state what they are.

If you can't remember, this post explains why the pH of AHA products is important.

Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner (reviewed previously) - pH 3-4. I'm kicking myself for not writing down the percentage of glycolic acid in the product when I asked a Neutrogena rep, but I remember it being effective.

Dr Lewinn's Purifying Toner - pH ~4.This has an unknown concentration of glycolic acid, but it's listed below phenoxyethanol and sorbic acid, two preservatives that are generally used at very low percentages (<3%), so I would assume it's not a great product if you're looking for an AHA exfoliant.

Paula's Choice 8% AHA Gel - pH 3-4, 8% glycolic acid.

Alpha-H Instant Facial (reviewed previously) - pH ~3, 10% glycolic acid (based on this tweet)

Neostrata Gel Plus (reviewed previously) - pH ~4, 15% glycolic acid. Because the % is so high, it can get away with a slightly higher pH and still be effective.

John Plunkett Glyco Peel - pH 3-4, 25% glycolic acid. The most concentrated glycolic acid in my stash. With the low pH and high %, it's not a product for the uninitiated!

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