Dehydrated skin is a common skin condition. You can even have dehydrated oily skin, that’s how far reaching it is. I suffer from dehydrated skin, so I know the schlep it takes to keep it hydrated (skin masks, sheet masks, serums, creams, mists). Dehydrated skin isn’t a good look. Have you ever seen a good looking prune?

Hyaluronic acid is key to maintaining hydrated skin, and Neutrogena’s new Hydro Boost contains a Hylauronic Gel Matrix to provide hydration.

Here’s what Neutrogena say about their new range:  “Forget moisturisation, start thinking hydration. NEW from Neutrogena®, Hydro Boost® is your complete hydration regime. For skin so hydrated and supple, it bounces back.”

Hydro Boost Cleanser Water Gel

If I use a cleanser that’s too harsh for my skin, it leaves it feeling tight. Not this one. It smells like a dream, foams up nicely and does a super job of cleaning my skin as step 2 in my double cleanse regime. All in all, it’s my favourite gel/foaming drugstore cleanser of all time and I will buy it for as long as they make it (or until another better one comes around). It’s my favourite for two reasons: price point (low) and quality (high). Available for around R100.

Hydro Boost Exfoliator Smoothing Gel

By now you all know that exfoliating is good for your skin. Every day there’s a build up of skin cells on your skin’s surface which can leave it looking dull and dry. Exfoliating gets rid of this old skin, revealing younger looking skin. Products also penetrate better when your skin is fresh. Whether your choice is chemical or physical, I love both and I keep this one from Neutrogena in the shower. It’s not the best in terms of exfoliating, but I like it because I use Drunk Elephant’s Babyfacial once a week (which is quite intense), Filorga’s Oxygen Peel in the morning and Dermafix’s Derma Polish, so this is just an in-betweener as well as a facial cleanser. I think I’ll carry on buying it for the shower. If you’re buying it for exfoliating purposes, you’ll be disappointed. Around R100. 

Hydro Boost City Shield Hydrating Lotion SPF 25

This sun cream is beautiful! It’s a pale blue, gel cream and smells just as gorgeous as the rest of the range. It goes on evenly and is kind and loving to my skin. Even though in my mind it’s a low factor of just 25, I use this when I know I’m not going in the sun that day. It’s not good enough for my sun days, but it’s an amazing and affordable sun care option for office days. Around R140.

I’m in love with this range. It definitely does provide more hydration and strips skin less, smells delightful and is so affordable. In my opinion, it lives up to all its claims. 

Hydro Boost Boost Gel Cream 

Only now starting to truly realise the importance of taking care of my neck and chest, I decided to pick this up for those areas. I don’t want to use my très expensive products on those larger areas because they can’t absorb product like your facial skin can. I apply it every morning and evening, and it really leaves my skin hydrated and supple. I really do like it. Apparently the Water Gel is also really good, so maybe I’ll pick that up next.

Update: I’ve started using this on my face and I freaking love it! I apply it after my essence and CE Ferulic and then apply sun cream. It hydrates my skin so well, my foundation never looks cakey and my skin is just happy. If you have dry skin and you haven’t tried it, go go go!

Available from Clicks (who are currently having a 3 for 2 promotion), Dis Chem and Foschini. 

For the longest time, I’ve been on the quest for perfect skin. I’ve tried countless creams, serums, exfoliators, masks and endless combinations.

I feel like I have finally cracked the skin code when it comes to what my skin truly needs.

I used to feel product overwhelm by the amount of products that ‘they’ say you need so I really appreciated an honest conversation that I had with Dr Xen Ludick from Skin Renewal. He advised a certain regime, which I’ll get to below, and I couldn’t be more happy ecstatic.

You know that feeling when you KNOW you should be doing something but aren’t? At the time, I was experiencing major guilt because even though I’m fair skinned and had been meaning to use sunscreen, I wasn’t using any!

Back to the conversation with Dr Ludick. He recommended these products in this order:

1. Skinceuticals C E Ferulic

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We have to protect our skins from more than just the sun. Our skins are made up of molecules. Molecules are made of atoms and atoms are made of pairs of electrons. Free radicals are unstable and consist of unpaired electrons. They damage the skin by trying to grab an extra electron from atoms in the skin. When atoms are taken away from molecules in the skin, it causes damage to our skin’s DNA that can speed up skin ageing. Antioxidants, such as beta carotene and vitamins C and E, help to clean up and neutralize free radicals

C E Ferulic contains a synergistic antioxidant combination of pure vitamin C, vitamin E, and  ferulic acid to enhance protection against environmental damage caused by free radicals. It helps neutralize free radicals induced by UVA/UVB, infrared radiation and ozone pollution, which may lead to visible signs of accelerated skin ageing. In addition C E Ferulic improves signs of ageing and photodamage, the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and the loss of firmness, while brightening skin’s complexion. Once absorbed, this vitamin C serum remains effective for a minimum of 72 hours. Paraben-free and ideal for normal, dry, and sensitive skin types.

skin5I use C E Ferulic after I use this amazing toner and after patting some essence onto my face. I drop 4 drops into the palm of my hand and apply it to my skin. It’s a brown liquid that reminds me of coffee (but it doesn’t contain caffeine). It’s a little sticky so I wait 2 minutes before I move on. Once I’ve applied it to my skin, I know that my face is protected from free radical damage and I happily move on to step 2. R2 120 for 30ml.

2. Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel

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Hyaluronic acid is consistently cited by beauty gurus and dermatologists alike as a skincare essential. My skin is dehydrated, and Dr Ludick pointed out that whilst my skin is dry, it needs moisture from water and not from oil. Hyaluronic acid works to keep every aspect of skin stable, safeguarded, and constantly renewed. It also has the amazing ability to attract and hold vast amounts of moisture for skin. Bingo! (While I agree with Dr Ludick, and have seen the proof, I still love facial oil, and sometimes I apply some after the B5 at night).

“Enriched with vitamin B5, Hydrating B5 Gel replenishes nutrients skin needs to feel smooth and appear younger. This oil free moisturiser gel contains hyaluronic acid, the body’s natural hydrator, to help bind moisture to the skin. Hydrating B5 Gel complements a daily moisturiser to provide extra hydration or can be used alone as an oil free moisturiser, an ideal moisturiser for acne prone skin.

skin5This power house leaves my skin feeling so soft and and smooth. It can be worn alone or underneath any moisturiser to boost its benefits and provides optimal hydration without clogging my pores. Even though I have dry skin, and it moisturises my skin so well, it’s ideal for all skin types as it’s oil free. It’s recommended for use with vitamin C skincare products, so makes complete sense to use it after the C E Ferulic. I love this Hydrating B5 Gel – it glides on and feels like I’m applying water directly to my face. It gives my skin the moisture that it needs, and with continued use, my skin has become less dry and more radiant. R1 258 for 30ml.

3. Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense Sunscreen

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Sun protection is another thing dermatologists swear by. Did you know that 37% of adult sun damage isn’t from the sun. It’s caused by radiation from computer screens and hairdryers and indoor lighting. Eeeek!

“Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 is a weightless fluid with 100% physical filters that effectively provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and is water resistant up to 40 minutes. This high protection zinc oxide sunscreen contains artemia salina, a plankton extract that increases skin’s resistance to UV- and heat-induced stress, and translucent color spheres that adapt to every skin tone for an even tone, radiant finish.

skin5There are two things I dislike about some sunscreens. One is the white cast that makes me look ghostly and two is the added oil that I don’t want because it tends to ruin my makeup. This tinted sunscreen magically adapts to the colour of my skin and dries to a lovely velvety matte finish without feeling overly drying. it’s basically a BB cream and sunscreen all in one. Who doesn’t love a multitasking product? It’s fragrance-free, wears well under makeup and the liquid formulation makes it super easy to apply. It instantly adds a shot of luminosity to my skin and never looks oily. It gives me complete physical resistance to UV and heat induced stress (computer screens, how do you like me now?). It’s paraben-free and is ideal for even the most sensitive skin. R535 for 50ml.

4. Skinceuticals Retinol 0.3

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Besides Hyaluronic Acid, dermatologists can’t get enough of retinoids. Retinoids work to speed up cell turnover by shedding skin quicker. Retinoids also minimize inflammation, keep your genes from mutating and stimulate collagen production.

“SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3 is highly concentrated night cream that helps to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation and acne. It helps to build collagen, minimises pore size, even skin tone, reduce blemishes that are associated with problematic skin. Suitable for all skin types except sensitive, red, rosacea-prone skins and people suffering from eczema or psoriasis.”

skin5I love how smooth and refined my skin looks after a few days of using this retinol. Skinceuticals’ retinol is seriously the best I’ve ever used, and if you’re new to retinol, this low dosage will be perfect for you. This is a fragrance-free cream that I use weekly and sometimes twice weekly. Remember that it increases sun sensitivity so only use it at night and then be sure to apply sunscreen the next day. R1 188 for 30ml.

5. Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Masque

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Skinceuticals Masque2

Sometimes my skin will get a bit upset and will be red or a bit dry in certain places. While my regular products usually work wonders for my skin, reactive skin doesn’t like skincare products with active ingredients as they can further irritate.

Phyto Corrective Masque contains highly-concentrated botanical extracts, a calming dipeptide, and hyaluronic acid to intensively soothe and replenish temporary skin reactivity. This intensive calming facial mask cools on contact, comforts skin sensitivity, and restores natural radiance and smoothness. Phyto Corrective Masque has been clinically tested post-procedure to effectively reduce visual redness and discomfort.”

skin5I use this gorgeous botanical treatment masque to soothe my skin after my Dermapen treatments, when my skin looks a bit harassed or as a weekly leave-on overnight hydrating treatment. When I wake up my skin is glowing! A little goes a long way – I literally need an amount no bigger than a size of a pea. This product is perfect to care for, soothe and hydrate my skin when it’s going through something. Read more about this wonder masque hereR995 for 60ml.

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Overall I am so happy and so impressed and, at the lack of sounding superficial, in love with my Skinceuticals products and at peace with my skin regime. I have no desire to switch to something else and adore the simplicity of it all. I love how every product works so synergistcally with the next. My skin has never looked better, and I’m completely confident that I’m giving it everything it needs.

If you’re looking for a brilliant skincare routine, why not try Skinceuticals? If you’re unsure about what products to choose, pop past a Skin Renewal branch and ask them for advice. If you’re worried about dropping a lot of cash, add a product one step at a time. Remember, a little goes a long way and these products contain quality ingredients. I think they’re worth it.

Available online here and here. Find your nearest available retail stockist here.

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Does your skin ever get angry for no apparent reason? I know that if I over-exfoliate and if I use a certain brand of retinol, my skin gets agitated. A reaction can be anything from redness and blotchiness to dullness or tightness and dehydration and if you pay close attention to your skin, you’ll see it happening.

WHAT’S THE CAUSE?

There’s no such thing as perfect skin if you live in a city with modern stresses. From external aggressors to post-procedure downtime, your skin can become temporarily reactive from a host of factors including sun exposure, chlorine/salt water, facial extractions, retinols/astringents, dry weather or pollution.

Sun exposure

I don’t have to tell you about the ageing effects that the sun can have on your skin. Being in the sun causes also your DNA to break down.

Pollution

If you live in a busy city like Jozi, you smoke 12-15 cigarettes a day! How gross is that? Pollutants create free radicals that strip the skin of barrier lipids, which help retain moisture and keep out dirt and other impurities. A compromised skin barrier can lead to increased skin sensitivity, discomfort and premature signs of skin aging, especially pigmentation issues.

Chlorine

A nice swim in a chlorinated pool can break down the surface layer of the skin making it susceptible to other aggressors.

Dryness

Dry climates suck moisture out of skin rendering it dehydrated and sensitive.

Basically, just living life can cause your skin to become sensitive. The good news is that skin reactivity is caused by external elements. The bad news is that reactive skin means that you have a compromised skin barrier. Your regular products might work wonders when your skin is calm and happy but may not be the best for your reactive skin. Irritated skin doesn’t like products containing active ingredients, as they can further irritate the skin.

Skinceuticals Masque2

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So, what to do when skin becomes reactive? Calm and soothe it with Skinceuticals’ Phyto Corrective Masque. This delightfully green masque has a silky smooth gel texture and is infused with botanical extracts of cucumber, sage and olive for comfort, a calming dipeptide to reduce heat sensitivity and hyaluronic acid for moisturisation. It delivers cooling comfort, reduces heat sensitivity, boosts hydration and gives immediate radiance.

After my recent Dermapen facial, I felt uncomfortable and a bit sore. Dr Ludick from Skin Renewal encouraged me to try the masque out after the facial, and I’m really glad he did. Immediately upon application, I felt soothing relief via its cooling action and can really attest to the fact that it has a cooling effect. It did tingle for 5 seconds, but is gentle on skin. I continued to use it over the next 48 hours as a healing, moisturising and soothing treatment and it worked brilliantly! I would recommend this to anyone who has Dermapen facials.

One interesting fact is that while anaesthetic masks pain, it doesn’t surpress heat or pressure. After you’ve had a Fraxel laser treatment, the skin burns and tingles. This mask helps to cool, as you can see below. A dermatologist-controlled split-face clinical study on was conducted on 30 female subjects where the Phyto Corrective Masque was applied to half of the face after a non-ablative fractional laser procedure. Overall, there was a 2.8° difference in skin surface temperature. That might not sound like a major difference but you can definitely feel the effects.

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Because this masque is so genius and so gentle, there are a number of different ways you could use it. You can use it daily as an oil-free moisturizer that really hydrates and soothes or as an overnight masque/moisturizer to provide 24 hour calming to sensitive skin. You could use it seasonally or weekly as an intensely hydrating soothing treatment masque, for sun burn, hormonal changes or cold weather exposure. You could also use it after any peels, extractions, radio frequency or Ultrasound.

I use it after my Dermapen treatments, when my skin looks a bit harassed or as a weekly leave-on overnight hydrating treatment. When I wake up my skin is seriously glowing! You gotta love a product that delivers what it says it will. Did I mention that a little goes a long way? There’s no way your 60ml pot will run out any time soon. The gel spreads so easily all over my face, and I literally need an amount no bigger than a size of a pea.

All in all I really love the fact that I have a product that cares for, soothes and hydrates my face all at the same time, and that I can use it for just about any skin irritation.

Available here from 1 November 2016 for a RRSP of R995 for 60ml.

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*This post was going to be entitled ‘The Best Moisture Mask Ever’, until I developed a weird bump under my right eye the day after I used this mask. I don’t know for sure if it was related, but I think it might have been. That makes me sad :(. I will just be using it less.*

I’m a bit obsessed with moisture masks because I have dry, dehydrated skin. We all know that dehydration can lead to fine lines and wrinkles, so I try to use a moisture mask at least 1 a week, going up to 3 times a week in winter. I tend to feel a bit claustrophobic with some moisture masks that suggest that you sleep with them on, and I’ve never really been a fan of that. Until now that is. I have found a super moisture mask and I can’t enough of it!

I ordered Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask because of the rave reviews it gets, and while I was on the Origins site, I checked out their Top 10 Best Sellers. Naturally, the Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask caught my eye with a write up like “This intense moisture replacement mask with Avocado and Apricot Kernel Oil deeply and instantly quenches compromised moisture reserves and builds a reservoir for tomorrow. Japanese Seaweed repairs skin’s barrier to prevent future dehydration and signs of premature aging.” I swiftly clicked ‘Add to Bag’ and couldn’t wait for my goodies to arrive.

Texture: It is a thick yellow creamy-gel formula that goes on clear. Once you apply the mask, it will be absorbed into your skin. You are supposed to tissue off any excess, but let the back of your hands do that job for you – that way they can benefit too and you won’t waste.

Scent: It has a beautiful fruity scent, but I always wonder why fragrance is a must-have since it it is linked to skin irritation. Nevertheless, this is one of my favourite product scents! Just writing this review now makes me want to use it!

Performance: It is the ultimate deep conditioner for your face, and contains one of my favourite ingredients, hyaluronic acid. I apply it after I wash my face, let it hang out on my skin while I read or watch an episode of New Girl and then remove the excess. My skin looks fresh, plump and radiant in the morning, with no dry or flaky skin in sight. I also have never had a breakout from this product, and that makes me really happy! It’s rare to find something that works perfectly with your skin. When my hands are super dry, I’ll also use this mask on them as a treat.

Price: R320 for 100ml

As you can tell, I highly recommend this moisture mask! If you suffer from dry and dehydrated skin, you will absolutely love this stuff! I love it so much, it has found a firm place in my Top 10 all time favourite products.

Unfortunately Origins isn’t available in S.A. and if you want to get your hands on this, you’ll have to ask family or friends traveling from the USA or the UK.

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I love Vichy. Like love. When I hear that there is a new Vichy product on the market, I get excited and wait in anticipation until I get the chance to try it out. My love affair with Vichy started in high school (my mom would get me the face cream and some other products I can’t even remember), and ever since then I’ve always known that Vichy was good stuff: luxurious and affordable skincare that delivers. Fast forward to 2014 and my love affair was reignited with the launch of Vichy’s Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Light Cream. Now, 2015 sees the launch of more products in this fabulous line that I love (Aqualia Thermal) with the Awakening Eye Balm and Night Spa.

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Aqualia Thermal Night Spa is a multipurpose product that can be used in one of two ways. The first is as a sleeping mask, as it  “infuses the skin with hydration overnight, when skin is most receptive to treatments. Skin is soft, soothed and supple by morning.” As a face mask. they suggest that you apply a thick layer to your face and neck and leave it on for 10-15 minutes so that the product has time to absorb into the skin. Once the time is up, remove any excess product with a cotton pad. The second way is to use it as a good ol’ facial moisturiser and is perfect if you have sensitive skin, need hydration, or if you suffer tightness or discomfort after you’ve finished washing your face.

TEXTURE: It is a beautiful, creamy, silky smooth enveloping cream-gel that has a gentle yet alluring pale blue colour. It is insanely smooth and feels literally like a whipped mixture of silk and heaven. It’s one of the most delicious things I’ve ever felt.

PERFORMANCE: Upon application, my face feels calmed, soothed, hydrated and loved. When I use retinol, my face peels slightly, and then breaks out in little pimples. Even thought it’s a bit fussy when it’s at that stage, I am still able to use Night Spa on my skin – so in addition to soothing, it doesn’t cause breakouts. I love using it and feel like it really hydrates my skin. (My secret is that I use Hydraluron as my serum, with Night Spa on top and I sleep with my humidifier on so that the hyaluronic acid can do its job and grab those water particles!). It says it’s suitable for all skin types, and I think it just might be because my skin can be quite iffy, but has loved this stuff.

OVER ALL THOUGHTS: It feels like a spa in a jar, and I really feel pampered when I use it. It hydrates my skin and it feels AMAAAZING.

Available for R420 (for a 75ml tub) at Dis-Chem, Clicks, Red Square, select pharmacies and retailers.

The Awakening Eye Balm is a eye balm which improves water circulation around the eye for a fresher look, all day long.

TEXTURE: It is soft and bluish, opaque and transparent, and ultra-light yet dense. When you start to apply, it suddenly “breaks” into water, melting under your fingertips as it transfers from a solid to a liquid state, to awaken eyes and rebalance water circulation.

PERFORMANCE: As soon as I apply it, my under eye skin is instantly smoothed and feels velvety.

Lets take a look at the ingredients…

  • It has a high concentration of glycerin (which I’m not so mad about), but which helps to retain water, maintaining the skin’s hydration levels
  • It contains 5% Vichy Thermal Spa Water with unique properties like soothing and calming
  • It has a powerful dynamic hydration complex composed of three sugars: Hyaluronic Acid, Aquabioryl and  λ-Carrageenans which fix the water in the skin and ensure more uniform hydration and
  • Caffeine with draining and decongestive properties, combating the formation of bags.

OVERALL THOUGHTS: I absolutely love this eye cream. I love the fact that it literally turns to water when you apply it,  I adore the fact that I can use it under my eye makeup (without rubbing off) and I really feel like it has a point of difference.

Available for R365 (15ml) at Dis-Chem, Clicks, Red Square, select pharmacies and retailers.