It doesn’t look like much from the street, but wander up the stairs to Belinda Hughes’ new South Yarra skin clinic and you suddenly find yourself in a timber-floored Zen palace. The white-washed walls, leafy outlook windows, and a soothing meditation soundtrack massages its way into your brain.
It’s the latest bricks and mortar venture from celebrated beauty blogger Belinda Hughes (aka the Natural Beauty Expert), as well as the only 100% organic skin clinic in South Yarra. Think of it more as a holistic beauty and wellness centre; a place for your monthly facial where you can learn about your skin, get a naturopath referral (Belinda has a few choice contacts she recommends) or grab a bottle of moisturizer from the carefully selected products on display…
Why would a beauty therapist tell you to stop buying skincare?!
Almost every client that comes to me tells me how they have a cupboard full of stuff they barely use or alternate and are frustrated with how their skin not improving. Because of this wasted money they also feel reluctant to purchase more product, even though their current products aren’t working. I totally get it.
I would love it if no woman had to waste another cent on inappropriate, ineffective skincare ever again. Unfortunately big cosmetics producers with big marketing budgets suck us in with those shiny cosmetic counters and bright lights time and again. Not to mention your co-worker, mothers group friend or neighbor peddling the latest ‘miracle cream’ from home, but that’s another blog.
We’re flooded with information but have little to zero guidance on what is best for our skin.
So what are we supposed to do?
Firstly, always get professional advice from your local beauty therapist. Skin clinics have products with a higher percentage of active ingredients that actually achieve results in the skin. Also a beauty therapist is trained to look at your skin and give you the right match of product on your skin. Going to get advice for your oily skin usually results in sales assistants directing you to the ‘oily skin’ ranges, when in fact your skin could actually be dehydrated, and only a skilled therapist with a diploma in skin science can pick this. Without these expertise to properly diagnose your skin, the recommendations are a guess at best.
The good news is with the correct guidance it’s not hard to turn skin around in a short amount of time. Simply adding in a potent vitamin serum or getting onto the correct basics (cleanser + moisturizer) skin starts to correct itself in a week or two. Combine this with a professional facial to clean and kick start your skin and you’re in business.
Clients are always amazed at how easy it is to achieve great skin after just a few weeks. The only secret is finding the right advice.
Will it cost me the earth?
Going to a professional skin therapist is daunting. Paying for a facial service and professional product must cost more than going to the beauty counter, right? No! You will SAVE money. Yes paying for a service is extra on top of product, but how much are you paying for product that doesn’t do anything? Counter cosmetics can cost anywhere from $60-$300 for a moisturizer, and only contain 10% or less active ingredients. That’s a lot of money for a jar of water, fillers and perfume.
Professional cosmetics can start as little as $35 and go up to around $110 on average. This is for basic moisturizers and professional strength serums that make a real change to the skin in a few weeks. Professional cosmetic contain upwards of 80% active ingredients. That’s a massive difference in price to performance. Plus the bonus is a professional has looked at your skin and given you exactly what you need. No more guessing!
So after reading this I hope I’ve empowered you to get a skincare routine that works so you can stop wasting money on cosmetics.
We’ve been known to sip on a Matcha latte, enjoy a Matcha breakfast bowl, nosh on a Matcha bar and even indulge in a Matcha burger but this week
We trialled the magical green tea powder in a completely new way; a Matcha facial!
Natural Beauty Expert, Belinda Hughes, has just introduced the new treatment to her South Yarra clinic and explained “Matcha is a green tea superfood full of antioxidants for skin brightening and anti aging. It’s proving to be just as popular in facials as it is in many Melbourne cafes.”We were intrigued and I was lucky enough to be one of the first to try it!
Everyone’s heard of professional facial treatments.
But what does a facial actually do? Are they worth it? Will you end up having a Samantha experience (SATC style)?
In the hands of an experienced professional they are necessary, non-invasive and totally worth it. Let me explain how.
Even being religious with your routine isn’t enough to get all the makeup, dirt and congestion that build up over time. Often I will be getting old makeup out of a clients skin even after the professional exfoliation.
Clean skin also equals healthy skin. Less congestion allows the skin to function as it needs to, prevents pores from stretching and even appear smaller and makes your routine of serums and moisturizers penetrate and be more effective.
Infusing your skin deeply with vitamins and nutrients is just as important as clearing the way for them. With the advancement in technology in professional use only masks they now not just detox, but calm, soothe, plump and feed skin like never before. When you combine latest organic technology with traditional beauty methods like galvanic infusion and micro current the results can be spectacular in just one hour. Hello healthy skin!
More than a beauty counter
Nothing beats the advice you get from a trained professional with professional skin care. Unfortunately well meaning sales ladies on the beauty counters are often not qualified in skin physiology and anatomy and their job is to sell you the latest cream released whether it’s suitable for your skin or not.
A beauty or dermal therapist however can thoroughly assess your skin and make recommendations based around their years of training and experience. This will create a bespoke program of professional treatments and home care (and how to use it) designed just for you. This is only available from a trained therapist.
A really good therapist should be able to make suggestions about what’s going on more than skin deep. Hormonal imbalance showing up as adult acne or a disrupted digestive system creating painful sensitivities need more than just a facial service. Your therapist should know where to refer you if they are not working with an in house practitioner. Often therapists will partner with a nearby trusted practitioner; these referrals are invaluable for painful skin conditions that need balancing from the inside.
Great skin happens by appointment
I recommend to my clients monthly facials for optimum skin health. Each appointment is tailored to your skins needs that month. Courses are also available so you can set your appointments, never miss a skin appointment again.
Beauty comes from the inside; a great organic skincare routine backs it up.
Skin nutrition 101:
You will notice the abundance of omega 3 rich foods, anti-bacteria and nutrient dense foods. Our cells are made up of fatty tissue to keep cells plump and healthy, this is exactly what you want for healthy skin leading to reduced wrinkle depth and healthy skin tone.
Here are my 10 beauty food essentials (I eat most of these foods daily or weekly) for glowing skin.
Omega3s are essential fatty acids that protect your skin cell membranes. They make your fatty layer under your skin firm and plump, which reduces lines depth. The best fatty fish are salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovies.
Full of essential fatty acids again to maintain skin elasticity and collagen production, keeping skin hydrated and firm. Coconut water is full of electrolytes, which boosts hydration levels.
Rich in Omega 3s (see a theme here) avocados have all the plumping effects for the skin. The oil in a face blend has vitamins A, D and E, which are the building blocks for the skin as well as helping to even out skin tone. They’re also a great hormonal balancing food if you have adult acne.
One of eggs key nutrients is sulfur, which helps everything from liver function to vitamin B absorption. Sulfur is also necessary for the production of collagen and keratin, which help create and maintain shiny hair, strong nails and glowing skin.
Truly one of nature’s best medicines, garlic also helps prevent breakouts and maintain clear skin. To make the most of its naturally antibiotic compounds, it’s best to crush or chop garlic and leave it on the cutting board for a few minutes before cooking.
Tomatoes contain a phytochemical called lycopene. It boost colleen levels in the skin and helps the skin protect itself from UV damage. Full of vitamin C they help revive dull, tired, skin and help prevent acne.
Full of vitamin C and an enzyme called bromelain, pineapple is a great skin softener. It helps the body produce collagen and the amino acids assist which aid in cell and tissue repair for a youthful appearance.
Very high in zinc they are a hair and skin super food which help the growth and function of skin cells. Half a dozen oysters will give you 500% of your daily requirement.
High in Omega3 and 6 fatty acids they help the body retain moisture. The protein component helps boost hair making it fuller and stronger.
Not just good for your muscles, spinach is a major anti ager. Rich in Beta-carotene it converts to a powerful vitamin A. This is crucial to maintain proper moisture retention to the epidermis, helping to prevent wrinkles and remove dead skin. For maximum absorption pair it with a vitamin C like lemon. A squeeze over your salad will help you reap maximum benefits.
Book a consultation to discuss a great organic skincare routine today:
Also known as “hormonal acne” it can be very frustrating to treat, especially if you don’t have oily skin and thought your spotty teenage years were behind you.
How to know if it is hormonal acne
The breakouts will typically appear on the chin and jaw line and probably coincide with you period.
Type of breakout:
The breakout will usually be deep, take a long time to come to a head (if at all) and be sore to touch. These cystic type breakouts can lead to scarring in the skin.
If you breakout gets worse changing birth control, or going off it, then it’s hormonal related. Other things that can affect your hormones and cause breakout are diet and stress. Sugar is huge acne trigger. Stress messes with our cortisol levels and therefore our hormones.
Treatment can be confusing because often our first response is to ‘dry out’ our acne even if we have dry skin. Stripping your skin with too much washing is the worst thing you can do for hormonal acne. When you strip the skin of its natural oils it becomes tight and dry. To protect itself the skin then starts to produce more oil, which in turn creates more acne and sensitivities. Avoiding this vicious cycle is key to getting on top of acne skin.
These are our top tips for caring for a hormonal acne skin
Use a mild cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin. It’s important to keep your natural oils balanced while cleaning mildly.
You still need to kill the p bacteria causing the acne. A chemical exfoliation like salicylic acid (derived from Willowbark) is great for getting into the skin to kill bacteria and unclog pores without scratching the surface. If your acne hasn’t come to a head an exfoliant that doubles as a mask with gentle clay to draw out bacteria is also a great choice.
Often serums will have the essential ingredient needed to treat these tricky conditions. Serums are your vitamin shot and when trying to balance disrupted skin should not be skipped. Using a great professional serum morning and night will greatly improve your skins condition.
It is important to moisturize still. Not moisturizing will lead to the skin becoming too dry and over producing oil again. Using the correct serum for your skin type is very important. Using a normal day moisturizer is fine to balance your skin and will not lead to extra acne. Using a moisturizer in the evening that contains a mild AHA is also great for keeping skin clean and helping to clear stubborn acne. Think of it as your over night skin trainer.
Using a spot cream will help current breakouts. Looking for antibacterial ingredients like tea tree oil can be highly effective at letting the blemish heal. A great spot treatment won’t just dry out a spot but contain anti-inflammatory ingredients that will work like magic to help spots disappear within 48 hours.
Take a Pro-biotic
Having a healthy gut will help your body balance out your hormones. Treating the condition internally as well will go a long way in preventing future breakouts.
Seek professional help
Seeing a qualified natural health practitioner will go a long way to help you heal your hormonal imbalance. They can test for food intolerances that may be contributing to the imbalance and prescribe herbs to assist the body to heal.
Additionally it is also helpful to speak to a professional beauty therapist about a course of peels to give the skin a great clean out, heal any scarring and create a fresh start for your skin in a controlled environment.
Stress is a huge contributor to hormonal acne. Taking some serious time out to chill will greatly increase your chances of balancing your hormones out again, plus healing your acne at the same time! Try creating a spa experience in your home with beautiful bath salts, body washes and creams.
Blocked pores, blocked skin, uneven texture and white heads are all signs of congested skin. Not all congestion is created equally.
Blackheads are actually blocked pores where the oil has oxidized and created a plug trapping the oil and dirt.
Milia (white heads) are small deposits of cholesterol trapped under the skins surface, most commonly found around the eye area.
There are many factors that contribute to congestion and breakouts:
Oil – The oil that your skin naturally produces can clog and get trapped under the surface. Especially if there is an excess of oil that isn’t flowing freely through the pore this will lead to clogging.
Dead skin cells – If your skin is sluggish, cell turn over can slow down. These cells then get trapped in pores and congeal with the excess oil. This is the biggest contributor to blackheads in pores.
p-bacteria – The bacteria that causes acne is called p-bacteria. Without these bacteria acne doesn’t form. Oil flow alone does not cause acne; you have oily skin that is still clear.
Pollution and waste – Living in an urban environment we are constantly assaulted with pollution and dirt that fly’s through the air. Protecting our skin as much as possible still doesn’t prevent every bit of dirt adhering to our skin and adding to the congestion.
Makeup – If you’re not using a mineral makeup that allows your skin to breathe then it can often suffocate your skin adding to oil and causing congestion. Makeup tends to get embedded into the skin making it feel bumpy under the surface. Without a thorough exfoliation this can be hard to shift.
Pores – Often the focus of congested skin. They are often stretched by excess oil and dirt making them appear larger. Keep the skin clean and in great condition will help refine them.
So what’s the best way to reduce congestion on the skin?
Keep a great cleansing routine
Be diligent about your cleansing morning and night. Always wash your makeup off at night and then cleanse the skin again to get it clean. Using a natural non-stripping cleanser won’t irritate the skin or cause more oil to be produced.
Congested skin is sluggish and cells find it harder to shed properly, getting trapped. Exfoliating regularly, 2-3 times a week is necessary to keep the skin clear of excess cells sitting on the surface. This will also lift any excess makeup embedded in the skin.
Use a light moisturiser
Keeping the skin lightly hydrated is essential. Without enough hydration the skin will produce more oil and become sensitized. But if your moisturizer is too heavy then it will start to clog. Choosing a non comedogenic moisturizer with a base of Jojoba oil will allow your skin breathe and feel balanced throughout the day.
Wear mineral makeup
Simply switching your makeup to be mineral based will make a big difference to your skin. Traditional makeup can be full of silicon and mineral oils that suffocate the skin. Minerals allow the skin to breath and don’t congest the skin. They are easily washed off with your cleansing routine without leaving traces of dirt.
Diet and lifestyle
Having a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water to flush out your system really helps. Sugar is the biggest contributor to acne as the body tries to detox itself through the skin. Keeping a diet high in fresh produce will keep your body free of toxins that will eventually make their out, often via your skin.
Need a deep clean? Book an organic facial today to kickstart your routine:
So you’ve been doing healthy living for a while now and have decided to take the step and clean up your personal care as well.
It can be tricky and over whelming on where to start, especially with the minefield of ‘green washed’ products out there.
Here are some tips to get you started:
Start by doing some research. There are plenty of online natural beauty retailers where you can start reading advice and looking up multiple brands in the one location. These online stores also offer filters by skin type and condition so you can start to get to know which brands and products may work best for your skin. There are also some natural beauty stores staring to pop up, and health food stores are offering more and more sophisticated natural beauty brands and can give advice as well.
Talk to people in the stores that stock these brands. They can give you more in depth-personalized information face to face. Some online stores also offer an online chat service for any questions you may have.
Most stores will offer sample packs or individual samples. This will give you a feel for the product before you commit to buying. Some brands offer starter sets as well for certain skin types. This will give you at least a few weeks of trailing the brand without committing to full size purchases and give you a great sense of how the product behaves on your skin over time.
If everything seems a little over whelming a lot of beauty therapy salons now that stock natural and organic products. Here you will get professional advice from a skin specialist who has looked at your skin. A professional therapist will be able to tell you exactly what is good for your skin through thorough consultation. Taking out the guesswork and trial and error in purchasing.
Once you have familiarized yourself with the market now is the time to choose the products that resonated with you the most. There are enough online stores out there so you get the best shopping experience. Prices may not vary between them for the same products, but look for extras like free samples or free shipping, or even a % off your first order for becoming one of their customers.
After a few months your products will be running low and you’ll be ready to re-stock. If you chose something that didn’t perform as well as you had hoped now is the time to choose something a bit different. There are usually lots of brands offering very similar products for the same skin type so you will be more than spoilt for choice and can enjoy lots of variety in your skincare routine.
The continual experience of trying and sampling different products will give you a clear idea about which product suits your skin best. You will end up with your favourites and regularly change the rest through sampling and testing. Sound like fun? It is! Happy shopping!
Spring is here, that means warmer weather, the beginning of party season and spring racing carnival.
A tan finishes your outfit, helps the skin to look healthy and boost confidence ten-fold.
To get the most from your tan experience, here are our essential suggestions.
Preparation, Preparation, Preparation:
It’s important to prepare your skin before a tan. Make sure you exfoliate about 24 hours before your appointment so your skin is smooth when you tan, but not raw from just scrubbing.
The best tools for this are:
An exfoliating mitt
Dry body brushing
Hair removal must also be done 24 hours before your appointment, especially if you’re waxing. The hair follicles need time to close before you get your tan so you don’t end up looking spotty.
If you have done all your prep the day before you can moisturize your skin to make it soft that evening before your morning shower the day of your appointment.
Do not moisturize the day of your tan; it will prevent it adhering to your skin as well. Simply towel dry and go. If you’re already exfoliated and prepped from the night before you shouldn’t be dry and scaly.
Don’t wear deodorant to your appointment, as it will make the tan go green under your arms and patchy.
Wear dark loose clothing to your appointment to avoid rubbing off the new tan and getting stains on lighter clothing. To avoid tan lines wear a g-string, but often you will be supplied with disposable underwear.
Your tanner will tell you how long you need to wait before you can shower, and possibly recommend after care products to pro long your tan.
PRO TIP: We are loving our all natural 1 hour tan! Customise your colour by letting it develop between 1-3 hours, never sleep in tan again!
Proper home care is key to making your tan last.
Avoid any contact with water until you can shower off your tan
Avoid activates that can cause excessive sweating 12 hours after your tan so you don’t sweat it off
Avoid chlorinated pools and hot baths for 12 hours after your tan
If you’re going on holidays and will be swimming use a tan extender
12 hours after your tan moisturize with a natural moisturizer daily to extend the life of your tan
Avoid spraying perfume before you rinse off your tan
After showering gently pat your skin dry instead of vigorously rubbing
Your tan does not contain an spf so if you are out in the sun still wear sunscreen and sun protection
When your tan begins to wear off it may look patchy, gently exfoliating those areas with a mitt will help the tan fade evenly. Do a vigorous exfoliation the day you are ready to remove it completely.