Sugar, anxiety and insomnia…and other tips to get you to sleep better tonight!

I have always been able to switch off my bedside light and fall asleep within minutes. Even on my travels, often sleeping in youth hostels sharing rooms, it wasnt an issue for me. Ever.

When my son turned one a year ago, it changed. For his 1st year I slept well in between multiple night waking and breastfeeding sessions. Now he was starting to sleep better and all of a sudden this mommy couldnt fall asleep anymore…shock horror!

Is this a joke – no – it’s very real.  Some even call it “momsomnia” or postnatal insomnia.

When you suffer from insomnia, you either struggle to fall asleep or you wake up and then struggle to fall back to sleep again.

It’s one of those things that can quickly consume you as you start struggling night after night and experiencing the repercussions of not so much optimal functioning during the day.  You start almost dreading going to bed even though you are tired.  The “Tired but Wired” saying became quite real to me…

It’s a vicious cycle… Insomnia creates anxiety and this creates more insomnia. I experienced over the past year that if I have a better night, the anxiety almost immediately starts to decrease dramatically helping me to go into the better direction of sleep again.

So what can you do – the standard advice that you’ll get…

  1. Sleep hygiene
  2. Herbal aids
  3. Melatonin
  4. Sleeping tablets
  5. Antidepressants (more to treat the anxiety)

These are the things that has worked for me to a certain extent recently and over the past year:

  1.  You absolutely have to do the sleep hygiene thing i.e. NO screen time for at least an hour before bed time and keep lights fairly dimmed in the house if you can.  I also started to have a bed time routine – for me this was drinking either camomile tea / hot water with apple cider vinegar and a bit of honey / milk with quarter teaspoons of nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger.  And also reading a book until I feel I can’t keep my eyes open any longer.
  2. Consider cutting your caffeine.  I decreased it to one – two cups of coffee max all before 11am.
  3. Be careful of sugar as this can worsen anxiety symptoms and for me any form of sugar and even cocoa (dark chocolate) I found could increase my alertness and keep me awake.
  4. Alcohol – yes it helps to relax you – but I am not sure what it is – but I found this also didn’t help my sleep, so bye-bye drinks for now! (Insomnia is so tormenting that you will do ANYTHING to alleviate it).
  5. Melatonin didn’t work for me unfortunately, the herbal stuff also not, I wish it did as it’s not habit-forming.
  6. An anti-anxiety tablet and/or a sleeping tablet helped me at certain times to calm down at night and just re-set and get a night of good sleep – but it’s not for long-term use…
  7. Watch your mind… I found that the more I panicked when I couldn’t fall asleep the worse it all became.  I started meditating on Bible Scriptures about sleep, anxiety and fear which helped me a lot.  I also pray as part of my bed time routine.  And I watch out like a hawk for those evil thoughts that try to make me go into panic and fear mode.  I replace it with TRUE thoughts – Renewing my mind with God’s TRUTH.
  8. I have had to almost become quite relaxed about the whole thing – knowing through the grace of God that I WILL be ok the next day even if I didn’t sleep.  I had to make a point of tapping into the peace, joy and gratitude inside of me despite my lack of sleep and not feeling great the next day. Worshipping Him throughout became my Spiritual Weapon of choice.

This thing has become a lifestyle, spiritual and emotional journey for me.  Not something with a quick fix (believe me I tried all of that, spent a couple of R1000’s on doctors who couldnt really help although I am sure they wish they could.)

I really hope this helps someone out there…

Love Helene x x x

 

The simple truth about HYPER-PIGMENTATION.

One of the most common skin care concerns for especially women are hyperpigmentation – or some refer to it as brown marks/patches on their skin (facial area).

What are the most common causes?

  1. Age (and sun exposure) – Due to years of sun damage you see sun spots/age spots/liver spots appear on sun exposed areas as you get older.
  2. Hormones (and sun exposure) – Many women develop a type of hyperpigmentation called chloasma during pregnancy but this can actually appear any time during a woman’s life.  It generally only appears during the late 20’s and can progressively get worse.
  3. Inflammation (and sun exposure) – Some people hyperpigment as part of the healing process (inflammation) after an injury.  You often see this in acne sufferers.
  4. Other – for example certain types of medication/diseases and chemicals (like certain perfumes) can cause hyperpigmentation.

You will see that all these factors go hand in hand with SUN EXPOSURE.  So sun exposure is the COMMON DENOMINATOR.

What can you do about it?

Let’s BE REAL about this before I get into who you can see and what you can potentially do…

Hyperpigmentation in MANY cases is something that you will struggle with to a certain extent for the rest of your life.  You might be able to lighten it when doing treatments/using products, but the chances of it disappearing completely and staying away is very RARE.

So you need to learn to manage it.  What I mean by this is that you learn to:

  1. Properly protect your skin from the SUN (An effective UVB/UVA + anti-oxidant sunscreen and things like a hat when outside).
  2. You might decide to regularly go for a skin treatment that treats hyperpigmentation
  3. Use a product for hyperpigmentation together with your other skin care products
  4. Get good quality make-up if you feel you would like to camouflage it a bit during the day.

Hyperpigmentation is a condition that is understood by the medical and skin care community to an extent, and there are many products and treatments that claim to be effective.

But I once had a chat with a renowned dermatologist (from Johannesburg) who did his thesis on hyperpigmentatoin – and he told me that he believed it is something that is not yet understood 100% and there is nothing yet on the market that can claim that it will work 100%!

So my suggestion:

USE SUNBLOCK EVERY DAY!

Chat to your dermatologist/skin care specialist about your treatment and product options – BUT BE REALISTIC IN YOUR EXPECTATIONS.

AND FINALLY… Love yourself and your skin… I can promise you that you are more aware and self-conscious about it than anyone else!  Take good care of your skin and do what you can, but don’t obsess about it… Because it IS a difficult one…and best made peace with to a certain extent…and managed well.

Love Helene xxx

PS.  I am not going to talk about product options in this blog… Will have to cover it in another blog – so much to say but I want to keep my blogs short(ish) 😉

 

My sugar detox journal…hidden sugars to watch out for!

I finished my 21 days of trying my best to go off sugar.

HiddenSugarInfographicAlthough I am happy with my progress,  I am not entirely happy with how the 21 days went.

Why?

  1.  I had about 4 “cheat” days
  2. I didn’t cut out ALL sugar (for example: Honey, fruit and certain refined carbs)
  3. I don’t think I experienced the FULL BENEFIT of really detoxing from sugar… And this is what I am after – really getting to that point of moving beyond the withdrawal and cravings and starting to experience all the benefits.  Like…. better and a more stable mood, better sleep, clarity of mind, more energy and some weight loss.

So… What I am going to try to do over the next 21 days is to:

  1. Consistently cut out all forms of sugar (Including honey, fruit and hidden sugar in snacks – see this cool picture to the left…)
  2. Lower my overall carb intake (Mostly for me:  Bread; rusks; wraps; rice; potatoes; pasta; pizza)
  3. Decrease my caffeine intake to 2 cups max per day – mostly to help with the anxiety and insomnia.
  4. Trying not to get too ravenous (this is when I make my poorest food choices) – so filling my tummy with good stuff whenever I am hungry.

Here is a great list of all those other names under which sugar hides in foods:

According to the USDA and other sources, alternative sugar ingredients or names to watch out for when reading labels include:

There also “healthier” sugars, including coconut palm sugar, honey and blackstrap molasses. Generally since these are far less processed (especially real, raw honey), they are OK in moderation but still a source of sugar to keep to small amounts.

So today is another day 1 for me… wish me luck!

Love Helene x x x

My sugar detox journal – this is hard!

I am currently on day 15 of my 21 DAY attempt to detox myself from sugar.

The first 10 days were relatively easy for me – I think it was due to my human will power doing fairly well initially…

 Then my old habits started to taunt me… Let me explain:

I am a stay at home mommy of 21 month old Lucas.  My GO TO for when I am feeling a bit tired/bored/lonely/emotional is mostly coffee and sugar if there is any form of sugar in the house.

So a couple of days ago I gave my little boy a biscuit.  He didn’t want it.  For a moment I was in a battle in my head, and then I just ate the cookie… And then I finished the whole bag (kiddies bag I have to add in my defense 😉 And then I had some fruit cake that I had in the house the previous day for my in-laws visiting.

That old – almost uncontrolled way of eating – took over for that moment…

Later that same day I went to the mall and considered stopping for a piece of cheese cake – because (my old way of thinking) I might as well cheat properly!  And I was feeling tired and like I “deserved” it (again an old habit of mine…).

I didn’t give in to the cheesecake which was an achievement for me.  So the next day I just  kept going where I left off.

So be aware of your old ways of thinking… For those sugary snacks in the house… And don’t beat yourself up if you slip up – just carry on the following day.

Weight loss? Not dramatic in any way – perhaps because I havent given up carbs too.  But I have probably lost almost 1 kg.

But it’s about more than weight for me – its about my health and knowing what sugar does to the brain and body…

After the 21 days…?  The other day I listened to a podcast of Dr Caroline Leaf and she said it takes 3 cycles of 21 days to really create new habits… So perhaps I will push myself a little longer… and even look at cutting out some other things like too much processed food/perhaps I will be a bit more strict with my carb intake.  I’ll decide when I get there…

For now…baby steps and just keep going moment by moment…

Skincare must haves for a busy mom

You can spend 100’s of Rands on make up and still be frustrated with the end result if your canvass (your skin) isn’t in a good condition. Some lucky individuals are blessed with a genetically beautiful flawless skin, but most of us need to put in some work – and a couple of good quality products.

Below are my steps to the essential skin care – focussing on ANTI-AGEING.

Your products can look a little different if you are working towards targeting a more specific skin care concern like adult acne or hyperpigmentation for example. Check out my blogs about acne and pigmentation.

I am also just looking at the ESSENTIALS today – there are quite a bit more that you can do at home like exfoliators and masks – but more about that in another blog 😉

So here are my top skincare must haves for a busy mom!

Essential Morning routine:

Step 1: CLEANSE PROPERLY

Gentle Foaming Cleanser from Theravine

Make sure you cleanse your skin every morning and every evening with a MILD cleanser suitable to your PREFERENCE (gel/foam/cream/oil/liquid water based cleanser etc) and SKIN TYPE (oily/dry/combination). I currently use the Gentle Foaming Cleanser from Theravine (Available at salons or get in touch with me) retails for R298.  I also quite like the Loreal cleanser: Pure Clay detox face wash. R88

What do I look for in a cleanser? Not expensive (it really doesn’t have to be); gentle yet effective and I prefer a foamy gel in comparison to a cream.

Step 2: USE AN ANTIOXIDANT as your serum for the day.  Antioxidants have antiageing benefits as well as being super important to fight harmful free radicals during the day.  I am currently using the brilliant Phloretin CF from Skinceuticals. Thanks to my friend who was generous to give this as my 40th birthday present!

Step 3: USE A GOOD MOISTURISER on your face and neck.  I currently enjoy the Nourishing and Firming Day cream from Theravine for the DAY and the amazing moisturizer from Lamelle, Dermaheal Cellular Repair Cream.

Optional extra: Use an eye cream – check out my blog about eye creams here.

Step 4: USE A GOOD QUALITY sunblock every single day – check out my blog about sunscreen here and here.  My personal favourite is Heliocare. – either the SPF50 Gel or the SPF Tinted (this replaces my foundation on most days now because it is so quick and easy!)  Check out my blog on make-up tips for a busy mom HERE.

 

Essential Evening routine:

Step 1: CLEANSE PROPERLY

I start by cleansing off my eye make up. I love this water based cleanser from Garnier – retails for R80. Bioderma also has one, but is more expensive – retails for R230. Then I cleanse as in the morning routine.

Optional extra: Tone if necessary (not essential), sometimes necessary if you wear a lot of make up to ensure your skin is squaky.clean! You want it to be clean for your evening serum/cream to penetrate.

Step 2: USE AN ANTI-AGEING SERUM

So this might look different than your morning serum.  At night it is a good idea to introduce anti-ageing ingredients like Vitamin A (MY FIRM FAVOURITE – it is one of the most well researched and proven anti-ageing ingredients!) or anti-ageing PEPTIDES or GROWTH FACTORS or even exfoliating ingredients like alpha and beta hydroxy acids.  I currently use Retacnyl (on doctor prescription) but only one evening per week (Retinol is very active and the skin will initially peel upon starting usage).  On other nights I enjoy the Collagen M/P Serum from Matriskin for its amazing anti-ageing benefits due to anti-ageing peptides.

Option extra: Use an eye cream – check out my blog about eye creams here.

Step 3: USE A GOOD MOISTURISER – Same as morning routing.

Please feel free to email me your questions about your skin care routine!

Love Helene xxx

What the sugar?? My sugar detox journal…

I am doing a sugar detox for 21 days. I am currently on day 6.

Why I decided to do a sugar detox? I feel that I have become addicted to sugar and that it was starting to affect my mood in a negative way. It is a personal mission of mine to achieve mental wellness, and I know its up to me to make it happen. About 6 months ago I started suffering from insomnia and this has seriously spurred me on to do everything I possibly can to start sleeping better again… Sugar potentially being one of the aspects that can affect your sleep negatively.

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So the insomnia and mood issues are my main reasons for going on this sugar detox. (To be perfectly honest, other reasons for me include potential weight loss and the prevention of diseases.)
What a sugar detox looks like for me? A book that has helped me a lot is “I quit sugar” from Sarah Wilson. But there are many many books. So for me it basically means cutting out ALL sugar. A quick list would be : Actual sugar (brown, white) ; honey; any foods or sauces with lots of sugar added (check labels)and fruit (actual fruit, juices, dried). I am not cutting out all carbs – I have decided to make this about SUGAR.
How am I feeling? I felt perfectly fine for the 1st 2 days. On day 3 I started really craving and missing my sugar fix (usually cake/chocolate/sweets). On day 4 I started struggling emotionally and day 5 I felt completely depressed and tearful. I wondered whether this could be a detox symptom and found out that it absolutely can be…(have a look at this link.)

The start is always the HARDEST. But I have found that once you get started it gets easier.

It’s almost like you need to learn how to trust yourself again too. Trusting yourself that you will honour a decision that you make to commit to something. Even if no one else is checking up on you.

Day 6: Yesterday we celebrated my bother’s 46th birthday and since his wife always bakes with zero sugar I thought the birthday cake was a gluten and sugar-free version. After this 1st couple of bites I realised that it wasnt this time 😉

For a moment I felt like I was a failure and had to start all over again.

Then I decided to be kind to myself. So I am adding an extra day to my 21 days and today I am continuing as normal despite my little “glitch”.

People trying to eat healthier can often be so hard on themselves for having a weak moment – that weak moment then becomes a weak month of year… These type of negative emotions and guilt just never serve you.

So currently I am still on day 6 and so far so good. I had a scone this morning with butter and cream (no jam) and coffee without sugar. Also had a seed cracker with sugar-free peanut butter. And I am feeling a lot better today in terms of my mood…

I will do another post in 1 week!!! I will write about which sugar alternatives are BAD and which ones are OK. I personally like Xylitol… And of course an update of how it’s going with my detox…

Why not join me?

Love Helene xxx

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Eating healthy – why is it SO hard..?

Part 1: Why is it so hard?

I’ve decided to write about my struggle to consistently eat more healthy for two reasons.

Firstly, I believe there’s a reason the diet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry (most people struggle with this in some degree)…and secondly I am hoping that writing about this issue will help me to be more successful in my efforts…

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At the beginning of 2018 I very sincerely decided that this was the year that I was finally going to leave my nonsense in the past and be dedicated to a healthier diet once and for all.

I am turning 40 this year, and my thought pattern went something like this: If I can’t get it right now, I might as well give up/not try again.

I also became aware of the depressing fact that the past 20 years has been an on and off struggle with wanting to lose that LAST 5 – 10 kg’s by buying a new diet book/joining a diet club/increasing my gym efforts/becoming qualified as a nutritionist and personal trainer (yes I went that far) etc…

I love that saying which says that if you keep on doing the same thing and not getting the results you want, it is insanity… Well keeping on doing what I’ve been doing for the past 20 years when it comes to my eternal quest for health/weight loss/having a better body and health…. will just be insanity.

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So why of why is it so HARD?? Is human will power so weak? Why do some people get it right and others don’t..? I don’t have the perfect answer for this.

I think one of the things that is crucial for success is that it should matter ENOUGH to you to want to change.

You have to find that thing, that trigger deep down inside that you can pull out the moment you feel you deserve/need that pizza/doughnut/cake/chocolate etc. RIGHT now. At that moment, that thing (that reason for you to want it enough) should pull you through that moment.

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My baby boy is 18 months and for the past 18 months I have been riding the wave of excuses of I am a new mom, I am tired, I don’t have time, I am emotional, I am stressed, I feel alone… Well, my time for those excuses has expired. I realise that it is only ME that is holding myself back from feeling better about myself and my body.

I strongly believe that you have to be kind to yourself and love yourself first and foremost. So I am glad that I gave myself enough time to adjust to motherhood. But you have to get to a point where  you realise that making better choices concerning your eating habits – is LOVING yourself!

I have also realised that I have a pattern that is not working for me. I get very motivated by reading a new diet book and then ride that emotional wave of feeling super dedicated and converted for a while… And then the emotional excuses set in. And before I know it, I am back to my old habits. Other times I sincerely just don’t care enough.

So what is going to be different now… What is it going to take for me to make that permanent change…???

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For me… right now, I think it is to just start. To just take the next step tomorrow and then the day after that and the day after that. No emotional rollercoaster, just an almost unemotional, logical decision day-to-day.

And I have decided to blog about my journey – to somehow keep me accountable…

Let’s see…

Love Helene xxx

Oog rome

Ek is onlangs gevra om bietjie te skryf oor oog rome.  So baie van ons is bekommerd oor veroudering veral rondom probleem areas soos die oog area.  

Die lyntjies wat jy sien om die oe is meestal wat ons noem “expression lines” as gevolg van al die  beweging om die oe met elke gesigsuitdrukking wat ons het!  As jy lekker baie lag dan het jy dalk meer – wat mos ‘n goeie ding is! 😉

Van die lyntjies kan ook wees as gevolg van gewone veroudering – wat met ons almal gebeur.  Sommige velle – veral ‘n droer vel – wys lyntjies vinniger as byvoorbeeld ‘n olierige vel.  As jou vel baie “dehydrated” is sal die lyntjies ook meer sigbaar wees.  Dit is een van die redes hoekom ‘n goeie vogroom oggend en aand so belangrik is!

Die hoeveelheid lyntjies wat jy het hang af van hoofsaaklik 3 dinge:  Jou ouderdom, jou hoeveelheid “expressions” om die oog area en dan jou vel tipe (hoe droer hoe meer sigbaar sal die lyntjies wees).

Wanneer moet ek begin om ‘n oogroom te gebruik?

Ek stel voor jy begin sodra jy begin belangstel in ‘n meer ernstige velsorg roetine.  Vir party van ons is dit middel 20’s en vir ander van ons eers so rondom 30.  Begin maar net wanneer jy kan!  Prevention is better than cure!

Watter tipe oogroom?

Mens kry oog gels – dit is meer vir hidrasie en om dinge soos “puffiness” en oppervlakkige baie fyn lyntjies na te kyk.  Dit is nie regtig “anti-ageing” nie.

Jy sal vir jou ‘n behoorlike oog room moet aan skaf wat bedoel is om “anti-ageing” te wees.  Hoe weet ek dis anti-ageing?  Kyk na watter aktiewe bestandele daarin is en die konsentrasie van die aktiewe bestandele.

Watter bestandele is goed om in ‘n “anti-ageing” oogroom te he?

  1. “Anti-oxidants”:  Dit is byvoorbeeld Vitamin C, Vitamin E en ‘n hele klomp ander.  Antioksidante help veroudering deur “free radicals” te neutraliseer – hulle onskadelik te maak.  “Free radicals” word gevorm in die vel as gevolg van ‘n hele klomp faktore soos die son, besoedling, inflammasie ens.  “Free radicals” takel die goeie selle en goed soos collagen af in die vel en veroorsaak so veroudering.
  2. “Peptides”:  Dit is bestandele wat spesifiek gemaak word om byvoorbeeld collagen te stimuleer.
  3. “Growth Factors”:  Hierdie bestandele help tipies om collagen en elastin te stimuleer en ook “cellular renewal” in die vel te stimuleer.
  4. “Retinol”:  Dit is ‘n wonderlike “anti-ageing” bestandeel, wees net bewus dat dit net in die aand aangesit kan word, stadig begin moet word en dat die vel moontlik initieel kan reageer (rooi, droog ens.)
  5. “AHA’s” (alpha hydroxy acids):  Dit is byvoorbeeld glycolic acid wat sel vernuwing kan veroorsaak en sodoende veroudering teen veg.

So my voorstel sal wees… afhangende van jou budget… as jy dit kan bekostig, koop vir jou ‘n goeie oogroom van ‘n professionele velsorg reeks wat jy by ‘n salon of dokter koop.  Of kyk na ‘n goeie “department store/pharmacy” reeks en kyk bietjie watter aktiewe bestandele in hulle “anti-ageing” oog room is.

Dit is baie moeilik vir my om ‘n oog room uit te sonder… Al jou goeie velsorg reekse behoort ‘n goeie oogroom vir jou te bied.  Kyk maar net na die bestandele en gaan kyk bietjie na reviews op die internet… dit behoort jou baie te help met jou besluit!  Of jy kan natuurlik vir my vra om te help as jy ‘n spesifieke oor room ingedagte het 🙂

Helene x x x

Skincare ingredients that matter

With the overload of skincare products on the market, choosing the right skincare product can become extremely overwhelming and confusing.  I have come to the conclusion that in reality it shouldn’t be confusing – you just need to know WHICH SKINCARE INGREDIENTS actually MATTER and can have a positive impact on your skin.  Once you know WHICH INGREDIENTS YOUR SKIN NEEDS, you can choose skincare products accordingly! (And stop wasting your money on nothing more than “HOPE IN A JAR”…)

So which ingredients matter…?  I’ll try to keep this short and to the point 🙂

  1. ANTI-OXIDANTS:  e.g Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C); Tocopherol (Vitamin E); Co-enzyme Q10; Glutathione.  Why your skin needs anti-oxidants?  To neutralise all the harmful free radicals roaming around in your skin wanting to cause damage and skin ageing.antioxidants-donating-electrons1-300x288
  2. VITAMIN A:  e.g Retinoic Acid; Retinol.  Why your skin needs Vitamin A?  This wonder vitamin is one of the most well researched anti-ageing skincare ingredients.  Originally tested on adult acne in the 60’s, they soon realised the incredible effects it had on signs of ageing e.g. superficial lines and age spots.
  3. GROWTH FACTORS:  e.g. EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor).  Why your skin needs growth factors?  These awesome little “messenger molecules” help with cellular growth and differentiation. They jump in and help to repair the skin when damaged.  As we get older and our levels of naturally occurring growth factors decline, our skin becomes less able to repair itself.  Now we can apply growth factors topically and assist the skin in repairing itself from skin damage (ageing due to mostly sun damage).

Other ingredients that also deserve a mention are:  (I will keep the info for another blog post!)

  1. PEPTIDES
  2. FRUIT ACIDS
  3. ENZYMES

So my advise when purchasing skincare products would be to look at the ingredients and ask the right questions!

Yours in beautiful and healthy skin, Helene x x x

PS.  I like this picture showing the important skincare ingredients – have a look at the blog post here.

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How to – look after your skin during winter

On a recent shopping outing – I spotted this The Body Shop product which I just couldn’t resist. The name Warming Mineral Mask (R155) begged me to get into a warm bath and slather this baby onto my face. The description tempted me even more: “Self-warming, deep cleansing kaolin clay treatment.” How can you NOT want to try this mask especially as the days have turned into lovely chilly autumn?

This is the type of mask that I envision applying while lounging around in my gown and slippers sipping a cup of hot tea, hot chocolate or coffee… and maybe a rusk too? You get the idea 😉

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Here are a couple of Winter Skincare Tips (followed by my personal review of The Body Shop’s Warming Mineral Mask):

HOW TO look after your skin during winter:

1.  Now is the perfect time to try out those skincare treatments e.g. chemical peels/laser that you have been wanting to try out.  Some of these treatments are more ablative than your normal facial treatments, which means that it removes more of the upper skin layers – therefore exposing your skin to more harmful UV radiation.  It is advised to rather do these types of treatments during the colder months when the sun is not so harsh.  BUT remember that you still need to be careful of sun exposure and apply your sunblock even during autumn and winter!

2.  Due to the colder air, your skin might become more dehydrated leaving it feeling dry, tight and flaky.  It might even feel more sensitized.  To minimize this – be careful of exposing your skin to drastic temperature changes all the time e.g. coming from a cold environment outside to blasting hot air onto your face in your car or home.  Even something like a sauna or steam room – both super nice during colder months – could dehydrate your skin.  Make sure that you always drink plenty of water and protect your skin with a good moisturizer (to both prevent moisture loss and provide moisturizing ingredients to your skin).

3.  Pamper your skin with regular at-home mini facials.  This could include a facial scrub and a mask depending on your skin type.  You can’t go wrong with a hydrating mask as most of us are dehydrated especially during winter.  For your more oil-dry skin types – I would recommend a nourishing mask (these masks usually contain an oil component as well as other active ingredients to nourish the dry skin type).  My skin type is oily (even though I am 37 years old) – and I struggle with dehydration at the same time.  The Body Shop Warming Mineral Mask therefore sounded perfect for my oily, yet dehydrated winter skin needing some TLC.

The Beautiful Truth PRODUCT REVIEW: The Body Shop Warming Mineral Mask

I noticed on the instructions at the back that they recommend application onto a clean wet skin.  I soon realized why the recommended wet skin.  The consistency being quite thick and sticky made it a lot easier to apply onto a wet skin.  As soon as I squeezed out a reasonable amount (about a teaspoon) onto my hands, it immediately and magically turned warm!

The amazing warmth of the mask on my skin lasted a little while longer and it felt invigorating – not too tingly at all but rather a warm and refreshing sensation at the same time.  The Kaolin also gives it that warm, earthy and cleansing sensation which I love!  I left it on for about 5 – 10 minutes, dampened my finger tips to slightly emulsify the mask before rinsing it off with warm water.  I finished my at-home mini facial with toning and applying a serum (hydrating) and moisturizer to work during my beauty sleep. I recommend doing your at-home facial before going to bed.  Your serum can optimally penetrate after you have done an exfoliation and mask and your skin is designed to absorb products and regenerate itself while sleeping. That’s why it’s called the “beauty sleep”!

The warm feeling of the mask reminded me of a product which I have used in the past: the Dermalogica Multivitamin Thermafoliant which has the same warming effect upon application.

They recommend to use the mask once to twice a week which is fine, unless you feel that your skin is a bit sensitive.  I do not really keep track of how often I use products like these – so I normally just grab it when I feel like it, but try to do it at least once a week to get the full benefit of using the product regularly.

Main benefits:  The warming effect and cleansing ingredients like the Kaolin help to open the pores for a deep cleansing effect.  Essential oils of ginger and cinnamon make it an invigorating mask which is good to “wake up” a dull skin by stimulating micro-circulation.

The Beautiful Truth Star rating: 4 out of 5.

The bottom line:  I like this product and can recommend it to anyone (including the guys!) who struggles with an oily skin type and is not too sensitive.  The warming effect of the mask adds to its appeal for winter skincare.  Enjoy!!

Look out for more winter skincare tips in the weeks to come!  I will be writing about popular treatments such as micro-needling, peels and yummy winter warming facials…

Ingredient Deep Dive:

PEG-8 (Humectant), Zeolite (Warming Agent), Glycerin (Humectant), Kaolin (Absorbent), Methyl Gluceth-20 (Viscosity Modifier), Zinc Oxide (Sunscreen), PEG-220 (Binder/Humectant/Solvent), Algae (Seaweed Extract) (Natural Additive), Methylparaben (Preservative), Propylparaben (Preservative), Tocopheryl Acetate (Antioxidant), Curcuma zedoaria (Zedoary Oil) (Skin Conditioning Agent), Zingiber officinale (Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Oil) (Natural Additive), Cinnamal (Fragrance Ingredient), Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Cinnamon Oil) (Fragrance), Linalool (Fragrance Ingredient), Eugenol (Fragrance Ingredient), Limonene (Fragrance Ingredient), Benzyl Benzoate (Solvent), Citral (Fragrance Ingredient), Coumarin (Fragrance Ingredient), Cinnamyl Alcohol (Fragrance Ingredient).