SOS Skincare Gems You Should Know About
Whenever you're ready to hit that SOS beauty button, these little guys will save the day. I have selected my absolute crème de la crème, tried and true, must-have skincare saviours, which I always reach out for in case of emergency. Hope you discover something new today and other than that, just keep on scrolling!
When You Break Out
One valuable skincare lesson I've learned over time is: prevention is better than cure. Although my skin is dry, I still get those dreadful "blind" pimples, which are a pain in the back to deal with.
You might remember me talk about Eminence Soothing Chamomile Tonique a few months back (read here); now that I've been using it religiously for several months, I want to say that this stuff is amazing for both: exfoliating and clearing.
This toner is a mix of glycolic and lactic acids, that are slightly dissolved by a mix of chamomile, licorice, aloe and many other wonderful organic herbs. It does tingle a bit on the skin (as most exfoliating acids do), but causes no irritation. If you are afraid of actual exfoliating serums, starting with a toner like this could be a nice baby step. You can see instant results right the next day: skin appears clearer, brighter and spots are reduced in size (they are also not as painful and red).
I use this toner at least twice a week to keep breakouts at bay and couldn't recommend it enough. Suitable for all skin types.
When Your Skin Is Upset
Whether you've over-exfoliated or just got a bad reaction from a certain skincare product, I think we're all familiar with"upset" skin symptoms: irritation, hypersensitivity, allergies, breakouts etc.
I have been using Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream for more than six years now; as soon as I run out of it, I immediately restock; what makes it so magical, you ask?
This cream is not just a fabulous solution for dryness (since it replenishes skin hydration by absorbing moisture from the air), but thanks to its gentle formula, it also soothes skin that feels angry and irritated. Being a blogger, I do test a lot of skincare and sadly there are times when a certain product can aggravate [my already sensitive] skin. Whenever that happens, I immediately reach out for my holy grail Kiehl's friend and find that it helps bring my skin back to normal in no time.
This cream also contains squalene, which will restore protection barrier, reduce irritation and leave your skin feeling smooth and happy. Depending on your skin type, you can choose between a lighter/richer version of this godsend formula.
Another little gem is a 1-dollar Nivea Creme. Yes, you read that right. I have to thank my friend Jenny for this wonderful rediscovery; please head to her blog to read everything there is to know about this fantastic little beast.
In two words: whether you want to believe it or not, this 1-dollar cream is a dupe for almighty Crème de la Mer (170 USD). Contrary to popular opinion, I have never been fascinated by La Mer skincare in general. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind splurging on skincare if it really makes a difference, but judging from what I see/read (and it is not just us bloggers talking, but also skincare professionals, read dailymail.co.uk article here), there is truly not that much of a difference between the two. If anything, Nivea wins for a) having same functional ingredients, yet being more affordable b) giving better results (this guy has been around for 100 years for a reason y'all).
You can use it on your face or body; I reach out for it on days when I feel like my skin could use some extra loving. Unlike Kiehl's, this cream works best overnight, almost like a very hydrating leave-on mask. As a result skin feels smooth, calm and happy. Couldn't ask for more!
When Your Lips Are About To Fall Off
Every Aussie swears by Lucas' Papaw Ointment and there is a reason why: this shhh is brilliant! I bought a small tube of it while I was in New York; didn't have high hopes for it, assuming it would be just a generic, petrolatum-based lip balm. Boy, I was wrong.
First of all, have no fear this balm is not toxic and is actually approved by FDA and European Pharmacopoeia (i.e. it is a safe product free of polyplasdone, polyvinylpyrrolidone, talc, shellac, palm oil, glycerin or sodium lauryl sulphate). The star ingredient here is papaya, which comes directly from Queensland.
Since this formula has antibacterial properties, you can use this ointment pretty much anywhere on your body in case of burns, sun damage, rash, cuts, wounds, insect bites etc. As for me, I think it is the best remedy for painfully dry, cracked and irritated lips. This balm is quite rich, so it will last all day or night. I have had a reaction to a certain lip product not long ago, which really irritated my lip contour and Papaw was the only thing that helped. It also worked wonders on my mosquito bites; don't even sleep on it!
Another lip product worth mentioning, a recent discovery, is Derma Lip Plumper Balm. This formula is a wonderful blend of shea butter, jojoba, portulaca (Omega-3 rich plant known for its anti-bacterial properties) and drum roll please - hyaluronic acid - aka my bae!
Derma belongs to a Jordan-based Pella Pharmaceuticals, company that focuses on topical and cosmetic products free of nasties (such as parabens etc). This lip product here is supposed to stimulate collagen production in your lips, by making them smoother and fuller.
Although I can't say that I've noticed much difference in the plumping department, as far as moisturizing lip balms go - this one is lovely. It does tingle a bit upon application, leaving a sheer, semi-glossy finish; however, this sensation doesn't last for more than 2-3 minutes and you are left with a beautifully hydrated pout. This is my go-to day-time lip balm at the moment, so I always keep it my handbag. Find more info here.
When You Feel Like A Puffy Panda
I love a good sheet mask and as some of you might remember from my older posts, I am a fan of Skin Republic. A couple of months ago I was introduced to the brand's 24k Gold Aquagel Under Eye Patch and you may be surprised but "gold" is actually listed as the very last ingredient here; eye patches couldn't get more luxurious than that.
Even though I doubt that gold has any life-changing skincare properties (and I would rather wear it on my fingers and neck), these eye patches are brilliant. You get two pairs in each pack, which is a nice deal in my book.
These patches feel quite silicone-y and rather thick, especially compared to your typical bio-cellulose mask per say. Once they are on, they give a very lovely cooling/depuffing effect. You don't even need to store them in your fridge, they are that good. I normally wear mine for 30 minutes whenever I feel like my undereye area could use extra hydration (doesn't matter morning or evening). This formula claims to improve blood circulation, while collagen should rejuvenate the delicate eye area. And I must say, my undereye looks fabulous whenever I use these; great for special occasions and some of those poopy skin days, when you need an instant pick-me-up. Results are temporary, but oh-so-worth-it.
When You Feel Dehydrated
Now, I've tried a ton of "hyaluronic acid" products, but nothing (nothing) compares to Institut Esthederm Intensive Hyaluronic Serum (and cream).
I first spoke about this range last year, complete review here. Although I am in my twenties, this stuff made me look sixteen again and I don't exaggerate. Not a bit. And it doesn't take a long time to see results; I would say that I personally see the difference in my skin after one-two days - it looks radiant, plump, soft and all the little smile lines disappear.
If you are in your twenties, I would only recommend using a product like this prior to a very special occasion (say your wedding). But if you are 30 and above, you might really enjoy Intensive Hyaluronic Serum as your go-to serum, because it does pack a punch and will instantly make you look younger and healthier by fighting dehydration on deeper layers of epidermis.
What is even cooler, effects last a few months after using the serum and since this is an intensive line after all, once you finish your cycle (a product like this should last 3-4 months) you need to give your skin a break and repeat every half a year.
When You Are On The Go
I never thought foam moisturizers were a thing, until I was introduced to Derma Aquaxplus and Sorafine. This is the same company that created Lip Plumper Balm (one I've mentioned earlier in this post).
I will go ahead and say that I do love both of them equally; these are non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, nasty-free, non-greasy moisturizers that provide excellent protection and nourish your skin, leaving no sticky/tacky residue behind them.
Aquaxplus (10% Urea) is a bit richer than Sorafine (3%) and can be used on very dry parts of your face/body, just like a traditional ointment (except it is ten times more lightweight and gets absorbed in seconds). Both contain aloe to prevent skin irritation.
I love using these foam moisturizers right after my swimming sessions; I spend literally an hour with my face down in chlorine, which leaves my skin feeling tight and dry. This is a wonderful, hygienic solution for those of us constantly on the go; I just shake the can, gently press and use an exact amount of foam shown on the picture (for my entire face). These will be great for traveling. Both formulas are ultra lightweight and will leave your skin feeling soft and hydrated. Aquaxplus in particular can be used on your hands/feet as an overnight treatment. There is a very faint natural scent, which evaporates as soon as the product gets absorbed. Really good stuff. You can find both moisturizers and more from the brand here.
When Your Feet Hurt
I don't know about you, but the older I get, the more I appreciate my comfortable shoes. I still do wear heels a lot and sensation of "destroyed" feet is not that unfamiliar to me.
However, I happen to know about one massive game-changer. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Derma E Intensive Therapy Foot Creme. This cream does not only nourish delicate skin with all of its amazing herbal ingredients, but it will also give you that very much needed "cooling" effect to relieve pain and improve blood circulation.
Whenever you feel like your feet ache/look swollen - apply a pea-sized amount, put on some fuzzy socks and enjoy your TV (while the cream does its magic). I also often use it on my calves, especially after a good training and it works wonders at relaxing your muscles. If that wasn't amazing enough, Derma E is vegan, cruelty free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, mineral oil-free, lanolin-free, gluten free and GMO-free.
When Your Body Rejects Aluminum
Although scientists are still debating whether aluminum is an absolute evil or not, from my personal experience - aluminum-based deodorants can make my skin itch over time. Yes, they are long-lasting and amazing at keeping sweat or"aroma" at bay. However. I'd rather be a hippie, than have breast cancer or Alzheimer's.
And while we're still trying to figure aluminum out, I don't mind sticking to aluminum-free options for a while. Here is my main issue though - most of them simply don't work. I know this topic might sound a bit TMI, but! Here's the deal: although I am not a striped polecat, my lifestyle is quite active and since I live in Dubai (365 days of summer), I do need a good protection.
I've tried a ton of aluminum-free options: L'occitane, Lavanila, Klorane, Uriage, Nuxe you name it. Most of them worked fine for a few hours, but would require constant re-application (to say the least). The only deodorant, one that works just as good as my aluminum favourites, is Vichy Aluminium Salt-Free Mineral Deodorant. It has no alcohol, no parabens and claims to last a really long time (it actually does). It also has provitamine B5 to soothe your skin and a very pleasant scent. Since it is a roll on, make sure to let it air dry for a few minutes and you're good to go!
When You Feel Like A Lizard
If you start feeling like a flaky sensation, it is probably a good time to get a good, organic body scrub. I don't know about you, but when I just started using Instagram a few years ago, one thing I kept seeing over and over again, was a coffee scrub.
I didn't get the vibe until I was introduced to BeanBody - organic brand from Australia; one that uses fair-trade coffee beans from environmentally friendly, pristine sources. If you go to their website, you will discover many wonderful scrub options; one I want to recommend is Manuka Honey Coffee Scrub.
It is actually infused with coconut oil, vitamin E and Himalayan salt. I have to warn you: if you are a coffee-addict (like moi), please fight every urge to actually taste it, because it does smell like a delicious, heavenly goodness.
This particular blend targets stretch marks, cellulite and dry skin; feels a bit gritty and you do need to use a good handful; it does leave your skin feeling quite smooth and even moisturized (instant bonus in my book). Make sure to use it on wet skin, massage problematic areas and leave it on for five minutes before rinsing.
When Your Nails Need A Break
If you feel like your nails are looking dull and unhappy, it is time to take a break. Although going polish-free and rubbing cuticle oils helps a lot, not all of us want to bare our fingertips.
The new formula is infused with collagen and camellia extract, targeting peeling and breakage; you don't even need base/top coat with these. Even if you suck at applying your own nail polish, the new brush here will make you feel like a pro. Plus, it is quite a long-lasting formula; I can wear it for a week straight. I do find that my nails feel/look much better after using this polish.
You do get a ton of healthy colour options, but the one I want to recommend is Sheers to You ('nurturing sheer pink blush') which is going to look amazing on everyone.