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Spring Skincare

Skincare needs and priorities change as we enter into spring and our skin is exposed less to cold, dry air and more to higher moisture levels in the air, warmer temperatures, and increased sunshine. We all know that the cold, dry weather and high use of air conditioning leads to issues like dry and chapped skin. But now that spring is here, and with it the promise of warmer weather, our new regimen and practices should focus on sun and skin protection.

Spring is a deceptive season for skincare. The weather is sometimes still overcast, making us think that there is no need for an SPF. Unfortunately, damaging UV rays can still penetrate through clouds and harm your skin. The most important product you can keep in your spring skincare routine is facial sunscreen, especially as we start to spend more time outside, making the most of the warmer weather.

Now is also a good time to think about exfoliation. After the cold and dry weather from winter, light exfoliation can help brighten dry winter skin. A blend of chemical and physical exfoliation can be the ideal mix to get your skin back on track after winter. Remember to not overdo it, one or twice a week is enough or you risk overstimulating and irritating your skin.

Hydration is always important when it comes to good skincare. You still need to moisturise, but you can look at swapping to a lighter moisturiser during the day and save the oils or heavier moisturiser for night use. As wonderful as the feeling of the warm sun on your face is, you need to make sure you are staying cool and fresh. A floral water or toner spray is one of the easiest ways to quickly refresh the skin and cool down. These hydrating face mists will help to keep your skin refreshed and hydrated throughout the day.

If you find your face feeling hot at night, you can use a rose quartz roller to cool down. Natural rose quartz is a cooling stone that can maintain its normal temperature even in hot weather.

Now is also the time for a spring clean of not only your makeup brushes and skincare tools but your old products. It’s important to clean any beauty tool that comes into contact with your face to prevent bacteria from building up, which can cause your pores to clog and skin to break out. Make some time to deep clean your makeup brushes at least once a week.

Throw any products that are past the expiration date, which can usually be seen on the bottom of the packaging. You are looking for a symbol with an open jar, a number and letter, to indicate how long your product will last after opening (for example, 12m means your product is good for 12 months after you first open it). Keep in mind that even if a product hasn’t been opened, active ingredients will become less potent and less effective over time. If you can’t find any markings, use the smell test. If something doesn’t look, smell, or feel the way it did when you purchased it, you should probably throw it out.

Don’t forget about the skin below your chin. Your body will need a little attention after a cold winter. Consider a body exfoliate such as a sugar scrub and a light lotion to get your legs, elbows, arms, knees and heels ready to see daylight gain. Remember to moisturise your neck and décolletage, which is often one of the first places that will show signs of aging.

Think about your hair as well. People tend to forget how seasonal shifts might affect their hair. Your hair can dry out if you are doing more outdoor activities. You can try a conditioning hair mask or a lightweight hair oil if you need extra hydration.

The main takeaway for spring skincare is to protect and hydrate.


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RoseSkinCo. (n.d.). A spring clean beauty routine: switching out your winter skincare for spring! [online] Available at:…/spring-summer-skincare-routine [Accessed 29 Aug. 2022]. (n.d.). How to Tweak Your Skin-Care Routine for Spring. [online] Available at:…/how-to-tweak-your…/ [Accessed 29 Aug. 2022].

InStyle. (n.d.). 8 Easy Skincare Swaps to Make For Spring. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Aug. 2022].

Real Simple. (n.d.). 5 Derm-Approved Ways to Transition Your Skincare Routine to Warmer Weather. [online] Available at:…/spring-skincare-routine [Accessed 29 Aug. 2022].

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Essential Oils

An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid (repels water) containing volatile (easily evaporated at normal temperatures) chemical compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile oils, ethereal oils, aetheroleum, or simply as the oil of the plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove. An essential oil is essential in the sense that it contains the essence of the plant’s fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived. The term “essential” in this sense does not mean indispensable.

Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation, often by using steam. Other processes include expression, solvent extraction, absolute oil extraction, resin tapping, wax embedding, and cold pressing. They are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps, air fresheners and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense, massage oils, household cleaning products. and aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine in which healing effects are ascribed to aromatic compounds. Improper use of essential oils may cause harm including allergic reactions, inflammation and skin irritation. Children and animals may be particularly susceptible to the toxic effects of improper use.

The most common essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, tea tree oil, patchouli, and eucalyptus are distilled. Raw plant material, consisting of the flowers, leaves, wood, bark, roots, seeds, or peel, is put into an alembic (distillation apparatus) over water. As the water is heated, the steam passes through the plant material, vaporizing the volatile compounds. The vapors flow through a coil, where they condense back to liquid, which is then collected in the receiving vessel.

The recondensed water is referred to as a hydrosol, hydrolat, herbal distillate, or plant water essence, which may be sold as another fragrant product. Hydrosols include rose water, lavender water, lemon balm, clary sage, and orange blossom water. The use of herbal distillates is mainly used in cosmetics.

The other common types of extraction include expression and solvent extraction.

Most citrus peel oils are expressed mechanically or cold-pressed (similar to olive oil extraction). Due to the relatively large quantities of oil in citrus peel and low cost to grow and harvest the raw materials, citrus-fruit oils are cheaper than most other essential oils. Lemon and sweet orange oils are obtained as byproducts of the citrus industry.

Before the discovery of distillation, all essential oils were extracted by pressing.

Most flowers contain too little volatile oil to undergo expression, but their chemical components are too delicate and easily denatured by the high heat used in steam distillation. Instead, a solvent such as hexane or supercritical carbon dioxide is used to extract the oils.


Essential oil – Wikipedia. 2022. Essential oil – Wikipedia. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 07 August 2022].

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Self Care

Self-care is not the same as self-indulgence or being selfish. Self-care means taking care of yourself so that you can be healthy, you can be well, you can do your job, you can help and care for others, and you can do all the things you need to and want to accomplish in a day.

It’s a lot like putting on your oxygen mask before you help others with theirs.

Read the full article here:

If you think you’ve been hearing more about self-care, you’re right. According to Google Trends, the number of searches for “self-care” has more than doubled since 2015. Paula Gill Lopez, PhD, an associate professor and chair of the department of psychological and educational consultation at Fairfield University says the need for self-care is obvious. “We have an epidemic of anxiety and depression,” she says. “Everybody feels it.”

Self-care is part of the answer to how we can all better cope with daily stressors, explains Kelsey Patel, a Los Angeles–based wellness expert and author, It’s work stress. It’s the stress of trying to keep up with the pace of daily life, which technology has hastened more than ever (just think how many emails come flooding into your inbox each day). “People are feeling lonelier and less able to unwind and slow down, which makes them feel more anxious and overwhelmed by even the simplest tasks,”

Self-care is taking steps to tend to your physical and emotional health needs to the best of your ability.

The World Health Organization defines self-care as: “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote and maintain health, prevent disease and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”

According to this definition, self-care includes everything related to staying physically healthy — including hygiene, nutrition, and seeking medical care when needed. It’s all the steps an individual can take to manage stressors in their life and take care of their own health and well-being.

As self-care has become more mainstream, the definitions have started to become more applicable to the general public and tend to focus on tuning in to one’s needs and meeting those needs. “Self-care is anything that you do for yourself that feels nourishing,” says Marni Amsellem, PhD, a licensed psychologist based in Trumbull, Connecticut.

“That can be something that’s relaxing or calming, or it can be something that is intellectual or spiritual or physical or practical or something you need to get done,” she says.

Self-care requires checking in with yourself and asking yourself how you’re doing and what your body’s asking for. Some people use it to deal with difficult news stories, others just to maintain their happiness day to day. Self-care does not mean the same thing for everyone. Different people will adopt different self-care practices, and even your own definition might change over time. “What is self-care for one person will likely differ from someone else, and what’s self-care for you one day might not feel like self-care another day,” Dr. Amsellem says.

Engaging in self-care regularly could help you put your best foot forward. “When we are regularly taking care of ourselves, we are better able to react to the things that go on in our lives,” Amsellem says. “It’s something we do to maintain positive well-being.”

“When self-care is regularly practiced, the benefits are broad and have even been linked to positive health outcomes such as reduced stress, improved immune system, increased productivity, and higher self-esteem,” says Brighid Courtney, of Boston, a client leader at the we

Types of Self-Care

Emotional self-care, such as self-talk, weekly bubble baths, saying “no” to things that cause unnecessary stress, giving yourself permission to take a pause, or setting up a weekly coffee date with a friend.

Physical self-care, such as prioritizing sleep, adopting an exercise routine you can stick with, choosing healthy and nourishing foods over highly processed ones.

Spiritual self-care, such as attending a religious service, spending time in nature, meditating, incorporating regular acts of kindness into your day, or keeping a gratitude journal.

Additionally, Gill Lopez puts self-care into two further categories: temporary and enduring.

An example of temporary self-care is going to dinner with a friend. You’ll benefit from the social connection, but it won’t last for very long after you part ways.

Enduring self-care, on the other hand, has more permanent effects. Gill Lopez says an example of this is practicing mindfulness regularly, because it leads to brain changes, she says. According to one study published in Psychiatry Research, eight weeks of mindfulness training led to changes in gray matter concentrations in the brain areas involved with learning and memory processes, emotion regulation, self-referential processing, and perspective taking. “You reap the benefits of mindfulness whether you’re [actively] doing it or not,” Gill Lopez says.

What Counts as Self-Care and What Doesn’t

There’s no way to say exactly what counts as self-care, because everyone’s definition is their own and unique.

The underlying rule is that it’s something that brings you more sustained joy in the long run, Courtney says. And though there are plenty of examples of self-care that seem to tread a fine line between a health-enhancing behavior and self-indulgence, self-care doesn’t have to be about padding your calendar with luxurious experiences or activities that cost money (though it certainly can).

Consider a manicure or a massage or any other pampering activity. It might seem indulgent, but if the activity helps you de-stress and carve out time for yourself, it counts as self-care, Amsellem says. If weekly manicures or monthly spa days are beyond your means, there are plenty of other self-care practices you can adopt.

“Self-care does not have to cost anything — it’s just doing things you enjoy. And a lot of the things we enjoy or feel fulfilled from cost nothing,” Amsellem says. “Stepping outside and taking a deep breath, for example, might be the greatest act of self-care.”

Even if you can’t spend lots of time and money, Gill Lopez says you can still practice self-care several times a week by turning things you do every day into self-care practices.

Maybe you try being more mindful of your thoughts on your commute, or maybe you find ways to make daily tasks, like showering, more enjoyable. Pick a soap with a scent that you love and focus on the physical sensations of the shower. Gill Lopez says: What does your shower smell like? What does it sound like? How does the warm water feel on your skin? “For about 10 minutes in the shower, which I have to do anyway, instead of letting my monkey brain run wild, I’m right there,” she says.

Daily chores like making your bed in the morning are also examples of self-care — or can be. “This is where that individuality comes into play, because for some people there is no way making a bed feels like self-care — it may just feel like a chore,” Amsellem says. But if it helps you claim your day and gives you a sense of accomplishment early on, you’ll have that with you even if the rest of the day gets derailed, Amsellem says.

The simple act of making your bed in the morning likely isn’t sufficient to account for all your self-care, she says. You may need to routinely devote time and energy to other self-care practices, she adds. “But if there are some days when you feel out of control, on those days, starting the day off doing what you wanted to do for yourself might be one of the biggest forms of self-care you engage in that day.”

And sometimes when all of our other self-care plans get thrown out of whack (you worked through your yoga class, your friend canceled your coffee date — we’ve all been there), it’s those small practices of self-care that provide just enough calm to help us get through the day and wake up in a better mood tomorrow.

So what are you going to do to add to your self care today?

References: 2022. What Is Self-Care and Why Is It Critical for Your Health? | Everyday Health. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 04 August 2022].

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Skinimalism: It’s hard to say, but easy to do. The phrase might be new, but the idea is not. Skinimalism or  skin minimalism is basically just a skincare way of saying “less is more”.

Skinimalism is focused on simplicity. Rather than using a cocktail of products, it can be distilled down to a minimum of three key elements: Cleansing, hydrating, and protecting.

Have you ever looked in your bathroom and wondered how you ended up with four different cleansers, a couple of toners, six moisturisers and several serums, oils, balms, masks and actives?

When it comes to skincare, many of us have been under the impression that more is better. The more active-packed serums you apply, the better your skin will look. But, just as with many excesses, too much can be detrimental. Overdoing your skincare efforts can leave a compromised skin barrier, redness and irritation.

Dermatologist, Dr Shyamalar Gunatheesan, noted the impact skinimalism is having on the beauty community more widely. “I see this trend permeating into the way we approach skin care and makeup. For a while in lockdown, people were indulging in elaborate skin care routines with the temptation of trying every new skin active or peel at home. The rebellion certainly has made us realise that the skin is a well-programmed ecosystem that is able to closely calibrate according to its needs and does not like being overwhelmed with random topicals.” Trust that your skin is an incredible organism and with time will work out to rejuvenate itself without needing a host of products.

The key to making skinimalism work is consistency. “It’s almost more important than the ingredients,” says dermatologist Dr. Hartman. He recommends committing to a routine for a few months before deciding whether it’s working. How many times have you thrown away a container and started something different before the first one is empty? “I think most people never get to an empty bottle. They don’t have enough patience or fortitude to stick with something until it runs out.” But most products are designed to last three or four months, which is around the same amount of time needed to produce results.

Using too many products, trying new formulas each day, layering incorrectly or combining too many actives can overwhelm, overstimulate and confuse the skin. Overwhelmed, the skin essentially gives up, and we never see the benefits of the actives we’re using.

Skinimalism is a movement toward embracing your real skin. It describes the stripping back of your skincare routine to take a minimalist approach. This means reducing the number of products and active ingredients in your routine. It’s about taking a few steps back and committing to a more sustainable and more affordable routine.

In addition, skinimalism is an ideal of banishing the perception of perfect beauty, unrealistic beauty standards or covering up & fixing flaws, and don’t get me started on filters. Skinimalism encourages you to go #unfiltered and embrace the real, beautiful you or loving the skin you’re in.

Just because skinimalism works for some people doesn’t mean it will automatically be a perfect fit for everyone. If there are some aspects you’re interested in, give them a go. If there aren’t, stick to what you love and what makes you look and feel good. There’s no one right way to build your beauty routine, so doing what works for you and your skin is the most important thing. You don’t have to throw out everything in your cupboard, just focus on the few products that do the most good for your skin. Quality over quantity.

At a minimum, try to find something to clean, something to nourish, and something to protect and if you have problem skin, something to treat. Simply keeping your skin clean, hydrated and protected can make a big difference and having healthy skin is what matters. You also can’t underestimate the power of combining a healthy diet, exercise, reducing toxins and getting enough water and sleep.

For cleansing, look for products that contain as few ingredients as possible and avoid cleansers that contain harsh exfoliants like crushed walnut shells, which can cause micro-tears on the sensitive skin of the face.

The jury is out on the need for a toner. I personally like it after cleansing to remove any residual cleanser and to make the skin feel fresh and ready for moisturising.

Even if you have oily skin, moisturising is a must to keep skin hydrated and prevent water loss. As we age, the skin naturally loses the ability to hold moisture, so it’s important for all ages and skin types to moisturise daily.

To protect your skin, you can look for a multi-purpose product in a moisturiser that contains a sunscreen. And remember, sunscreen isn’t just for summer.

No matter how many products you use, working out a skincare routine that works for you can take time. It can take weeks for products to make a difference in your skin’s appearance, so it pays to stick at it and be patient as you usually won’t see results after just a couple of uses.

For skinimalism, the result should be a simplified version that will save you time and money, all while being more friendly to the planet. Less product, less packaging, less waste.

This is how I got into making skincare. I started replacing the items in my bathroom with simple, natural products that I knew what the ingredients were. I slowly ditched all the unnecessary items that didn’t really work or I just never bothered to use; like the caffeine infused under eye roller, the sea minerals foot scrub and the fake tan. So why not join me in keeping it simple, natural, affordable and sustainable. But, there’s nothing stopping you and some girlfriends from having a spa day and spoiling yourselves every now and again as well.


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Condé Nast. 2022. Skinimalism Is The Dermatologist-Approved Skincare Trend For Luminous Skin | British Vogue. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 17 July 2022].

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OC Facial care centre : Facial Treatments | Chemical Peeling | Waxing. 2022. What is Skinimalism? Why is it a trend now? |OC Facial care centre : Facial Treatments | Chemical Peeling | Waxing. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 17 July 2022].

The Dermatology Review. 2022. Skinminimalism: Everything You Need To Know – The Dermatology Review. [ONLINE] Available at:,and%20healthy%2Dlooking%20complexion%20either.. [Accessed 17 July 2022].

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History of Skincare

In Ancient Egypt, China, India and among many indigenous peoples the world over, cosmetic preparations were made to adorn, purify and cleanse the body, to ease skin conditions, for use in religion, to attract the opposite sex, or to ward off enemies in battle. Ancient knowledge was transcribed and preserved, whether orally or in texts. Archaeological finds in China and study of ancient Indian herbal cosmetics demonstrate the vast knowledge of plant extracts in addressing skin conditions. Some of these ancient formulae are still in use by some rural women in the interior of India while others form part of the Ayurveda branch of medicine.

The oldest known written formulation was discovered on a 5,000-year old Egyptian scroll entitled “Transforming an old man into a youth”. A US dermatologist with an interest in Egyptology, had the formulation analysed and later patented the knowledge he gained from the scroll and now runs a successful skincare line based on this discovery.

The Ancient Egyptians used castor, sesame, and moringa oils to fight wrinkles and preserve their youth. They also made a soap paste out of clay and olive oil to cleanse their skin, used honey and milk masks to moisturise their skin, took milk baths and used dead sea salts to exfoliate, rejuvenate, and heal their skin.

In Ancient Greece, precious oils, perfumes, cosmetic powders, eye shadows, skin glosses, paints, and hair dyes were used extensively. They made their own skincare products using local, natural ingredients. One of the most widely used skincare treatments was mixing fresh berries with milk, and then applying the paste to the face. The Ancient Greeks also used olives and olive oil as exfoliants and moisturizers, and honey with milk and yogurt were used as anti-aging preparations.

Archaeologists discovered a well-preserved Roman face cream dating back to 150 A.D. when excavating a site in London. It was analysed and found to contain animal fats, starch and tin oxide. Many cosmetics today still use starch, tallow and plant fats.

The collapse of ancient civilisations, then battles among tribes in Europe and the Middle East took their toll on sites like the library of Alexandria, Egypt, and other document archives in places like Athens. Most of what we know of medieval cosmetics and botany was rescued, researched and documented by the Arabs. Their knowledge then passed throughout Europe from around 800 A.D. to Renaissance times.

Spain, thanks to its Arab population in the early Middle Ages was a great centre of learning and of scientific advances and it is thought from there that the process of distillation spread throughout Europe. The oldest distillation apparatus discovered was in Mesopotamia, now present-day Iraq and Kuwait and parts of present-day Iran, Syria and Turkey. Monasteries in countries like Italy and France translated Arabic texts to gain the knowledge of plants and their herbal medicinal and cosmetic properties. Although the Middle Ages are often considered dark ages, many achievements of phytotherapy (the practice of using medicines derived from plants or herbs to treat or prevent health conditions) were recorded in medieval times.

During the 12th century, medieval Europe made cosmetics consisting of animal fats. Aloe vera, rosemary, and cucumbers to cleanse the skin. Seeds, leaves, and flowers were also mixed with honey to create face masks, and vinegar was used as an astringent.

Women in the Renaissance period (14th – 17th century) began using cosmetic preparations for pleasure, not just to “cure” skin issues. These preparations included silver, mercury, lead, and chalk to colour their faces. Most of the skin care practices were the same as the medieval period, and women primarily relied on herbs and honey to cleanse and rejuvenate their skin. Some other skin care remedies included using broom stalks to cleanse the skin and oatmeal boiled in vinegar to treat pimples. Bread soaked in rose water was also used to soothe puffy eyes.

The opening up of trade with the New World, the Americas, as well as Silk Road trade from the East to Venice, brought more exotic ingredients to Europe to include in cosmetics. From history we see the formulations from this period have many similarities with modern gels, scrubs, oils, toners and washes. However, many bizarre and often deadly ingredients were included such as arsenic and lead, which were in use in cosmetics from the mid 1500s to at least the late 1700s as women desired the pale skin these ingredients induced.

The popularity of pale skin spread across Europe and the demand for lead- based skin and makeup products increased. European women, including Queen Elizabeth I, used lead mixed with vinegar to make a whitening foundation to remove freckles. During the Elizabethan Era, bathing was not in fashion, in fact, men and women rarely washed their faces and body. To keep their skin looking pale, they would just add a new layer of powder over the old. As the cosmetic layer became difficult to wash off, people started experimenting with everything from rainwater, donkey’s milk, red wine and urine to take their makeup off.

During the Baroque Era (1600 – 1750), women believed in saunas and sweat cleansing. Milk baths were also used for smoother, clearer skin. Make up during this time was intended to look like paint, and heavy makeup was considered more respectable. Rouge was very popular, and in the 1780s and lips were reddened with distilled alcohol or vinegar.

Exercise, cleanliness, and skincare were all held in high regard during the 1800s. Zinc oxide was used to lighten skin, but often caused allergic reactions. Hygiene products became less expensive and more accessible. Harsh cleansers were often used as well as egg yolks, honey and oatmeal to soften the skin and help diminish blemishes. Lemon juice was also used to naturally bleach the skin a few shades lighter. During this time Chapstick, Vaseline, and baby powder were invented.

Because nineteenth-century Americans subscribed to an idealised version of “natural” beauty, the use of cosmetics to give the appearance of a white, smooth, clear complexion was looked upon as false and indecent. Women were supposed to “earn” their good complexion through good health practices and moral living. Powders and lotions often advertised themselves as “invisible” in order to satisfy the moral prohibition on artificial beauty. Women often secretly sought and used cosmetic skin preparations, of which many often contained toxic mercury, arsenic, and lead in an attempt to get closer to the ideal complexion. Though doctors and women’s magazines railed against the dangers of these cosmetics, many women likely believed manufacturers’ packaging claims that their cosmetic products were “perfectly safe.”

The 1900s was an explosion in terms of accessible skincare for women. The rise of modern skincare started with the formation of the FDA (Food and Drug Administraion) in 1906 to regulate the industry. During this time, Sunscreen was invented and L’Oreal, Elizabeth Arden, Max Factor, Ponds, Oil of Olay, Clinique and Maybelline all launched a range of skin care products and the cosmetic world as we now know it, began to take shape. 

The 1980s saw a rise in all natural skincare products. Burt’s Bees line was launched in the 1980s. 

In 2002, the FDA approved Botox (a drug made from a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, the same toxin that causes the food poisoning called botulism) for frown lines on the face. 

But many modern “breakthroughs” in skincare have actually been used over centuries, such as Gua Sha.

Many ancient civilisations were experts at using a range of plants we commonly use in natural formulation today. Before the mass-marketing of cosmetic products, women often made their own skin care preparations from recipes passed to them through mothers, friends, or women’s magazines. These recipes promised to remove freckles and uneven redness, to calm rashes, or to reverse damage done by wind and sunburn. 

Today, more consumers are seeking natural products, with plant based ingredients, that come from organic and sustainable farms and methods. Skinimalism is a trend that is seeing more people opting for simpler skin-care routines and a minimalistic approach. They are coming to realise that less is more when it comes to skin care and that using too many products doesn’t guarantee effective results; it can sometimes even do the opposite. A 12-step skin care routine can not only be time consuming and expensive, it also does not necessarily yield better results. By keeping your skin hydrated and protected, along with a healthy diet, exercise and avoiding pollutants, can make a big difference.


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What is Sustainable Farming?

Sustainable does not mean the same thing as organic, and vice versa. Organic farming employs no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides are applied to any crops or fed to any animals through non-organic feed sources and is a subset of sustainable agriculture.

Although practiced by conscientious farmers since day one, the term sustainable agriculture didn’t come into widespread use until the 1980s. The definition of sustainable agriculture is not easy to define. It is both a philosophy and a set of farming practices. If there is a single overarching goal in sustainable agriculture, it is to work with natural processes rather than against them and to be able to meet society’s food and textile needs in the present while also ensuring that the natural resources are available and viable in the long term for future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainable agriculture employs natural processes to address issues like soil fertility, water management, crop management, energy management and waste management. It also practices respect for animal life, limits the use of potentially harmful chemicals, makes efficient use of non-renewable resources and works to enhance the quality of life of farming communities and the larger society. This also includes a focus on mental health for farmers, their workers and their families

While conventional farms might boost soil fertility with chemical fertilizers, a sustainable farm will use the farm’s own animals to provide manure for composting, practice crop rotation, plant disease-resistant crops and companion plants to attract beneficial insects that ward off invasive pests. Animals are also allowed to freely graze on their natural diet rather than confined to pens and fed corn or other potentially processed food.

In essence farmers simply use what nature provides and do not rely on potentially harmful chemicals. Some farmers and food activists believe the definition of sustainable agriculture should go even further. For them, the goal is not only to minimize environmental degradation, but to improve the land and the health of the broader ecosystem.

Those practicing sustainable agriculture seek to integrate three main objectives into their work: a healthy environment, economic profitability, and social and economic equity. Every person involved in the food system: growers, food processors, distributors, retailers, consumers, and waste managers; can play a role in ensuring a sustainable agricultural system.

Many of Australia’s agricultural sectors have developed sustainability frameworks to guide and monitor the sustainability of industry practices into the future. Other sectors have developed tools which ensure that best practice is used on farms. These industry-led initiatives demonstrate Australia’s commitment to systems of production which prioritise the health of the environment, the welfare of animals and safe and nutritious food.

The National Farmers’ Federation has developed resources on a range of sustainability and environmental programs and resources supported by agricultural industry bodies.

At a state level, Australia lacks a definitive framework and policy guideline on what counts as sustainability. Implementing a framework is believed to be a necessary step forward in the country’s sustainability efforts in the face of climate and biodiversity crises.


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HowStuffWorks. 2022. Goals of Sustainable Agriculture | HowStuffWorks. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 08 July 2022]. 2022. Sustainable Farming in Australia. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 08 July 2022].

National Farmers’ Federation. 2022. Sustainability Initiatives​ – National Farmers’ Federation. [ONLINE] Available at:,stewardship%20in%20order%20to%20survive.. [Accessed 08 July 2022].

Photo Credit Gabriel Jimenez

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What is Vegan Skincare?

While you don’t have to be a vegan or follow a vegan diet to be interested in the benefits vegan skincare delivers for your skin. 

By definition, vegan skin care products are not produced from animal products or an animal by product. This means that many traditional ingredients are not used, such as; carmine or cochineal extract (dried, crushed beetles), lanolin (sheep wool grease), emu oil, fish scales/guanine, buttermilk, honey, beeswax, royal jelly, silk, squalene (shark liver oil), collagen, gelatin (bones, tendons or ligaments) and ambergris (whale vomit).

And while vegan products are almost always cruelty-free, cruelty-free products are not always vegan. For example, a cruelty-free, organic lip balm may contain beeswax and so will not be vegan. So, if you’re looking for products that fall into both categories, you need to check for both the vegan and cruelty-free disclaimer.

You may also think that vegan skin care products are organic or natural since they are from plant-based ingredients. But that’s not necessarily the case, as they can sometimes use synthetic colours or fragrances. As a result you would need to look for the organic and natural disclaimers as well as vegan and cruelty free.

Organic not only means that the product was grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), it is a holistic means of growing and handling the product that takes into consideration soil, plants, animals, food, people and the environment. 

The term ‘natural,’ usually means that the product does not contain anything artificial or synthetic.

A lot of the same ingredients that we eat are used in skincare. And if they are good to eat, they are usually good to put on your skin. Plant derived ingredients are thought to contain more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which aid in repairing and hydrating the skin. 

For example, foods that are rich in Vitamin C such as oranges and the Kakadu Plum (which has the highest known Vitamin C concentration of any single natural food source in the world), help to protect and support the skin cells, reduce inflammation, strengthen, and lessen hyper-pigmentation. The added benefits of ellagic acid and gallic acid in the Kakadu Plum is known to encourage collagen production and skin repair and help to reduce inflammation.

But, as I have said before, just because something is natural, organic or plant-derived does not mean you won’t have a reaction or be allergic to it. Remember belladonna and stinging nettle?

So if you’re prone to breakouts or irritations, the best approach to any skincare products is to test your target product on a small area of skin before applying it on your entire face or body.


Healthline. 2022. Everything You Need to Know to Start a Natural Skin Care Routine. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 12 June 2022].

Kadee Botanicals. 2022. Vegan Skincare Benefits Your Skin and the Planet – Kadee Botanicals. [ONLINE] Available at:,kinder%2C%20safer%20world%20for%20animals.. [Accessed 12 June 2022].

Why You Should Care About Vegan Beauty – The New York Times. 2022. Why You Should Care About Vegan Beauty – The New York Times. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 12 June 2022]. 2022. 10 Remarkable Advantages of Vegan Skincare – [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 12 June 2022].

Callahan, C. (2019) What is vegan skin care and is it better for you?, TODAY. Available at: (Accessed: June 12, 2022).

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What is a Bi-Phase Makeup Remover

What is a Bi-Phase Makeup Remover?

A Bi-phase, two-phase or dual-phase makeup remover consists of an oily layer on top of a water based layer. As you would expect with oil and water together, they don’t mix but sit separated in the bottle unless shaken.

The rules of basic chemistry tells us that like dissolves like. Most make-up and facial grime is both water-based and oil-based. For that reason, a cleanser needs to be a combination of both oil and water to work effectively.

When you shake the bottle, the water and oil mix (just like when you shake a salad dressing to combine). After mixing together, some of the activated bi-phase product is usually sprayed onto a facial wipe and lightly swept over the face to remove any make-up and dirt. The oily phase dissolves makeup while the aqueous phase wipes away any water soluble particles and the oily film, so that the skin does not end up greasy. There is no need to rub it in and you should always take care around the eye, where the skin is extremely fragile.

As well as removing grime and makeup, bi-phase cleansers are moisturising and can be enriched with glycerine and botanicals to provide added skin benefits. They are suited to all skin types, people with sensitive skin and eyes, contact lenses wearers, and waterproof makeup wearers. It is also very effective on stage and dance makeup. The simplicity of its ingredients means that it will quickly remove eye makeup without the need to rub and, therefore, irritate your eyelids.

A Bi-phase makeup remover doesn’t need to be a complicated mix of ingredients and because of this it is easy to find or make a natural blend to care for the skin.

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What is a Facial Cleansing Bar?

What is a facial cleansing bar?

Last time I wrote about surfactants and how all surfactants are not created equal. Today I would like to talk about facial cleansers, in particular cleansing bars. If someone told you they washed their face with soap, you would be right to be concerned. Traditional bar soap strips away the skin’s natural protective barrier. This is because soap has an alkaline pH of around 9 – 10. It leaves your skin sensitised and dehydrated. This is why you shouldn’t use soap to cleanse the delicate skin on your face or wash your hair. A face cleanser should compliment the skin’s natural acidic pH with a pH between pH 4 – 6, so it does not strip protective oils. Most shampoos have a pH of 6 – 7, again so as not to strip the scalp and hair of protective oils.

A cleansing bar’s solid format means they don’t need plastic packaging, and they won’t spill in your bag. They travel well, as you can put them in a re-usable soap caddy or aluminium tin to take to the gym or a week away. While they might look like soap in the form of a solid bar, a cleansing bar doesn’t contain any soap. They are a solid, low-waste version of a traditional liquid cleanser or face wash.

They can provide gentle yet effective cleansing because of their combination of mild surfactants and moisturising ingredients and they can contain different botanical ingredients to cater for different skin needs. Additionally, because they are a solid bar, they are not made up of up to 80% water, like traditional liquid facial cleansers.

Cleansing bars are just as easy to use as regular bar soap. Just wet the cleansing bar, lather it up between your hands, then apply the lather over your face and rinse. Cleansing bars will remove makeup as well as clean the skin of grime, excess sebum and other impurities.

It’s best to store your cleansing bar in a well-drained or dry area, away from water. Leaving it in the shower where it can continuously get wet, will not only cause it to dissolve quicker but it could potentially encourage mould and bacteria, which you don’t want to make its way onto your face.


Healthline. (2021). Is Using Bar Soap on Your Face Good or Bad? What to Know. [online] Available at:…/beauty…/bar-soap-on-face… [Accessed 12 Apr. 2022].

Nast, C. (2021). Cleansing bars are a convenient and sustainable alternative for every skin type. [online] Glamour UK. Available at:…/best-facial… [Accessed 12 Apr. 2022]. (n.d.). 5 Best Facial Cleansing Bars | Grove Collaborative. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Apr. 2022]. (n.d.). What is the difference between soap & cleanser? | Mi:Skin Beauty. [online] Available at:…/… [Accessed 13 Apr. 2022].

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What is a Surfactant?

What is a surfactant?

The word “surfactant” is an abbreviation of surface active agent. Surfactants stir up activity on the surface you are cleaning to help trap dirt and remove it. They are the key ingredient in cleaning products.

If you are interested, keep reading for a mini chemistry lesson.

The chemistry bit: There are four different types of surfactants; nonionic, anionic, cationic, amphoteric. All four types of surfactants lower surface tension, but they have different compositions and polarity, and because of this they act differently and have different purposes. They can be used as emulsifiers, wetting agents, foaming agents, anti-foaming agents, and dispersants and are found in products including inks, soaps, detergents, waxes, paints and so much more.

A soap molecule has a hydrophilic (water loving) head and a lipophilic (oil loving) tail. The hydrophilic head of each surfactant is electrically charged. The charge can be negative, positive, or neutral. The charge of the hydrophilic head classifies the surfactant as anionic, nonionic, cationic or amphoteric.

What are different types of surfactants used for?

Anionic Surfactants – Anionic surfactants have a negative charge and can be found in products such as laundry & dish detergents, toothpaste, shampoo, body soaps, and other bath products.

Nonionic Surfactants – Are neutral and are very good at emulsifying oils and are better than anionic surfactants at removing organic soils. The two are frequently used together to create “dual-action” or “multi-purpose” cleaners that can not only lift and suspend soil partiles, but also emulsify oily soils. These surfactants are often used as wetting agents or in coatings. Various products that these are used in include polishes, cleaners and fragrances.

Cationic Surfactants – Cationic surfactants have a positive charge which allows them the ability to disturb and penetrate the cell membrane of viruses and bacteria, due to their positive charge. For this reason, cationic surfactants are often used in antimicrobial and antifungal products, but they are also used in anti-static and conditioning products.

Amphoteric Surfactants – These surfactants possess properties of both cationic and anionic surfactants, in that they they have a dual charge on their hydrophilic end, both positive and negative. Amphoteric surfactants have quick dry properties and are often used in paint and latex products to help them dry or coagulate quicker. Most types of soaps and detergents that you use everyday are anionic surfactants.

So remember above where I mentioned that a soap molecule has a hydrophilic (water loving) head and a lipophilic (oil loving) tail? When there are a sufficient amount of surfactant molecules present in a solution, they combine together to form structures called micelles. Ever heard of micellar water cleansers?

As the micelle forms, the surfactant heads position themselves so they are exposed to water, while the tails are grouped together in the center of the structure protected from water. Essentially the oil loving tails attach to greasy dirt and grime, which is then pulled away by the water loving heads when you rinse, leaving the washed surface clean.

So that is how they work, what are they made of?

Traditional soap is a result of reacting fats (E.G. coconut, olive or other vegetable derivatives or animal fats such as tallow) with sodium or potassium hydroxide (Lye). Commercial surfactants such as the biodegradable Sodium cocoyl isethionate (SCI) is a surfactant based on fatty acids from coconut oil and isoethionic acid, a type of sulfonic acid. We sometimes lump everything together under the same heading of “soap” and while some products may look like soap E.G. shampoo and cleansing bars, they don’t actually contain any “soap”.

Traditional bar soap strips away the skin’s natural protective barrier. This is because soap has an alkaline pH of around 9 – 10. It leaves your skin sensitised and dehydrated. Even castile soap has a high pH of 8.9. This is why you shouldn’t use soap to cleanse the delicate skin on your face, or use it to wash your hair.

A face cleanser should compliment the skin’s natural acidic pH with a pH between pH 4 – 6, so it does not strip protective oils. Most shampoos have a pH of 6 – 7, again so as not to strip the scalp and hair of protective oils.

Thanks for sticking with me for the mini-chemistry lesson. The point of all this is that not all surfactants are created equal. Choose the right product for the job and know your ingredients.


Healthline. (2021). Is Using Bar Soap on Your Face Good or Bad? What to Know. [online] Available at:…/beauty…/bar-soap-on-face… [Accessed 12 Apr. 2022]. (n.d.). What is the difference between soap & cleanser? | Mi:Skin Beauty. [online] Available at:…/… [Accessed 13 Apr. 2022].‌

Aussie Soap Supplies. (n.d.). Surfactants – What are they? [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Apr. 2022].‌ (n.d.). Types of Surfactants – Surfactant Use – What Are Surfactants. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Apr. 2022].‌

EWG. (n.d.). EWG Skin Deep® | What is SODIUM COCOYL ISETHIONATE. [online] Available at:…/706048-sodium-cocoyl-isethionate/ [Accessed 15 Apr. 2022].‌

Hayes, D.G. (2017). Chapter 11 – Fatty Acids–Based Surfactants and Their Uses. [online] ScienceDirect. Available at:…/pii/B9780128095218000131 [Accessed 15 Apr. 2022].‌

Shapiro, J. (2018). An Easy Guide to Understanding Surfactants – International Products Corporation. [online] International Products Corporation. Available at:…/an-easy-guide-to-understanding…/ [Accessed 15 Apr. 2022].