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What is a Face Oil?

Night time facial care is especially beneficial for mature skin. As we mature, our skin goes through changes, fine lines develop, the skin gets drier, becomes less supple and we produce less natural oil and therefore less nutrients such as lipids and fatty acids. We also lose a lot of water during our sleep, during winter and when exposed to air conditioning for long periods. 

Healthy bodies need healthy fats and healthy skin needs essential fatty acids. Fatty acids, taken internally and applied to the skin, assist with hydration. I am just going to talk about topical application today, but eating well and choosing foods that will assist with hydrating your skin will only compliment any nourishing facial oils in helping to keep mature skin supple and looking more youthful. 

Oils are packed with nutrients such as:

💧 Antioxidants, to help reduce inflammation and redness, prevent water loss and keep the skin plump. Antioxidants boost collagen production and strengthen skin elasticity, which in turn helps to reduce fine lines.

💧 Phytosterols, which helps skin regulate transepidermal water loss.

💧 Essential fatty acids which are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes. They also help produce the skin’s natural oil barrier, which is essential in keeping the skin hydrated, plumper, and younger looking.

💧 A high oleic content (Omega 9 fatty acid), will mean an oil is quick absorbing and won’t leave your skin feeling oily. It will penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and help moisturise dry skin.

If you have oily skin, trying to remove oil from your skin can cause your skin to produce more oil to compensate, creating a vicious cycle. Some oils can help balance your skin’s oil production, they dissolve excess sebum and remove grime and fats from pores. Keep an eye out for future posts about different oil types and their properties.

Facial oils don’t have to be expensive or full of lots of fancy ingredients. I was chatting to a lovely lady of 76 the other day and since the age of 18 she had been using only caster oil on her skin to remove makeup and moisturise and she had lovely skin for her age. It comes down to what works for you, and your budget.

Do some research, find out what ingredients might be beneficial to help your concerns E.G. dryness, redness, fine lines etc. Try some samples with different ingredients and see what works best for your skin. Then, once you have found a product you are happy with, as with most skincare, make sure you use it regularly.

Before bed is a great time to apply a facial oil, so that it can create an occlusive (barrier) layer on top of the skin and then the oils can penetrate into the deeper layers while you sleep, helping to repair overnight and provide protection throughout the next day. 

You can apply a facial oil and gently dabbing or patting it on with your fingers, but they are great to combine with gua sha at the end of your night-time facial routine. Not sure what or how to Gua Sha? 

Here is a great video to show you how it’s done: 

Facial Gua Sha and Acupressure Massage | Gothamista

References: (n.d.). Facial Gua Sha and Acupressure Massage | Gothamista. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Feb. 2022].

‌Dallmeier, L. (2016). How to make a Night-Time Facial Oil for Mature Skin. [online] Formula Botanica. Available at: [Accessed 12 Feb. 2022].

‌Dermstore. (2017). How to Use Face Oils Correctly. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Feb. 2022].

‌ (n.d.). Are face oils right for you? Here’s everything you need to know. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Feb. 2022].

‌Healthline. (2017). 5 Best Oils for Your Skin. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Feb. 2022].

‌Healthline. (2017). Carrier Oil: Types, Use, and More. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Feb. 2022].

‌Byrdie. (n.d.). Everything You Need to Know About Using Carrier Oils for Skin. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Feb. 2022].

‌Fries, W.C. (n.d.). Natural Skin Care: The Skinny on Fats and Your Skin. [online] WebMD. Available at: [Accessed 27 Feb. 2022].

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What is NATURAL Skincare?

What is Natural Skincare?

To start with, there is no legal definition of the word ‘natural’. So, ‘natural’ can mean different things to different people. In the beauty and cosmetic industries, there is discussion around four levels or “shades” of natural.

These are:

🌿 As natural as you can get – The product or ingredient is harvested and maintains its original chemical shape and structure (changes are made to the physical shape/structure only) – E.G. cold processed oil such as apricot kernel oil.

🌿 Naturally derived – the harvested ingredient has undergone a chemical reaction(s) such as fermentation or hydrolysis. It includes ingredients such as emulsifiers, preservatives and others. An example of this is Sclerotium Gum.

🌿 Nature Identical – the ingredient is synthetically processed and is identical to the ingredient found in nature. A great example of this is citric acid. This ingredient is used in many different industries around the world and it is not cost effective or sustainable to produce the amounts needed by deriving it straight from citrus fruits. It is almost impossible to find a naturally derived citric acid.

🌿 Synthetic mimic – derived from natural ingredients and manipulated to mimic a synthetic molecule or ingredient E.G. Glycol. These products replace those that are traditionally created from mineral oil and are used in preservatives, humectants etc.

However, just because something is made in a lab, doesn’t mean it’s toxic, and just because something’s completely natural, doesn’t mean it’s not harmful. Think about poison ivy, stinging nettle and Australian gympie, all are natural yet harmful to the skin and for some, can be fatal to touch.

Some citrus-based extracts like lemon and orange can be irritating, especially for those with sensitive skin. Citrus oils can also be phototoxic and if left on the skin while in the sun may cause sunburn, blisters, and other skin problems. Hyaluronic acid can be derived from either a natural source (animals) or replicated in a lab to create an identical synthetic ingredient using plant material. The result is the same, the only difference is how the ingredient is sourced or manufactured.

I’m sure you have seen and heard products and articles telling you to avoid synthetic ingredients such as mineral oil, SLS, phenoxyethanol, PEGs and parabens. And there is valid scientific evidence to support these claims.

But, not all synthetics are bad (remember citric acid I mentioned above) and some synthetic ingredients are mandatory for safe skincare, such as preservatives. No one wants mold or bacteria in their products. It also isn’t practical to store all our skincare in the fridge and replace it each week because we don’t want to use preservatives.

Having said that, there are types of preservatives that are safer than others, derived from plant materials and not petrochemicals.

So where does Less Than Three – Naturally stand in this debate?

We prefer to use natural, plant based products such as cold pressed oils, essential oils, extracts, hydrosols, CO2 extracts, glycerites etc.

We use organic if we have a choice. Organic not only means the plants are grown without the use of harmful chemicals or pesticides, but by definition organic also means a holistic and sustainable farming process. Organic ingredients can offer higher levels of nutrients. Researchers have found that plants can boost their production of phytochemicals to strengthen their resistance to bugs and weeds when faced with fewer pesticides.

We believe there is a place for both natural and synthetic ingredients in skincare. It is important to remember that the topic is not black and white and it is far better to educate yourself with ingredients that have evidence based research and choose what you are comfortable with using. This applies to all ingredients that have been clinically tested, regardless of their source. It simply means that there have been robust, scientific clinical trials done on the ingredients. If a skincare product doesn’t list all it’s ingredients, you should ask yourself why?

A great resource to check the ingredients in your skincare is the Environmental Working Group SkinDeep database

This blog post has been created to give our point of view on a very murky subject. It is not created to cast doubt on any other’s choice of products and ingredients.

Photo Credit: Kimia Zarifi


Perez, G.O. (2018). Green Beauty Influencers on Natural Ingredients They Avoid. [online] Formula Botanica. Available at: [Accessed 20 Feb. 2022].
‌Barański, M., Średnicka-Tober, D., Volakakis, N., Seal, C., Sanderson, R., Stewart, G.B., Benbrook, C., Biavati, B., Markellou, E., Giotis, C., Gromadzka-Ostrowska, J., Rembiałkowska, E., Skwarło-Sońta, K., Tahvonen, R., Janovská, D., Niggli, U., Nicot, P. and Leifert, C. (2014). Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. British Journal of Nutrition, [online] 112(05), pp.794–811. Available at: [Accessed 20 Feb. 2022]. (n.d.). Organic and Sustainable: What’s the difference? – Ra Food. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Feb. 2022].

‌ (n.d.). Who uses the IFRA Standards. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Feb. 2022].

‌Perez, G.O. (2018). Episode 8: Why 100% Natural Claims Could Get You Into Trouble. [online] Formula Botanica. Available at: [Accessed 20 Feb. 2022].

‌Perez, G.O. (2018). Episode 2: Are you looking for Chemical Free Cosmetics? [online] Formula Botanica. Available at: [Accessed 20 Feb. 2022].

‌Perez, G.O. (2018). Episode 1: What Does Natural Skincare Mean? [online] Formula Botanica. Available at:‌ (2021). Is natural skincare really better for you? – ABC Everyday. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Feb. 2022].

‌Study Breaks. (2021). Natural Ingredients Are Not Always Better in Skincare. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Feb. 2022].

‌ (2011). [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Feb. 2022].

‌The London Skin Clinic. (2017). Truths about “natural skincare.” [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Feb. 2022].

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Skincare – what should you apply when?

Most of us know about the three basic skincare steps; cleanse, tone, moisturise. But where do things like serums, spot treatments and sunscreen go? Some regimes talk about up to ten steps, and if that’s your thing, great! Me, I prefer a simpler routine, but it is purely personal and what works for you. So how do you choose what order in your routine to put the products in?

Your morning routine will probably be a little different to your evening routine, so let’s start with morning.

Basic Morning Routine:

☀️ Cleanse. This can include oil or water based cleansers to remove grime and residue that’s built up overnight. You can then also use an exfoliator or mask, but these should not be used every day and also not if your skin is irritated.

☀️ Tone. Toning removes any residual cleanser and prepares your skin for moisturising.

☀️ Moisturise. This hydrates and sets up protection for the skin for the day. It can come in the form of creams, gels, serums or balms. The basic rule is to apply water-based products before oil-based and go from lightest to thickest. Wait around 30 seconds between each application to help them absorb before adding the next layer. This is to avoid the oil-based products creating a barrier and blocking out the water-based products.

☀️ Sunscreen. It’s essential for protecting the skin against the damaging effects of the sun. Not only can it lower your risk of skin cancer, but it can also reduce signs of aging by blocking damaging UV light.

☀️ Makeup if you choose to wear it.

Basic Evening Routine:

🌙 Cleanse. This should include a makeup remover, oil-based or water-based, or a combination of both such as a Bi-Phase cleanser. It is best to either use one of each (oil-based first) or a two-in-one to ensure you are removing any oil soluble makeup and grime and any build up of dirt.

🌙 Tone. Toning removes any residual cleanser and prepares your skin for moisturising.

🌙 Spot treatment. If required, treat breakouts at night with anti-inflammatory and drying products so that your skin has a better opportunity to repair overnight.

🌙 Moisturise. This can be a night cream, serum, oil or sleep mask, you can add in an eye cream here as well. These are designed to be left on overnight to aid cell repair and hydration as you sleep. So what is my routine?

Here is what I use each day:


🌼Chamomile & Geranium cleansing bar (coming soon) or Desert Lime & Pineapple exfoliating cleanser

🌼Chamomile Toner

🌼Bakuchiol Serum

🌼Blue Tansy Moisturiser


🌺Chamomile Bi-phase makeup remover

🌺Chamomile Toner

🌺Spot treatment on hormone and maskne spots if needed

🌺Facial Night Oil

Adore Beauty | Australia’s Online Beauty Store. (n.d.). When Should I Apply a Facial Oil? According to Experts. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Feb. 2022].‌

Healthline. (2021). How to Apply Your Skin Care Products in the Right Order. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Feb. 2022].‌ (n.d.). Are face oils right for you? Here’s everything you need to know. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Feb. 2022].‌

Nast, C. (2021). Your Every Question About Layering Skin-Care Products, Answered. [online] Allure. Available at: [Accessed 12 Feb. 2022].‌

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What is Maskne?

Maskne (pronounced mask-nee and sometimes spelled mask-ne or mascne) is a blend of the words “mask” and “acne.” The term first appeared in everyday use during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 to refer to acne and other rashes of the face that occur in association with mask wearing. As if coping with a global pandemic wasn’t enough, our first world problems now include our glasses constantly fogging up and acne and rashes caused by our masks!
Here is a bit about what maskne is and how we can try and treat it.

Maske is not a new thing. Before the pandemic, it was commonly experienced by athletes who wore helmets or professionals required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE).

Maskne is said to be a result of the constant pressure and friction of mask wearing that causes micro-tears in the skin, this then allows bacteria and dirt easier access to clog up pores. Add to this the increased humidity caused by breathing and the environment is ideal for breakouts, rashes and redness.

For some, now wearing a mask on a daily basis is non-negotiable. So what can we do about it?
The reading I have done points to these key steps to avoid the build-up of bacteria.

😷 Choose the right cloth mask. Look for masks made from soft, breathable fabric such as cotton. Avoid synthetic fabrics such as nylon or polyester as they are more likely to irritate your face. Make sure the mask fits properly. Too small or tight and it will cause irritation. Too big or loose and you may be continually readjusting it and potentially transferring bacteria from your hands to your face.

🩲 Wash your cloth masks every day. Treat your masks like your undies and wash them after you wear them, to remove oli and bacteria from the inside of the mask. Hang them to dry in the sun as the UV light will help to kill bacteria. If you use disposable masks, don’t reuse them.

👏 Make hygiene number one. Sanitise your hands before and after putting on and taking off a mask, and, once your mask is on, don’t touch it or your face.

🤗 Take care of your skin. It’s important to maintain a regular skincare routine, but take things gently. Wearing a face mask can make skin more sensitive, so avoid harsher cleansers such as exfoliants or chemical peels on areas that the mask touches. Use a gentle cleanser and moisturiser to protect your skin’s natural barrier and help it to heal. Dermatologists recommend choosing a moisturiser that contains ingredients such as hyaluronic acid to provide protection and hydration. Also wait until the evening to use spot treatments, so your skin has a better opportunity to repair overnight. Keep your makeup light, or if you can, don’t wear any under the mask area, as it can block pores.

My favorite product in the fight against maske is Bakuchiol serum. It is lightweight and rich in antioxidants and designed for calming redness. Bakuchiol is known to stimulate collagen production which has the benefit of increasing the skin’s elasticity and resilience. Because of this, it has been found to assist with treating fine lines, breakouts and dark spots. It is also known to prevent the process of lipid peroxidation (oxidative degradation of lipids resulting in cell damage) in the skin’s sebum by keeping the acid mantle active. This reduces the overproduction of bacteria on the skin’s surface and thus helps to reduce breakouts.

If you have made it this far, thanks for staying and reading 😘

Stay safe and be kind. The Less Than Three – Naturally Team

Photo Credit: Engin Akyurt

References: (n.d.). 9 ways to prevent face mask skin problems. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Feb. 2022].
Wikipedia. (2022). Maskne. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Jan. 2022].
‌ (n.d.). Maskne Causes and How to Avoid It | Flora & Fauna. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Jan. 2022].‌Mandatory mask rules leads to rise in skin condition known as “maskne”, experts say. (2021). ABC News. [online] 21 Jul. Available at: [Accessed 26 Jan. 2022].
‌Tan, Y. (2020). How masks and acne created new makeup trends. BBC News. [online] 25 Jul. Available at: [Accessed 7 Feb. 2022].
Photo Credit Engin Akyurt
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Do you really know what is in your skincare?

I want to focus today on an ingredient that is in hundreds of skincare, haircare and household cleaning products called ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’.

Now, those words sound pretty innocent, but the word “fragrance” or “parfum” on the product label represents an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance dispersants such as diethyl phthalate (1evidence of reproductive toxicity and endocrine disruption). These fragrance mixes have been associated with 2allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system. They have no functional purpose and are only added to make the product smell ‘nice’. That smell gives me an instant headache when I walk down the cleaning aisle in the supermarket and many others have more severe reactions to synthetic fragrances. We are washing ourselves and our clothes in these chemicals, spraying them around the house and putting them on our skin!

This is the reason Less Than Three – Naturally began creating natural skincare; so that I knew exactly what was in my products and what I was putting on my skin, so that I could minimise the exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.

Skincare doesn’t have to be plain and boring to avoid the harmful chemicals. I love using native botanical extracts such as Quandong (known to have great anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties) and wattle seed (used to soothe and calm irritated skin) and pure essential oils such as Tasmania White Kunzea for arthritis relief. Have a look in the shop for more detailed information on the ingredients used.


  1. EWG Skin Deep – diethyl phthalate, viewed 06 June 2021
  2. EWG Skin Deep – Fragrance, viewed 06 June 2021

Photo by Danilo Alvesd on Unsplash