Monday, March 30

Promising Yellow: Walk Talk and Live with the Animals!

Lately I've been a little obsessed with all things Attenborough. Netflix has a bunch of nature documentaries narrated by the lovely David Attenborough and his iconic breathy voice. Africa, Planet Earth, Life of Mammals etc. Full of beautiful shots, amazing stories and the ups and downs of our world in all it's glorious and brutal nature. But the amount of comfort and joy I get from watching a Lion or Meerkat simply go about its day-to-day business got me wondering about why?

My venue of choice for nature documentaries is the plains of the Kalahari; lions, meerkats, elephants, giraffes, antelope and all those other weird and wonderful creatures with strange names that I can never remember!! Today's technology allows for more stunning shots than ever and I love sweeping vistas of the plains at sunset when the big cats are lying around and unusual-shaped trees are silhouetted against the hugest orange sun I could imagine. It's almost like I'm just hanging out with the lions, watching their world fall asleep.

Back when I was younger watching these programmes my parents and I would make-up funny inner monologues of the animals, comparing monkeys to people we knew, giggling at the weird things the creatures did and cheering on a little deer-like creature or bunny when it got away from the predator. There's just something about these beautiful animals that is so separate from our world but so similar to us; they reflect human behaviour and to see that in the hands of an otter or a bird is so funny and at once I feel connected to their stories and little personalities.

Completely honest and unapologetic, the animals keep doing what they've always done. A wildebeest is killed by a lioness, the lions eat him, the herd carries on munching grass, it seems so apathetic and yet it's nature! Their worries are basic; find food, find water, don't get eaten, find someone to mate with, defend babies from attackers.

By contrast our own worries are, well; my tummy is wobbly, get a job that sounds impressive, my eyeshadow keeps creasing, petrol is expensive, which wine did I like? Shall I put 2 kisses on this text or no kisses at all! Oh no, I've run out of retinol cream?! My car is dirty, I should to take extract of spirulina, I look awful in that photo, 5 days with just a carry-on? Did I wear this outfit last time? I hate this phone, I neeeeeed to buy that album!!

Saturday, March 28

Make it work for you - How to exfoliate for the best skin of your life!

As soft and silky as our face feels after physical exfoliation, our skin doesn't like it. If we could zoom into our red skin we'd see all the little skin cells looking sunburned and crying! But without it, the new skin cells would be smothered by the old dead ones laying on top and causing all kinds of trouble. Learn to exfoliate right and you'll have clearer pores, less acne and more youthful, smoother looking skin. Read on...

(Click here for the Exfoliation What? Why? How? post)

1. When to exfoliate
2. Salicylic vs Glycolic acid
3. Exfoliation and acne
4. Dos and Don'ts of facial scrubs
5. Establish a routine based on your skin type

When to exfoliate;

Chemically exfoliate in the morning - retinol and vitamin C serums must be used in the evening, but they don't play well with chemical exfoliants so use your chemical exfoliant in the morning.

Physically exfoliate in the evening - your face will probably be red, give it a chance to calm down before make-up time.

Physically exfoliate just before or the day before a facemask,  depending on the type (when should I apply my facemask) to let it work only on the lovely, new, living skin cells.

Salicylic vs Glycolic acid

Salicylic acid is great for blocked pores as it can penetrate and exfoliate inside the pore as well as the surface. However if you have sensitive skin you may well find this to be too irritating and it will make your skin worse; it's quite common for people to experience all kinds of skin issues when jumping into a high concentration of salicylic acid; flaking, dry patches, more spots etc. If you do not suffer with blocked pores or acne, stick to glycolic acid, it is the one favoured by Dr Schultz ( who, we know, is my go-to guy for skincare) and if it's good enough for him. . . .

With chemical exfoliants you can use 'progressive exfoliation' - starting with a low concentration; 1% and move to 2%, 5% even 10% as your skin becomes accustomed to it. See this DermTV video for more.

Exfoliation and acne
If you've suffered with acne - however mild - you've probably gone through a phase of scrubbing your skin everyday with a facial scrub. And, just like me, you eventually learned "I can't scrub away my acne." When you get a spot your pore is already irritated - it is blocked and bacteria is forcing it to fill with pus and swell. When you scrub scrub scrub it will swell even more as the grains irritate it further. Each time you scrub your skin with a facial scrub you damage the 'acid mantle', google it to know more but for now let's just say a damaged acid mantle lets in bacteria and puts the skin out of balance causing irritation and more problems. Let it recover, let your skin heal.
                        Instead stick with a gentle buffing sponge  always rinse it thoroughly, wash it if you have open spots on your face, and choose salicylic as your chemical exfoliant; unlike glycolic, it can penetrate your pores to exfoliate them from the inside.

Dos and Don'ts of facial scrubs

DON'T use large granules - normal sugar grains are way too big!
DO use small beads - no bigger than salt, caster sugar or baking soda, even flour-sized will work
DON'T scrub your whole face, with big motions, as hard as you can
DO take your time with small, tiny, gentle circular motions.
DO spend more time on the areas that need it
DON'T grab a flannel or sponge and scrub scrub scrub some more
DO use a facial buffing sponge to gently concentrate on the areas where you need a little extra time; the centre of the chin, the sides of the nose for example
DON'T scrub just before applying make-up - you'll apply far too much and irritate your skin!
DO exfoliate just before applying a facemask 
DO rinse away with warm to cool water to be extra gentle on your skin

Establish a routine based on your skin type. . .
(Cheat sheet version coming soon, check back here for link) Whether physical, chemical or a lovely mixture get the most out of your exfoliants by knowing your skin type and following this simple rule -

Only exfoliate as much as you absolutely need to then let your skin recover.

For example, my routine;

Combination-oily skin - Chemically exfoliate T-zone every morning with a glycolic serum. Physically exfoliate using the Superdrug buffing sponge about 3 times a week - sometimes upto 4 times depending on the weather and how my skin feels. Use the konjac sponge whenever I feel like it. (see here for a description and review).  If I were using a facial scrub I would physically exfoliate a maximum of 2 times pw.

Here are some more ideas to try out and play with based on your skin type;
NB: these are just starting points, tweak them to suit your skin;

Acne-prone skin and oily skin - Chemically exfoliate with salicylic acid every morning where you need it. If you get acne over your whole face, use it over your whole face (obviously avoid eye area). Physically exfoliate with cleansing sponge every other day.

Normal skin - chemically exfoliate with glycolic/salicylic every other day in the morning, physically exfoliate with a buffing sponge every 2 days depending on your skin, OR use gentle facial scrub once per week, in the evening.

Sensitive skin - chemically exfoliate with low concentration glycolic in the morning, every 2-3 days. Physically exfoliate T-zone with konjac sponge every other day, whole face, once per week.

Dry skin - Chemically exfoliate T-zone with glycolic or low concentration salicylic for acne-prone skin, every 2 days, increasing if needed. Physically exfoliate with buffing sponge every other day.

*Again, these are just ideas and starting points, I am not a medical professional

Exfoliation is a wonderful thing! But it can make or break your skin - only exfoliate as much as you need to and try out lots of different methods to find your skin's favourite.

I wish you soft and bright skin!
Ciao for now

Friday, March 27

Springtime blog overhaul! What was I thinking?

Springtime flowers, yellow chrysanthemums, and white daisies in the sunshine. Happy, gorgeous flowers!

It's been 7 months now since I started 2 blogs - 2 blogs! And I'm very much wondering 'what was I thinking?' I can't run 2 blogs! I started with a personal blog PromisingYellow and PromisingBeauty, both of which I love. This will probably come as no surprise to all the bloggers out there;

one blog has all my attention and the other has fallen by the wayside.
PromisingBeauty has had my attention and literally thousands more views and more posts. I'm really proud of my posts on PromisingYellow but barely anybody has seen them as I've put little or no effort into 'getting it out there' - it's like sending my writing into the void! (this might be a little dramatic).

With this in mind it's time for a change. I look at all you other fabulous blogging ladies out there happily blogging about beauty/hair/fashion as well as whatever takes your fancy all in one place - why didn't I do that???

PromisingBeauty isn't a pharmacy website and it's not a business, it's a blog! So with that in mind I will combine the two and PromisingYellow will have its own place on PromisingBeauty. Of course it'll still be a beauty/skincare blog but I'm going to loosen the reigns a bit. I love the premise of PromisingYellow - to write about happy, cheery things that make me smile and feel good - and the posts there do genuinely make me smile when I re-read them so I will not send it to the "blog's-home"!

I'm not sure how I'll do this yet, I'm still a blogger toddler after all - I'm not even 1 in blogger years! Whether to have a weekly 'PromisingYellow' post, or a seperate area of the blog or to just mix it in - suggestions are very welcome :-)

Anyway, that's what I'm thinking right now.

I hope you're all smiling! I'm waiting for some news through the post and praying it's good so your happy thoughts and wishes would be much appreciated.
Ciao for now

Thursday, March 26

Quick post! Prepping for a facemask

facemasks, boots the sanctuary, Superdrug and Innisfree. Soothing cucumber peel-off mask, yoghurt smoothie mask and deep cleansing clay mask for acne and blocked pores. Lush facemask in Brazened honeyThis is a quick post on getting your skin ready for a facemask. Click here for more details about the different types of facemasks and when to apply them for maximum results!

1. To really get the best from your facemasks, always exfoliate beforehand. If prepping for a deep cleansing mask, exfoliate a few hours or the day before because physical exfoliation + deep cleansing mask can mean irritation and stinging; especially if your skin is irritated or you've been out in the sun. (Don't you just love that summer is returning?).
            For any other type of mask, most of us are ok to exfoliate right before. Either way, there's no point applying a lovely facemask to dead skin cells, right?

2. Of course, cleanse first and make sure your skin is clean of any make-up.

3.  Open up your pores with warm water or a shower or a workout - you don't need to steam your face as this can cause broken capillaries and irritation, you just want your skin warm and pink like you've just been in the gym for an hour! This is especially important for a deep cleansing mask; our pores are where horrid acne bacteria and blackheads are hiding! 

4. Wait at least an hour afterwards to apply make-up for those pores to shrink back to their normal size. It's better to wait overnight after a deep cleansing mask.

A little warning!
It's totally normal for your skin to tingle as you apply - especially when your pores are open - but if it ever feels more than a tingle, if it starts burning and feeling painful rinse it off straight away! Splash your face with cool water and don't worry, any redness won't last. I once had a very bad experience with a botanics mask which felt like it burnt my skin so badly but it felt much worse that it looked so don't worry about long-term effects, just get it off asap!

Hope you enjoyed this quick post, One of the reasons I'm quite a sporadic poster is that my posts are so long, maybe if I shorten them I'll be able to get more up??? We'll see.
Ciao for now

Wednesday, March 25

When should I apply my facemask?

facemasks, boots the sanctuary, Superdrug and Innisfree. Soothing cucumber peel-off mask, yoghurt smoothie mask and deep cleansing clay mask for acne and blocked pores.
There are different types of facemasks for a variety of skin issues, but thanks to movies and TV there's a misconception that just before an important event we should deep cleanse with a clay mask - NO!! 

Some facemasks are wasted when used at the wrong time and some will actually make your skin worse; read on to find out the best time to apply your facemask; from deep cleansing to soothing to brightening.

Click here for quick tips on prepping your skin before a mask to get the best out of it and here for a list of Fantastic DIY 1-ingredient Facemasks!

1. Deep cleansing and clay masks - are designed to get deep down into your pores, grab hold of the dirt, oil, dead skin cells and bacteria and drag it all to the surface.

Do not apply this kind of mask right before an event or even before make-up! When you rinse off a deep cleansing mask your pores are open and any pores that were unblocked have been stretched and need time to shrink. If you smear those empty, open pores with make-up you'll get a brand new blocked pore and probably spots. 

There's also the element of 'purging'; it shouldn't happen with your every day skincare but with a cleansing facemask you'll often find that a secret spot, previously hidden under the surface, is now loud and proud! This is not what we want right before our graduation pictures, date night or our birthday night out. If you want to deep cleanse your skin do it when you have a 'couple of days off' as it were - just in case.

2. Brightening masks - never last for very long, they're not really supposed to! A Brightening mask delivers a burst of wonderful ingredients to make your skin glow; sometimes they'll firm up your skin or smooth over any wrinkles.

But here's the catch, your skin will go on doing its thing and the effects of the mask, like make up, will wear off. So doesn't it seem a waste to do this right before bed? Yes! This is the mask we want when it's birthday party time, graduation day and date night.

3. Moisturising masks - a tricky one to get right but as a general rule, apply the night before.

If you're using quite a thick mask, once the nutrients and oils have been absorbed, give your skin chance to use those goodies to really look its best. Unlike the brightening masks, these masks are designed to penetrate and absorb deeply into the skin.

If you have dry skin you may find that these types of masks make your skin look instantly better in which case 'the morning of' may work for you too. For those of us with oily or combination skin, the masks may temporarily make our skin oilier, we don't want a weird oil/make-up paste sitting atop our pores on an important day, right? Give your skin the night to assimilate the mask and re-balance oil production

4. Hydrating masks - hydrating masks [should] focus on replacing a lack of water rather than oil.

It's the most misunderstood part of the skincare world - just because your skin is oily, doesn't mean it's not dehydrated! These types of masks are often on sheet masks as they tend to be more gel-like and watery in consistency.

Whether you're oily, dry or combination, hydrating masks are great to use a few hours before an event; they plump your skin and make you look refreshed. Pop one of these on on the day of your event. Let it sit for a good amount of time too!

5. Soothing facemasks - if you have sensitive skin which reddens easily you may find that a soothing mask calms your skin but the very act of rinsing it makes you red again! 

 Be aware that even though you've rinsed it away, your skin has taken in those nutrients and will use them overnight. I don't have very sensitive skin but those times when I do have a flare up I find that the morning after, my skin is much better than when I've just rinsed.

If you don't normally have sensitive skin, try applying one of these babies right after a deep cleansing mask to calm any redness.

6. Overnight facemask - you really don't need me for this one. . .

Hope you found this useful, please support by sharing and leave a comment below if you think I've missed anything out or to share with us how you use your facemasks!!

Until next time, ciao for now

Wednesday, March 18

Manicure time! Spots and polka dots, easy nail art!

Pink polka dots nail art. Orange, pink and purple spotty manicure for summer, spring or valentine's day! Super cute nails.
This is a wonderful nail look that looks so intricate and like you've spent a good hour and a half in the salon chair but is actually much MUCH quicker than you think! Dots are the easiest nail art to create; with a kirby grib, (bobbypin), tip of a pencil or a toothpick, just dip and dot.

This nail look is adapted from one I found here on Polish and Pearls, she has an unending portfolio of looks! The original was blue but I find that pink goes the best with my wardrobe! Change it to match whatever colour scheme you like - orange or yellow would be beautiful for spring and I really want to resurrect my mint green from last year. 

Start with a pale base coat and pick out 4 or 5 colours to compliment eachother. Be varied - don't just choose pinks; I chose orange, white and purple as well as 2 pinks. When I tried a blue a few months ago I added grey and an orange. It all adds interest!

Blob your first colour on a surface, dip in your dotting tool of choice (I used a kirby grip) and dot 4-7 dots on your nail, concentrating at the base. Don't try and be mathematical about it, dot wherever! Allow the colours to overlap and let a few dots drift up - think of balloons. (this is also great to cover up any chips and nicks in your base colour - no one will know!)

pink polka dot nails, spotty cute nail art. Manicure. Barry M, MUA, pink, orange, purple and white nails. tutorial, step-by-step

Don't forget to finish with a topcoat! Isn't it a gorgeous look? I'm most excited about the opportunity to switch it with different colours, I'm sure I'll be recreating this with mint green soon! As always, you can go with all 10 fingers or just 2-3 on each hand as accent nails. This also looks great on short nails, in these photos I'd just cut all my nails down after letting them grow inconveniently long!

Pink polka dots nail art. Orange, pink and purple spotty manicure for summer, spring or valentine's day! Blue polka dot nails.Super cute nails.
What about a blue background with green/white and yellow dots as flowers? would that be too much? I don't know, I might give it a go and see. The last time I did this look I did 2 nails in the blue scheme on each hand, I love this trend, I believe it's drifted over from K-pop.

Anyway, lucky me, I'm flying off to Lisbon today for a birthday trip with the boyfriend - can't wait! I absolutely love Lisbon, a perfect capital city. And of course I can't wait to escape the freezing cold weather here in the UK.

This is getting a little rambly now so I'm off.
Hope you enjoy this one, please share and support this blog if you like it,
Obrigado! Adios for now

Friday, March 13

Where is your acne? What's causing it?

When you're doing everything right, your skin is great but one area is breaking out and you just don't know why! It's annoying and you want it gone! Sometimes it's just one of those things but often there's a reason for that particular spot in that particular place. Read on to find out the most likely cause of your acne. . .

*As always, I am addressing mild/moderate acne and not cystic acne which requires medical treatment

Where is your acne?
Likely causes
Fix it!
the chin is usually about hormones but it also produces a lot of oil
Time of the month
Apply a calming, antibacterial spot remedy, be patient
Changing your contraceptive pill
If it doesnt clear up talk to your doctor about changing to a different type of pill
Oil and bacteria clogging pores
Blot excess oil throughout the day, use a salicylic acid serum regularly to keep your pores clear
Research to find a routine that works for you. DONT attack your skin with harsh products, keep it gentle
Between the eyes

Glasses or sunglasses harbouring bacteria
Clean the area that touches your skin daily
Oil/hair products from your fringe/bangs
Shield your skin when spraying products, sweep your fringe to the side, wash your fringe daily
Touching your face
Throughout the day your fingers pick up all kinds of bacteria, keep them away from your face
The top/back of the cheeks
This is usually a dry area of the face with little to no oiliness
Mobile phone
Clean it
Leaning your face against your hand,
don't touch your face unless your hands are clean
Dirty makeup and brushes
Wash your make-up brushes at least once per week
Hair products
keep your hair away from your face or try to shield your skin when spraying products
Sides of the nose/cheeks

This area of the face produces the most oil and has larger, visible pores
Excess oil
Use blotting sheets regularly throughout the day
Blocked pores
Deep cleanse with a clay mask once per week, use a salicylic acid serum to unblock your pores
Acne bacteria
Try the oil cleansing method every night/few times a week, follow with a DIY apple cider vinegar toner, use oil-free moisturiser
Hair products/oil
If you have a fringe (bangs) wash it more regularly than the rest of your hair, shield your skin when you spray hair products
The brim of the hat, will gather bacteria, oil, make-up and moisturiser.
Wash your hats regularly, even if you only wash the brim. Try not to wear the same hat all the time, switch it up with different options
Edges of the face
Not cleansing properly;
The edges of your face harbour make-up, oil and hair products
Make sure that you cleanse this area just as thoroughly as the rest of the face; take your cleanser past your chin to the neck, and over the edge of the forehead, into the hairline.
If you regularly wear a scarf, keep the edges away from your chin and wash it regularly
Leaning your face against your hand
Hands pick up all kinds of bacteria, keep them away from your face
Edges of the lips/around the mouth
Lip balm/lipstick
over the lip-line causes blackheads which can turn into spots
Keep your lip balm on your lips. No matter what brand you use, its not made for your face!
Use blotting sheets throughout the day, follow your cleanser with a toner and use a deep cleanse mask once per week.

 Is there anywhere on the face you think I've missed? What advice would you give for these site-specific spots? Let me know in the comments

I hope this has helped give you an idea of some of the more unconventional reasons for acne, please share so that others might see this too.

Ciao for now

. . .and of course, the Pinterest-friendly version of the above!