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Be Your Kind of Beautiful
Be Your Kind of Beautiful

18 Products Beauty Editors Are Obsessed With

You’ll always find these hero products in every beauty editor’s stash.

Beauty editors – they’re just like us. Except they have access to the best and latest products on the market. Yet despite having their fingers in all the fabulous pots of creams, there are some products they keep going back to. These are the ultimate skincare and makeup heroes, the favourite favourites:

1. Becca Sunlit Bronzer

Your skin, but like you just came from a tropical island… Becca’s sheer, long-lasting bronzer isn’t glittery or stripey and just gives you the most delectable warm glow.

Becca Sunlit Bronzer

2. REN Perfect Canvas Clean Primer

A silicone-free primer that stay put and keeps your makeup looking fresh without any pilling.

REN Perfect Canvas Cleam Primer

3. The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil

One of the best cleansers in the business, this gentle oil emulsifies when you rinse your face, and removes all traces of makeup and sunscreen while not irritating your eyes. The ideal first cleanse, to follow with cleanser.

The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil

4. Revlon Colorstay Crème Eyeshadow

Nothing beats cream eyeshadow for easy application and blending – and Revlon makes some of the best on the market.

Revlon Colorstay Crème Eyeshadow

5. Maybelline Snapscara Mascara

If any product could dethrone Great Lash, it can only be another Maybelline winner – this time, in a wax-free formula that glides on, stays clump free and smudge free all day, and washes off like a dream.

Maybelline Snapscara Mascara

6. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy

Bin those 17 lip balms you have banging around your handbag and replace it with this hero product. Kiss dry lips goodbye!

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy

7. MAC Lustre Lipstick

Nobody does lipstick like MAC – and with its excellent selection of nudes, anyone can find their perfect colour. Hug Me is a big editors’ favourite, since it can also be worn over bolder shades to tone it down a bit.

MAC Lustre Lipstick in Hug Me

8. Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray

It’s been an industry favourite for years, and with good reason – one spritz of the fine mist and your makeup is set for up to 16 hors

Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray

9. Urban Decay Brow Endowed Volumizer

Beauty editors don’t always look flawless – sometimes they fake it with a brush of this eyebrow gel.

Urban Decay Brow Endowed Volumizer

10. L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

If you buy only one thing from L’Occitane, make it the shea hand cream – a perpetual bestseller that beauty editors will often gift to all their friends. It’s that good.

L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

11. SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic

Ask any beauty editor their favourite serum and you can guarantee this antioxidant powerhouse will make the list.

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic

12. Kiehl’s Creme de Corps

Grown men have been known to steal this from their wives and girlfriends because nothing moisturises as effectively without leaving any sticky residue. A true gem.

Kiehl’s Creme de Corps

13. Smashbox Cover Shot Eye Palette

Everybody needs a nude eyeshadow palette, and this under-the-radar star ticks all the boxes.

Smashbox Cover Shot Eye Palette in Minimalist

14. Clinique Even Better Makeup

With its smooth and dewy finish – plus the power to fight dark spots – this foundation is a permanent fixture in beauty editors’ makeup stashes.

Clinique Even Better Makeup

15. Bio-Oil Skincare Oil

Need a touch of highlighter and you’ve run out? Bio-Oil. Dry elbows? Bio-Oil. Scars? Bio-Oil. Sunburnt skin? Yep, Bio-Oil. There’s not much this wonder oil can’t do.

Bio-Oil Skincare Oil

16. CosRX Acne Pimple Master Patch

Luckily we live in the 21st century, which means pimples can now be blasted with a patch. These little secret weapons are an insider’s favourite.

CosRX Acne Pimple Master Patch

17. Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer

This became an instant classic when it launched. It’s so easy to blend, has buildable coverage and works equally well under eyes as on blemishes.

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer

18. Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado

If you love eye cream, you’ll adore this richly moisturising yet non-gloopy version.

Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado


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UAE Local Beauty Products

10 Local Beauty Products We (Still) Swear By

You don’t have to look far for these must-haves.

Looking for beauty products to add to your ever-evolving collection? Look no further. The UAE is home to several brands that offer a wide range of products to keep your hair, skin, and makeup in check this summer – and beyond. Here, we share our picks of the 10 best products by locally based brands.

KJ Serums Triology Fresh Vitamin C Serum

Kathryn Jones established her business following a longstanding career in the UK under the biopharmaceutical sector. With her thorough background and passion for skincare, she launched KJ Serums to bring effective products to the market using unique ingredients and special formulations. The Triology Day serum is packed with amazing ingredients such as pure L-ascorbic acid, vitamin E, and ferulic acid, all proven to combat ageing, damage from UV rays, and hyperpigmentation.

Find it here.

KJ Serums Triology Fresh Vitamin C Serum
Source: @kjserums

Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Luminous Matte Foundation

Launched by makeup artist and award-winning beauty blogger Huda Kattan, Huda Beauty has cemented itself as one of the world’s most popular makeup brands today. Hailed as “a filter in a bottle”, the brand’s liquid foundation has become a staple in every makeup enthusiast’s kit. It offers 24-hour coverage, a luminous finish, and a fragrance-free formulation.

Find it here.

Huda Beauty
Source: Sephora UAE

Shirley Conlon Organics Rose Hip Oil

Specially formulated with UAE residents in mind, Shirley Conlon Organics produces luxury skincare products that perfectly adapt to heat and humidity. The brand’s signature Rose Hip Oil is a weightless blend of botanicals and antioxidants that promotes anti-ageing, reduces the appearance of scars, and repairs the skin from sun damage, effectively giving the skin a healthy natural glow.

Find it here.

Shirley Conlon Organics Rose Hip Oil
Source: Shirley Conlon Organics

Nina Ubhi False Eyelashes in Poppy

Aiming to inspire makeup junkies with her unique approach to beauty, founder Nina Ubhi started her brand with the mission to create products that enhance natural features. Part of The Classic Collection, the false lashes in Poppy give the eyes a soft and natural look without weighing the lids down.

Find it here.

Nina Ubhi False Eyelashes in Poppy
Source: Watsons UAE

Glossy Makeup Ombre Brush Collection

Professional makeup artist and founder Natasha Zaki launched Glossy Makeup in response to the market’s lack of beautiful, yet affordable beauty products. The Ombre Brush Collection is specifically designed to aid its users in creating a flawless makeup look. It’s also completely vegan and shed-free!

Find it here.

Glossy Makeup Ombre Brush Collection
Source: Glossy Makeup

IZIL Nutritive Oil for Dry & Dull Hair

Rooted in founder Mouna Abassy’s Moroccan heritage, IZIL aims to showcase the beauty rituals perfected by Moroccan women for centuries through its bespoke products. The Nutritive Oil is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that nourish dry and dull hair, keeping it soft and shiny throughout the day.

Find it here.

IZIL Nutritive Oil for Dry & Dull Hair
Source: IZIL

Kayali Citrus | 08

Founded by sisters Huda and Mona Kattan, Kayali fragrances are inspired by the rich culture and sophistication of the Middle East. The Citrus | 08 puts a twist on your typical fragrance, combining Italian bergamot, pink grapefruit, rose centifolia, musk, and oakmoss for its key notes. It’s the perfect scent for those who want to emulate casual elegance and youthful freshness.

Find it here.

Kayali Citrus | 08
Source: Kayali

Shiffa Sweetness Body Polish 

Shiffa started when Dr. Lamees created the brand’s famous Pregnancy Body Oil out of personal necessity. Today, the brand takes pride in being the only luxury organic skincare brand established by a doctor expert in healing science. The Sweetness Body Polish gently exfoliates the skin, effectively giving it a soft and refined texture. On top of that, the luxurious oils infused in this body polish hydrate and nourish the skin for a healthy, youthful glow.

Find it here

Shiffa Sweetness Body Polish 
Source: Shiffa

Herbal Essentials Himalayan Micellar Water

Brand founder and managing director Aly Rahimtoola launched the brand in hopes of providing the market with beauty products that make the skin look good and feel good. Formulated with 95% natural ingredients, the Himalayan Micellar Water provides the skin a thorough cleanse without stripping it of its natural oils and hydration. If you have sensitive skin, you might just want to check out this award-winning product.

Find it here.

Herbal Essentials Himalayan Micellar Water
Source: Herbal Essentials

The Dubai Dolls Boss Babe Face Mist

Priya Judge and Gayatri Sagar have always been committed to providing “cruelty-free beauty with a purpose”. They firmly believe in using ingredients that promote natural beauty, and it is highly evident through their product releases. The Boss Babe Face Mist is a versatile addition to any skincare routine as it can even out skin texture and reduce skin irritation without the use of fragrance, parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. 

Find it here.

The Dubai Dolls Boss Babe Face Mist
Source: The Dubai Dolls

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Guide to Clean Beauty

The Debate Around Clean Beauty Continues…

Is it all just a marketing ploy?

If you’re like me, you may care deeply about what goes into and onto your body – especially if you think sustainability is important and want to improve your carbon footprint. If so, the idea of switching to clean beauty might seem like a no-brainer. However, it pays to do a little research before parting with your hard-earned cash.

The clean beauty movement has been gathering momentum for a while now, but there has been a lot of controversy regarding whether or not these beauty products are safe. Brands are switching from ‘toxic’ ingredients to more eco- and health-friendly options, and many of us have already begun the process of finding ‘cleaner’ products for our bodies and homes. But with its ever-growing popularity comes ever-growing criticism, so here, I’m going to delve into all things clean beauty. Read on and be more confident in your choices, make smarter purchases, and ultimately live a healthier lifestyle – with or without clean beauty.

So, What Is Clean Beauty? 

Each brand has its own definition of what clean beauty means for them as there is no one agreed-upon definition. For example, here are two brands’ visions of what clean beauty is.

Clean Beauty Box says: “Clean Beauty is defined by products that are mindfully created and produced without any proven or suspected toxic ingredients. Clean Beauty products include ingredients ethically sourced and are made with the health of our bodies and the environment in mind.”

Goop claims: “Clean, for us, means that a product that is made without a long (and ever-evolving) list of ingredients linked to harmful health effects, which can range from hormone disruption and cancer to plain old skin irritation. To name a few of the offenders we avoid: parabens, phthalates, PEGs, ethanolamines, chemical sunscreens, synthetic fragrance, BHT, and BHA.” 

The consensus is that clean beauty refers to products that are non-toxic, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. Contrary to what you might think, it does not necessarily mean the product has to be natural, organic, or green. The idea is that your product is rid of ingredients that are allegedly harmful to your health. 

Clean and Dirty ingredients

If a product contains what clean beauty brands consider to be ‘toxic’ or harmful to human health,  it’s classed as dirty, and each brand has a different dirty list. One example of a ‘dirty list’ includes:

  • Parabens 
  • Petrolatum
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Siloxanes
  • Synthetic Fragrance
  • Triclosan
  • Formaldehyde
  • Phthalates

According to Michelle Wong (a cosmetic chemist, beauty scientist, and ingredient myth debunker), there is no such thing as a clean or dirty ingredient – what truly matters is exposure. Exposure depends on how much of an ingredient you have in the product, how much you use, and how you use the product. She explains quite simply that “clean beauty is basically telling you to never drink water in case you drown”. 

A lot of clean beauty brands may disagree with Michelle Wong. Brands like Goop or Clean Beauty Box have a great concept, much like other clean beauty brands. However, their marketing could scaremonger consumers and leave many of them worried about whether a product is ‘clean’ or not. A silver lining of this, though, is that consumers are now looking at ingredients and understanding how to be more eco-friendly

A Complete Guide to Clean Beauty

My Take on Clean Beauty  

Overall, clean beauty has a great concept and is paving the way for a more eco-friendly future for beauty. At the same time, there is little scientific evidence to support their ‘non-toxic’ claims, and thus I can’t say that I am truly on board with the movement.

My question to the clean beauty industry is, if such ingredients are considered ‘toxic’, then how are they legal? It’s not new for companies to start looking at what they are putting into their products, so why would such reputable companies – some with 30+ years of research and thousands of clinical trials – not consider the risk of the ingredients they use? Other things to keep in mind include that no toxicology reports have been done to support the evidence that clean beauty brands claim. Additionally, ‘clean beauty’ is not a regulated term and, as explained before, it has inconsistencies in its meaning. 

It’s true that people want cleaner formulas and that there is a huge demand for them. So, if that is what you want from your product or if you already use clean beauty brands that you love, then continue to use what works for you! Just remember that nothing is guaranteed to be risk-free, so don’t be fearful of using your favourite products because they aren’t considered ‘clean’. The entire product doesn’t need to be labelled clean or dirty.  

I do champion brands that help to fight climate change and, if clean beauty brands can commit, that’s great! However, beauty may not necessarily be the path you need to take to be greener. You can always go back to the basics and consume less, use refillable products, and buy brands that create change to contribute to a sustainable future.

What should you know before searching for the right product?

1. Educate yourself

Research product ingredients and consider science-backed evidence on whether that ingredient is good or not. If like me, you’re an ingredient buff, this website is your best friend! You can research any ingredient and it gives you an easy-to-read explanation. You can even type in your product and an ingredient, and it will tell you if your product contains ingredients you don’t want in there. 

2. Everything is a chemical

All matter is chemical, so don’t fear the word!

3. Don’t be guilt-tripped 

Don’t buy into clean beauty purely out of guilt as it is eco-friendly. Instead, look at what steps you can take to be more sustainable and choose products based on your needs – whether it’s a clean beauty brand or not.

My Beauty Brand Recommendation: 

I use products that work for me and I don’t fear that my products aren’t ‘clean’ as I have done my research and trust the brands I use. However, if I had to choose a clean beauty brand, I would choose Versed


Some of its pros include: 

  • Simple packaging
  • Refill pouches
  • Budget-friendly
  • Biodegradable formulas

Plus, I love how its website offers a skincare quiz where, instead of searching blindly, you can be guided to the right products for you. Below, I recommend two other brands if you want to make a change and become more eco-friendly. And if you want even more suggestions, visit earth.org, which has published a list of the best sustainable beauty brands in the industry.



What I love about Lush is its fun, quirky packaging and vision to leave the world a lusher place. Some of the other pros include:

  • Fighting animal testing
  • Charitable donations and encouraging customers to support donations through sales of certain products
  • 50% of products have zero packaging, this is what Lush considers to be ‘naked’



I like that BYBI is very similar to Lush, is pro-planet, and wants to make a change as its ingredients don’t come at a cost to our planet. Other pros:

  • It considers the harvesting process, source location, transport, and packaging
  • It uses upcycled ingredients in over 50% of the products
  • The packaging comes with a free returns labels so you can return it to be sterilised and reused
  • It transports everything using electric vehicles 

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Fast Sunburn Cures

5 Foolproof Products to Heal Sunburn – Fast

Here’s how to soothe the redness.

“Feel the burn” may be one of your exercise goals, but it’s a different story when it comes to your skincare goals. Lazy days by the water shouldn’t lead to painful evenings nursing lobster-pink skin. Sun damage, particularly when consistently inflicted, is the leading cause of premature ageing – not to mention the fact that melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of cancer out there. As important as it is to protect your skin every single day, the sun can sometimes sneak up on you, leaving you sore and peeling. Here are five products to help you heal sun-damaged skin, fast.

Sephora Aloe Vera Face Mask

A cooling face mask will give an instant hit of hydration while soothing pain and reducing peeling. Try this aloe vera face mask by Sephora while lying in a cool bath and enjoy the chilly sensation.

Aloe Vera Face Mask, Sephora

Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm with Aloe

The good news here is that the best ingredient is free and in abundance in the UAE thanks to Mother Nature. Aloe vera is a natural anti-inflammatory and cooling agent that helps soothe and moisturise sunburnt skin. Just pick a few leaves from the garden, trim the edges and spiky bits, scrape the fresh gel from inside, and apply it to the affected areas. For a less sticky solution, use an aloe vera-rich aftersun product like this one from Clinique.

After Sun Rescue Balm with Aloe, Clinique

Evian Brumisateur Facial Spray

Rehydrating your body as quickly and as much as possible is very important after sun exposure. Drink more water and use rehydrating products such as the always-popular Evian Brumisateur Facial Spray for a quick spritz of moisture.

Brumisateur Facial Spray, Evian

Korres Greek Yoghurt Calming + Cooling Gel

After being cooled, soothed, and hydrated, sun-exposed skin needs to be regenerated and looked after with care. A simple home remedy is to slather on Greek yoghurt – its anti-inflammatory properties help skin heal. For a less messy alternative, try this gel-based product by Korres.

Greek Yoghurt Calming + Cooling Gel, Korres

Shiseido Perfect Hydrating BB Cream

Ideally, you should avoid covering up your redness with makeup as it will dry out your skin and act as an irritant. BB creams such as the Shiseido Perfect Hydrating BB Cream are the best solution if you need to tone it down for a night out or an important meeting. It’s great for all skin types and is versatile enough to moisturise and smooth dehydrated skin, prime and perfect the surface, camouflage and colour-correct skin tone, and protect against the sun.

Perfect Hydrating BB Cream, Shiseido 


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Lightweight Moisturisers For The Summer

7 Lightweight Moisturisers Perfect for the Summer

It’s time to adapt your skincare routine.

Every skincare enthusiast knows that the trick to keeping cool and hydrated in the summer is to find the perfect products for your skin. If you constantly find yourself sweating in this heat, you might be thinking that getting rid of your skincare routine altogether is a no-brainer, but experts firmly state that moisturising and sunscreen application are non-negotiables for healthy, glowy skin – you just have to find the right ones. To help you achieve your #skingoals, we’ve rounded up our top picks of the best lightweight moisturisers for summer.

Bioderma Sébium Mat Control

Not a fan of oily skin days? This option from French brand Bioderma not only hydrates the skin, but also keeps it matte for at least eight hours. It’s the perfect choice for girls-on-the-go who don’t have the time for constant makeup retouches. It’s light and smoothes skin textures, making it a great moisturiser for whether you want to go au naturel or full glam.

Find it here.

Source: Bioderma UAE

Kiehl’s Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream

Every gal wants a product that can do it all. This moisturiser from Kiehl’s is formulated to hydrate, soften, and improve the skin’s texture – no matter the skin type. Its main ingredient calendula is best known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, sure to aid the skin’s natural healing and hydration process. Achieve a healthy glow and pair it with your favorite sunscreen without that heavy, sticky feeling.

Find it here

Kiehl’s Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream

Source: Kiehl’s UAE

Innisfree Jeju Cherry Blossom Jelly Cream

The beauty world just can’t get enough of K-beauty. If you’re keen to hop on the glass skin trend yourself, try out this moisturiser from Innisfree. It’s a gel-type cream that hydrates and calms skin irritation, leaving you free of unwanted redness. Enhance your skin’s natural radiance without ever feeling heavy or greasy through the day. 

Find it here

Innisfree Jeju Cherry Blossom Jelly Cream

Source: Innisfree UAE Official Website

Tatcha The Water Cream

This moisturiser from Tatcha has been a holy grail for a lot of skincare junkies for years. It comes as no surprise – this water-based moisturiser is packed with powerhouse ingredients that promote hydration, anti-ageing, and pore-tightening. Upon application, you’ll achieve instant hydration without barely feeling anything on. It gives your skin a shine-free glow that’s perfect for both makeup and no-makeup days. 

Find it here

Source: Glamazle

Sukin Facial Moisturiser

Want a good moisturiser that doesn’t break the bank? Try this one from Sukin. It’s rich with ingredients such as rosehip, avocado, sesame seed, and jojoba oils, all of which are widely known for hydration and nourishment. It’s light, vegan, and available in a sensitive skin variation. 

Find it here.

Source: Life Pharmacy

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

True to its name, this moisturising cream from Neutrogena offers that extra boost of hydration, keeping you looking fresh around the clock. It’s an oil-free formula that features hyaluronic acid, a popular active ingredient that will rid your skin of dullness and dehydration. It’s also non-comedogenic, making it the ideal product for Dubai’s hot summer months.

Find it here.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
Source: Carrefour UAE

No7 Early Defence Day Cream

Another drugstore entry on this list is the light cream from No7. Perfect for those with normal to combination skin, this moisturiser provides Double Defence technology that hydrates and protects the skin from UV rays and pollution. It also contains SPF15 and is completely kind to sensitive skin thanks to its hypo-allergenic properties.

Find it here.

No7 Early Defence Day Cream
Source: Boots UAE

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Reef-Safe Sunscreens

Are Reef-Safe Sunscreens Really Coral-Friendly?

Check out these truly harmless options.

The first rule about buying reef-safe sunscreens is to ignore any labelling claims (including logos) such as “marine-safe”, “marine-friendly”, and “coral-reef safe”. Why? Because there is no agreed definition on what coral reef-safe sunscreens are. In fact, less than 10 countries have taken any action in protecting coral reefs from controversial sunscreen ingredients, and less-than-scrupulous manufacturers use such labels as vacuous marketing terms as there is no law preventing them from doing otherwise. 

What Are Coral Reefs?

Corals are living organisms that join each other to form coral reefs that can stretch hundreds of miles (think: the Great Barrier Reef in Australia). They have also often been described as the “rainforests of the seas”. What coral reefs contribute to our ecosystem and economy is hard to appreciate.

The Environmental Protection Agency (an American government agency) estimates that coral reefs contribute to at least 25% of all marine life. These delicate ecosystems are vital to the survival of at least half a billion people globally through food, coastal protection, and supporting local economies (through fishing and tourism). And with #OnlyOneEarth – the theme of World Environment Day 2022 – calling for transformative action on a global scale, the time to protect them is now.

Modern-Day Threats to Coral Reefs

It’s unsurprising that coral reef sites (such as in Australia or Hawaii) are also very popular tourist destinations. However, there are several threats to coral reefs including pollution, rising ocean temperatures (via global warming), and the acidification of oceans. Corals derive their beautiful colour from algae that they hold and, when stressed, they expel their algae. This leads to coral bleaching, which can kill them.  

Modern-Day Threats to Coral Reefs

Coral Reefs and Your Sunscreen

Sunscreens contain ingredients called UV filters that are designed to filter out specific UV rays to prevent the skin from getting affected by some of the damaging effects of these rays. In most countries, only specific ingredients are permitted as filters. The most controversial filters are:

  • Oxybenzone (or Benzophenone-3) 
  • Octinoxate (or Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate)
  • Octocrylene 
  • Avobenzone (or Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane)

Hawaii specifically bans all four ingredients. A 2015 study by a group of scientists, including a US government body and Dr Downs of Haereticus Lab (HEL), found that Oxybenzone was highly toxic to juvenile corals in four ways:

  • Inducing coral bleaching (which can lead to their death) 
  • Damaging DNA (which can prevent them from reproducing)
  • Acting as an endocrine disruptor 
  • Causing juvenile coral to become deformed

Octinoxate pretty much has the same effect. Avobenzone and Octocrylene were only recently banned by Hawaii (with final measures coming in 2023) and the state government notes that these chemicals can not only affect corals, but also disrupt human hormones. Octocrylene can also degrade into a carcinogen.

Other Ingredients You Should Look for in Sunscreens

The HEL laboratory lists out 11 ingredients that it suggests you look for in sunscreens and other personal care products. The most relevant are:

  • Parabens
  • Oxybenzone
  • Nano Zinc
  • Titanium Dioxide

Note that ingredients such as Parabenzoic Acid and Methylbenzylidene Camphor that are listed are not found in most sunscreens anyway. Both Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide are commonly referred to as “mineral” sunscreens in the USA. Mineral sunscreens tend to sit on top of the skin and leave a not-so-flattering white cast. Nano or micro-sized Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide sunscreens have smaller particle sizes and, therefore, do not leave a white cast and are increasing in popularity. A US government study indicates that, at high concentrations, they can be damaging to aquatic life – not just corals. But further research needs to be carried out to confirm the specific impact on corals. Specifically, Nano Zinc Oxide – also called Coated Zinc Oxide – can accelerate coral bleaching. 

Where Does That Leave Us?

Not many countries ban sunscreen ingredients, and most cannot police every sunscreen bottle that tourists bring into the country. Therefore, it really is up to you and me to do the responsible thing. That means opting for non-Nano Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide sunscreens.

Which Sunscreens Should You Use?

My primary criterion for selecting a sun cream is how harmless it is for corals and marine life. I’ve gone through each ingredient label and personally tried products, arriving at these top three sunscreens: 

1. Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30, REN CLEAN SKINCARE

This is a 22% Zinc Oxide sunscreen and, while it is not cheap at a price tag of AED 120, it comes with the benefit of blending in without leaving a white cast and not smelling like chalk.


2. SPF30 Sunscreen 100% Mineral Uv Filters, THE INKEY LIST

When this sunscreen first came out, the brand touted it as being the price of a coffee. I find that to be quite a disservice to this decent tinted sunscreen, with the only caveat being that it smells like chalk.


3.  Mineral Uv Filters SPF30 With Antioxidants, THE ORDINARY

For a normal Zinc Oxide sunscreen, this is of excellent value. My only issue with it is that you have to double cleanse because once it’s on, it really does not want to be removed!   


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Guide to Summer Beauty Essentials

Beach, Please: 3 Steps to Sun-Safe Beauty

Because summer is (officially) here.

Not only are we looking at a long and hot summer ahead, but also the likelihood of a beach holiday abroad. Either way, we’re going to opt for that glowy, fresh-faced, selfie-ready look that somehow manages to look effortless. Aside from the obvious – a good waterproof mascara – there are three easy steps that you need to know.

1. Combine Your Foundation and Sun Protection

Let’s start with your skin. A great way for safe, yet flawless and glowing coverage is to mix SPF into your foundation. It is always best to use an SPF specifically intended for use on the face (such as Clinique SPF 50 Face Cream) as the skin on our face is more sensitive and requires more moisture. Ideally, you should use SPF 50 or above. Remember that damage from the sun’s rays is the main cause of premature ageing and pigmentation, so this tip doesn’t just apply to beach and pool days. 

List Of Summer Beauty Essentials

It’s as easy as it looks! Place a pea-sized amount of SPF and slightly larger amount of your favourite foundation on the back of your hand. Using a foundation brush, mix the two together and apply as you would your regular base. Next, use a concealer and your fingertips to pat over any areas that need extra coverage, such as pesky blemishes and any redness.

A great tip is to use a full-coverage, long-lasting foundation that really stays in place (such as the Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup by Estée Lauder) because the SPF will then sheer it down to keep you looking fresh and glowing rather than overdone. If you need to reapply SPF throughout the day (which I advise), simply rub into the palm of your hands and press over the top of your makeup to avoid too much disruption to your foundation, then have your concealer handy for touch-ups, if needed.

2. Multitask Your Lipstick

Wear lipstick! You might not be used to wearing lipstick to the beach or pool, but if you pick for a shade of pink that is soft and neutral, it will give you a subtly polished ‘no-makeup’ makeup look. Lipstick also provides moisture, so if you generally opt for lip balm, let’s just upgrade to its classier cousin. And then there’s the added value: once applied, use your fingertips to tap some of the excess colour onto your cheeks for a sun-kissed look. Win-win.

3. Keep Your Cool

For when things get a little heated, pack a setting spray to refresh and cool down. The Prep + Prime Fix+ by MAC is perfect because it not only helps your makeup last longer, but also hydrates with vitamins and minerals – all whilst cooling you down! To use, hold 30cm away from your face and spritz all over after applying your makeup, then use whenever you wish to refresh throughout the day. 

Guide To Summer's Best Skincare Essentials

To add an extra burst of freshness, MAC has created this set of mini Fix+ in tropical scents that are available exclusively at duty-free stores. They smell delicious, look adorable, and happen to be the perfect size for your beach bag. That’s the beauty side of your beach day, sorted! 

SPF 50 Face Cream, CLINIQUE


Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup, ESTEE LAUDER 


Prep + Prime Fix+, MAC


Love these tips? Follow @daniellejamesmakeup on Instagram for a hefty dose of all things beauty.


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A woman smiling and squeezing lemon

5 Serums to See You Through Summer

Think lightweight, yet deeply hydrating.

As the seasons change, so should your skincare routine. And with summer officially back with a vengeance, it’s time to ditch the heavy-duty moisturisers in favour of lighter options that still nourish and hydrate. Here are our five favourites.

C.E.O. Brightening Serum by Sunday Riley

Sunday Riley’s C.E.O. Brightening Serum is a must-have for every woman’s summer skincare routine – it’s a true all-rounder and perfect for all occasions, so you can wear it under makeup or on its own. Powered by 15% advanced Vitamin C, the serum targets dullness, dark spots, and discolouration while diminishing the signs of ageing. The skin feels firmer and plumper as a youthful bounce and an even tone is restored.

C.E.O Brightening Serum, AED 330, available at Sephora

Damascan Rose Facial Treatment by Aesop

The rule of thumb for skincare? Daytime is about protecting your skin, nighttime is about repairing it. We love a few drops of Aesop’s Damascan Rose Facial Treatment before our retinol and moisturiser at night. Packed full of vitamins and fatty acids that replenish distressed skin, this liquid gold goes a long way – our bottle lasted us for over six months.

Damascan Rose Facial Treatment, AED 280, available at Bloomingdale’s

Drops of Youth by The Body Shop 

Targeted for the first signs of ageing, this serum enhances your skin with a refreshing gel-like serum (cooling for the summer if you keep it refrigerated) and includes three plant stem cells that will leave it feeling smooth and replenished with moisture. 

Drops of Youth, AED 126, available at The Body Shop

Ultimate Lift Face Serum by Ixora

Ultimate Lift Face Serum by Ixora

This one’s perfect for the summer thanks to its fast-absorbing capabilities. There are 47 (yes, 47) natural and organic ingredients in one bottle! The Ultimate Lift Face Serum is also rich in antioxidants to provide treatment for ageing skin and touted as a powerful elixir to restore and rejuvenate.

Ultimate Lift Face Serum, AED 336, available at Ounass

C-Firma Day Cream by Drunk Elephant

Drunk Elephant launched in Dubai last year and has already become a skincare staple. This day serum is a super-potent formula packed with vitamin C, essential nutrients, and fruit enzymes, all working together to firm and brighten the skin’s appearance throughout the day. Just don’t forget to add sunscreen after applying it!

C-Firma Day Serum, AED 305, available at Sephora


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best henna salons in dubai

Beauty Marks: The Best Henna Salons in Dubai

Bookmark this as Eid approaches.

Is there any better way to gear up for Eid than adorning yourself with some intricately applied henna stains? Hint: no. Here, we share our top 10 picks of the best henna salons in Dubai. 

Grand Flora Spa

If you’re opting for traditional Emirati henna, then Grand Flora Spa is the best pick. With six branches around Dubai, it specialises in Arabic designs. The salon doesn’t limit its henna services to the hands and feet alone – you can have it applied anywhere on the body. It also offers henna services to all kinds of events and provides home services as well. Applied by its pool of highly experienced designers, the henna art here comes highly recommended. 

Multiple locations across Dubai, 800 FLORA, https://www.grandfloragroup.com/

Dubai Henna

Dubai Henna offers a unique mix of services and a shop where you can buy its henna products. The henna services come in two packages: standard and VIP. You can claim a free gift with the VIP package, which includes a handmade henna crafted souvenir. Its product portfolio features different types of henna cones, henna accessories, and DIY henna kits categorised according to the areas of application. Dubai Henna’s menu spans services across bridal, casual, party, prenatal belly henna, and even henna art. 

HDS Business Centre, Cluster M, JLT, 056 515 9111, https://www.dubaihenna.com/

Al Marasim Ladies Salon 

This salon offers some of the best henna services in Dubai. Renowned for its unique range of henna designs – from traditional ones that stay true to Emirati roots to contemporary designs – you’re sure to be spoilt for choice. Of course, you can also get your henna design customised any way you want. And considering Al Marsim has been in business for over 20 years in the UAE, you can be assured that all its henna products are of premium quality, safe, and free from chemicals. 

Villa 1043, Al Wasl Road, Umm Suqeim 2, Jumeirah, 050 186 6286, https://www.almarasim.ae

Heritage For Henna

If you’re looking for a henna salon that is deeply rooted in tradition, then Heritage For Henna is the place for you. It makes sure all its services stick to the local traditions of henna while promising an efficient and fast application process. Done by experts, all its designs are unique and follow traditional techniques. Its standout feature, meanwhile, is that it offers training services to applicants as well. Referred to as “Henna Majlis”, the salon has 28 tents across the country. 

531, SME Business Village, Deira, Near Clock Tower, 04 420 1178, http://heritageforhenna.com/

Henna salons in dubai

Luxury Henna Salon

With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Luxury Henna Salon at Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort has taken henna art to new heights. Its henna is made from powdered henna leaves, lemon juice, sugar, and secret essential oils. The henna is made fresh – only after the confirmation of an appointment – with the salon also catering to clients with sensitive and allergy-prone skin. And with a wide variety of henna services like Sudan henna, Mughlai henna, and Moroccan henna, the salon is well-reputed among Emiratis. It covers all events ranging from Eid to weddings and other special occasions. 

Al Mamsha St, Dubai Marina, 04 399 5533

SAbeauti Professional Ladies Salon

Whether it’s for a wedding, Eid celebrations, or any other occasion, SAbeauti Professional Ladies Salon is one of the ultimate beauty and cosmetic service providers in Dubai. It boasts an extensive list of services for clients – think: Moroccan baths, eyelash extensions, and mani-pedis. However, the henna services here are highly rated, with the option to choose from natural brown, jagua black, and red henna. The salon also offers a wide variety of traditional henna: Arabic, Sudani, Indian, and Pakistani designs for all occasions.

44th St – Deira, 04 269 9700, https://sabeautisalon.com/home

Eyana Ladies Salon 

Whether it’s body art, a basic tattoo, or something decorative for a special event, Eyana Ladies Salon is another great option, offering henna art solutions for all needs. You can choose from the extensive and carefully picked collection of designs or customise your own. The specialty of this henna salon is that it follows a 500-year-old technique that never fails to deliver a perfect henna statement for any occasion. 

Naresco Building 4, Karama, 04 396 7607, https://eyanasalon.com

Vandana Henna Art Designs

Henna that is truly opulent is the best way to describe the services of this henna salon. Considering its signature henna features 24-carat gold, you truly can’t get a more luxurious henna experience in Dubai. Its henna is also completely nickel-free and biocompatible. A mobile business, Vandana specialises in painting henna designs with gold to add just the right touch of glitter and shimmer, giving any bride the ultimate feeling of royalty on her big day. 

Al-Safa, 050 795 7018, http://vandanahennaartdesigns.com/

Henna salons dubai

Afrina Beauty Centre 

As one of the six entities in its group, Afrina Henna And Training Centre is dedicated to providing the best henna services and professional henna training in Dubai. Its designs are best described as detailed and delicate with a modern twist. Be it casual henna or innovative body art, Afrina Beauty Centre will get it done using freshly prepared henna cones sans chemicals. It specialises in Arabic, Indian, traditional, classic, and modern henna designs.

512 Pinnacle Building, Sheikh Zayed Road, 04 392 9885, https://afrina.com/

Rachna Salon

Bringing authentic Indian henna techniques and talents to the UAE, Rachna Salon – with 35 years of experience – is a reputed henna spot in Dubai. Along with constantly evolving, it has also reinvented its designs to add a touch of Arabic culture. All of its henna services are delivered through professionals in a female-friendly setting and upholds henna as the focal point of its offerings. 

Villa # 610, Jumeirah St, Umm Suqeim, Jumeirah 3, 04 394 4489, http://www.rachnasalon.ae


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how to use Use Salicylic Acid

This Skincare Ingredient Can Work Wonders

But only if you use it right.

If you suffer from oily or breakout-prone skin, you probably will have heard of salicylic acid, the magical ingredient that can fight acne, clear skin, and dissolve oil. Salicylic acid is also known as a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) and is derived from willow bark. In skincare, there are two groups of acids: AHAs (alpha hydroxy acid) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acid) – and both exfoliate the skin. 

Many people make mistakes in skincare – skincare experts and aestheticians included. When I first learned of salicylic acid, I overused it and damaged my skin barrier. Now I know better, so here’s what you need to know to not make the same mistake as me!

What’s the Difference Between AHA and BHA?

BHA is oil-soluble and can penetrate through pores and decongested dead skin and oil that may be stuck there, whereas AHA cannot as it is water-soluble. AHA works on the surface of the skin by removing dead skin and revealing new skin, while BHA works on a deeper level by decongesting clogged pores.

What Does Salicylic Acid Do?

Salicylic acid breaks down the bonds between skin cells that act like glue holding the skin together. It can also dissolve skin debris that clogs pores. Some of its pros and cons include:


  • It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
  • It effectively treats blackheads and whiteheads. 
  • It exfoliates surfaces and inside pores.
  • It reduces excessive oiliness.


  • Overuse can cause sensitivity and skin dryness.
  • It could cause a burning or stinging sensation.
  • It could lead to dry or flaky skin.

How Should You Use Salicylic Acid?

I recommend ignoring what the label says and using salicylic acid as needed because when it comes to skin, one size does not fit all. Some products recommend using it daily in the morning and at night, which can work great for certain skin types, but it can be too irritating for others and may sensitise the skin. 

I would recommend incorporating the acid into your routine two to three evenings a week, and then building it up gradually. If it is a cleanser-based salicylic acid, start by using it in the morning. And if it is a cream or oil-based cleanser, start by using it in the evening. You could even begin with a salicylic cleanser and slowly introduce salicylic serum as and when you need it. In the case of salicylic acid serums, you can use it as a spot treatment in areas where it’s necessary, such as for blackheads or whiteheads.

However, if you have acne or cystic acne, benzoyl peroxide may be a better alternative for you as it is more anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, though ongoing use can cause ageing and damage to the skin, so make sure you consult a professional aesthetician or dermatologist. As always, make sure to use sunscreen, and avoid using it on the same day as when you’re applying retinol. Salicylic acid is also a salicylate, which is part of the aspirin family, so you should avoid it if you have any allergies to aspirin.

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SA Smoothing Cleanser, Cerave

SA Smoothing Cleanser, Cerave

This cleanser by Cerave effectively exfoliates and and promotes radiance. Its key ingredients include salicylic acid, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and vitamin D. It can improve skin texture, reduce oiliness and blackheads, and smoothen and hydrate your skin. I love that it doesn’t make your skin feel tight or stripped of its natural oils

Tip: If you don’t usually use a foam cleanser, alternate with a cream-, oil-, or, balm-based cleanser until you get used to it. 

Skinceuticals Blemish + Age Cleansing Gel

Blemish + Age Cleanser, Skinceuticals 

This cleanser by Skinceuticals can help prime your skin prior to professional in-clinic skin rejuvenating treatments. It can remove excess oil, accelerate skin surface exfoliation, smooth irregularities, and brighten the skin. Its key ingredients include glycolic and salicylic acid.

Tip: If you lather this up and leave it on for five minutes whilst in the bath or shower, it also acts as a mini exfoliating mask.


Skinceuticals Blemish and Age Defence

Blemish + Age Defense, Skinceuticals

This oil-free face serum reduces the formation of acne and clogged pores, while improving the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone. Its key ingredients include 2% dioic acid with an alpha- and beta-hydroxy acid formulation. It does tingle when applied on your skin, which is to be expected. You can spot-treat areas with it, whether it’s breakouts or blackheads, but it will cause drying and flaking if used in excess.

Tip: Follow this serum with a moisturiser with ceramides to lock in the moisture and avoid crusting when applied to breakouts.

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, Paula’s Choice

This is a great product if you’re unsure at first as it comes in two different sizes. It can improve redness, breakouts, blackheads, and enlarged pores while exfoliating dead skin cells, smoothing wrinkles, and evening out the skin tone – all while being gentle enough for sensitive skin with the perfect 2% of salicylic acid (the maximum for at-home use). It also contains green tea, which can do wonders for your skin. 

Tip: Don’t use this on cotton pads as it wastes the product, while also making it more abrasive. It’s best to gently tap it in with your fingers. 

Liquid Exfoliant Pads

Zo Skin Health Complexion Renewal Pads

Complexion Renewal Pads, Zo Skin Health 

These pads act as dual-action exfoliators that remove dead skin cells to prevent clogged pores and reduce oiliness. Additionally, it can also calm and soothe irritated or inflamed skin, and provide a clearer complexion. Its key ingredients include glycolic acid and 2% salicylic acid. I love that this product is made for us lazy girls as it’s so easy to use. Initially, I wouldn’t use these twice a day (as stated) as it could be too much for your skin, so start by using it two to three times a week, and take it from there.

Tip: These come in a pack of 60 and are pricey, but you can cut them in half and double your use. If you’re using them every few days, they will last about three months. Another hack: tip the tub upside down occasionally so that the serum is fully absorbed into the pad. The pads do actually come with a lot of serum, but you can sometimes squeeze them a little so that when you’re done, you have some extra serum to use at the bottom of the container.


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How to Hydrate on Flights

High and Dry: How to Hydrate on Your Next Flight

Step off your flight looking fresh for a change.

With a five-day Eid break on the horizon, it’s time to address a very specific aspect of self-care. We all know that flying takes its toll on the skin, and you tend to feel and look tired by the time you reach your destination. This is due to dehydration caused by low humidity plus all that nasty, recycled, pressurised air inside the cabin. The result? Dullness, fine lines, and even increased oil production, all of which will exacerbate acne-prone skin. However, not all hope is lost as you can reduce these effects by drinking more water and having a specialised skincare regime whilst on board. Read on.

Stay Hydrated on Your Next Flight

But First, Water

You should aim to drink at least 250ml per hour when on your flight. Airlines tend to serve water in those tiny 150ml cartons, sometimes only twice on a seven-hour flight – and that’s just not enough. My tip is to purchase a 750ml bottle at the airport before you fly and then ask the cabin crew to fill it up for you throughout the flight. 

Think Skin Refreshments

There are four great products to refresh the feel and look of your skin while you fly, and all of them can be used over makeup if you don’t like to fly barefaced. Even better? You can purchase these from Dubai Duty Free before you fly to save extra pre-holiday shopping. 

  1. Apply the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask during the second half of your flight. Leave on for 10 minutes to hydrate your undereye area and plump any fine lines.
  2. The Lip Balm by La Mer nourishes your lips whilst protecting against further damage while you fly. Use whenever your lips start to feel dry.
  3. The Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Flawless Wear Concealer patted under the eyes, over the residue from the eye mask, will brighten any dark circles caused not only by dehydration, but also the early mornings and lack of sleep when travelling. 
  4. An hourly spritz of MAC Cosmetics Fix+ not only feels amazing, but also gives an instant boost of vitamins and minerals to refresh tired skin.

Watch the Video: The Skincare Products in Action

Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask, ESTÉE LAUDER

The Lip Balm, LA MER

Double Wear Stay-in-Place Concealer, ESTÉE LAUDER

Prep + Prime Fix+, MAC 

Have a safe flight!


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