If your self-care routine starts and ends with face masks, you’re not alone – but you could do with a bit more TLC. After all, today’s most progressive beauty brands take into account that there is skin south of your neck, formulating products for once-overlooked areas like your breasts and butt. Meanwhile, sexual wellness products are being given a makeover, courtesy of young Arab women who grew up around the mentality that feminine health was a taboo and are ready for a new narrative. Welcome to the final frontier of self-care.
“Serious skincare for not-so-serious babes” is the MO at Anese, translating into cruelty-free products made of ethically sourced ingredients that tend to your boobs, booty, and overall body – think: a gently exfoliating scrub to fade any scars and stretch marks on your breasts, a caffeinated oil to give you a toned and firm posterior, and hydrating elixirs that can be used on the hair and across the body. And with affordable products with cheeky names like ‘Calm Your Tits’ and ‘Bless This Mess’, Anese proves that self-care doesn’t have to be elitist.
Making us beautiful from the bottom up, Bawdy is a self-proclaimed butt-obsessed brand. And we’re here for it. It’s on a mission to direct self-care towards your most valuable – and most neglected – asset, and continues to be best known for its wide range of butt sheet masks that do everything from hydrating and toning to brightening and rejuvenating. Incidentally, Bawdy also created the ‘Nipple & Areola Stick’, a true saviour for nursing moms and even athletes experiencing the likes of irritation, chafing, and dryness.
The world’s first skincare brand specifically for breasts, Booby Tape launched in 2018 with an eponymous tape that can be used to create the effect of a breast lift sans plastic surgery. And it changed the realm of breast and décolletage care as we know it. Today, the global brand is a veritable empire, selling ‘Booby Tape’ in a multitude of shades alongside the likes of nipple covers, a clay-based detoxifying breast mask, and even an overnight treatment designed to correct and prevent chest wrinkles. After all, the chest is one of the first areas to show signs of ageing and sun damage, making it a must-have.
Launched this summer, Ketish was founded by an Egyptian-American woman named Emaan Abbass, who was overwhelmed by feelings of shame when she was diagnosed with cancer caused by HPV. Eight years of scans and procedures later, she started to explore the world of intimate health, delving deeper after encountering nothing but disappointing products in the feminine care category – and Ketish was born. The brand’s first ever product is ‘The Quickie’, a pre-play intimate sheet designed to refresh and cleanse not only the delicate skin of your most precious parts but also the rest of your body.
Created by a group of Arab women, Mauj is a bilingual platform dedicated to putting an end to the stigma surrounding the female body by providing access to education, information, dialogue, and acceptance in a region where women are “policed at every marker of womanhood”. Operating anonymously, Mauj addresses the likes of body image, shame around sexual pleasure, the taboos around infertility, and knowledge on one’s period cycle. It recently launched ‘Deem’ – the world’s first vibrator designed by Arab women for Arab women – taking into account everything from design and the pleasure areas it targets to ensuring that it’s discreetly packaged.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
SLES, SLS, ALS
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.
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:
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
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Detoxifying and purifying – this scrub does it all.
Detoxifying body scrubs are an often overlooked element when it comes to boosting our overall state of well-being, but we’re changing that today. A favourite of The Gaggler team? The Detoxifying and Purifying Matcha Body Scrub. Let’s start by exploring its key ingredient: matcha.
What Is Matcha?
Matcha is a powdered Japanese green tea produced from finely ground dried tea leaves. It has been a staple of traditional Japanese tea ceremonies for centuries, but it has recently gained popularity far and wide due to its health benefits. Matcha, like green tea, is derived from the Camellia sinensis plant. It is, however, cultivated differently and thus has a distinct nutrient profile.
What Are Its Benefits?
Matcha has several benefits ranging from high antioxidants (which can prevent cell damage) and boosting brain function to even promoting weight loss! But what about the benefits for your skin? Well, you’re in luck as this wonder powder is rich in chlorophyll (the green pigment found in plants), which can protect your skin from sun damage and its related ageing symptoms, like wrinkles. It can also shield your skin from toxins and chemicals in the environment that can clog your pores.
Another important compound found in Matcha powder has antibacterial and antibiotic properties that are great for acne-prone skin. It also promotes smoother and more supple skin by rejuvenating skin cells and supporting skin structure. And that’s not all! Matcha has the incredible ability to reduce puffiness, skin inflammation, and dark undereye circles due to its high content of vitamin K, a vitamin that promotes better blood circulation.
Incidentally, people often interchange green tea and Matcha powder. The benefits of green tea include increased mental alertness, improved working memory, headache relief, promotion of weight loss, and digestive relief. Studies have shown that green tea can have several benefits for your skin – fighting free radicals and calming redness included. And while both green tea and Matcha powder have similar health benefits, the latter has 10 times the potency because of the unique processing method used in pulverising the entire tea leaf.
Watch the Video: How to Make Matcha Body Scrub
Below, we’ve rounded up the ingredients you’ll need for this Matcha Body Scrub: