Beauty / Beauty talk

What to look out for when buying skin care and cosmetics




I will give an example of what many brands do. Let’s say I buy a processed meal. It’s loaded with refined sugar, salt and cheap fats. I then decide to take a fancy plant and sprinkle a small quantity on top. In addition, I chop up some fruit and add a piece to the recipe. Then I sell this meal by telling you it has “natural ingredients” with a rare plant from abroad. Does this meal now seem healthy?

This is the trick that convinces people to buy products. They can bulk up the price because of certain ingredients they label on the bottle. What does matter is the quantity. How far down are these ingredients on the list? If you see a bunch of chemicals and struggle to find the fruit extract, there will not be a good amount of fruit inside.

Chemicals do not always equal bad. In the same way, “natural” does not mean good. I can take a random selection of plants and tell you I have a natural product. That does not mean it is going to cure your skin condition. What I do suggest you look out for, is SLS and SLES. SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate) is what makes your product foam up. Shampoo, soap, washing up liquid, plus bubble bath, all contain this chemical. It will not be hard to find either-usually at the front of the ingredients list. We believe foam is good. Sometimes we even buy products purely for their lathering effect. So why is this chemical so bad?


Well, it’s a known skin irritant. If you have ever washed your face and noticed it’s dry, it could be down to this. It is actually drying to the skin and yet “hydrating” shampoos have SLS included. There are many claims over the dangers of this chemical but I am not a dermatologist or knowledgeable enough to go into these debates. I do know however that it is a skin irritant and it can leave your skin feeling tight and dry. “Simple” products as far as I am aware, do not contain SLS and I believe that’s why people find them good for sensitive skin.



Foundation; the product people can be most confused about. There is so much to question: am I yellow based or pink? will this cover my flaws? is the colour correct? should I use a brush and if so, which one? Is this good for my skin type? Will this break me out?

Speaking as a woman with a decade of acne, foundation does not break you out. I have tried practically every single one on the market for oily skin; I tried to not wear it at all. What I learnt was that not washing foundation off properly could cause me to breakout. I believe in cleansing the skin twice when I am wearing makeup (once in the morning, twice at night with a gentle cleanser and skipping toner). I use my knuckles and press into every area of the face- including my hairline and eyebrows. A cleanser without SLS should be less drying. Toners were made to bring your PH back down after cleansing, but you can buy cleansers that keep the skin balanced and do not require toner.

Do not get too caught up in whether you are pink based or yellow. I personally would just look for a good colour match and only if a brand does separate foundations for pink and yellow, then look into which tone.

To be sure which colour is a good match, go to a window in the store or outside. You need bright light and cosmetic stores are not always sufficient in this area. The right colour on your skin should almost disappear. If you can clearly identify on your skin that it is lighter or darker, it is not your colour.

Oily skin does well with water based foundations. Put it on your wrist (use your inner arm) and blend. Any sheen or dewiness means it is better suited for dry/combination/normal skin. Full coverage foundation to me is better for certain occasions. Medium coverage works for most with concealer after to cover. All foundations are technically buildable.


Powder products

Pigment is the key here. When you take the product and apply, how much pigment or colour can you see? If the shadow easily breaks apart, than most likely the colour will not stick to your eyelid well. I always recommend trying an eyeshadow on your arm first. Sometimes the colour can edit when on the skin.


Even with matt formulas, the best lipsticks have a slight cream texture. You want it easily glide along the lips. Products too drying will not be long lasting.


Many mascaras you cannot open up and check. If you can, take some from the brush and wipe it along some tissue. Check how wet the formula comes out. This gives a good indication for how much clumping it may cause.

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