Two Oceans Aquarium Membership Special

This might seem like I’m wandering off my usual subject matter, but I do love things other than makeup and skincare, and one of them is the Two Oceans Aquarium. I know how difficult it is to keep young children entertained, and something which has been really valuable to me over the past three years or so has been my aquarium membership. There are months when the Moo and I visit every single weekend, and it is a magical place which you never get bored of.Kelp

The Two Oceans Aquarium has a discount on their membership until 30th September, so now is the perfect time to get one if you don’t already have. Ours expired about a month ago, so I’m definitely going to jump on the offer. Membership is for a year, and you can visit as many times as you want…meaning that you will have more than covered the cost after just three visits. You skip those enormous queues (especially in summer) and you also get discounts at the Shoreline Cafe and the shop! There are a lot of other member activities which you can participate in as well. It’s amazing value.

Aquarium Special

For adults the cost is R260, for children 4-13 years R120 and children 14 years and up (including students) is R190.

You can get your membership online here or at the Two Oceans Aquarium’s member centre.

Clinique SuperFine Liner for Brows

Since becoming a Clinique insider I’ve found myself becoming more aware of Clinique makeup. In my early 20s I used a lot of their makeup but after a ten year gap I’m having fun rediscovering things. And one new discovery is the Clinique Superfine Liner for Brows, which I bought a while ago to replace my Smashbox Brow Tech to Go.

Clinique SuperFine Liner for Brows

I have a lot of eyebrow. I see comments about people trying to grow their brows out and I think, my gosh, what I would like is some brow retardant or something! I usually wax my brows out of pure laziness, which occasionally results in my ripping the tail end off accidentally, or widening the gap between my brows too much. Before I can blink they’ve grown back, but in moments of mishap and to deal with general wildness, I’ve become very fond of this little eyebrow liner. Here is why I love it:

It comes in a click-up pencil which is handy. I love that this is a very thin pencil (unlike the Smashbox one which is quite a thick, squared off tip) and can draw in very fine hair-like lines. It also doesn’t need sharpening!

superfine liner

As a blonde it is difficult to find a brow product which doesn’t end up looking reddish, or too dark. Clinique had a great range of colours, I think five in all. There is a very light one for extremely pale brows (soft blonde), and next up is the colour I chose, soft brown. It is very natural looking without any reddish tint.

IMG_8896-0

These brow liners are R215 at Clinique counters. I will keep on repurchasing this as it is my favourite brow product to date based on colour, availability and ease of use.

 

 

 

Mixing and Matching Skincare

Sometimes the array of products and conflicting advice out there can really confuse a person. Like most people I am not a skincare expert or a dermatologist or a cosmetic chemist (is there such a thing?), so all I can do is read up and make decisions for myself. I was recently asked about mixing and matching skincare brands. It turns out there is no ultimate answer, as even the “experts” disagree with each other. but here is a bit of sensible advice to follow… (this is a long post, sorry!)

I get a lot of information from Paula Begoun’s website, and although I don’t necessarily agree with everything, I generally believe what she has to say. According to Beautypedia, “Not only is it perfectly OK to mix and match products from different brands, but sometimes doing so is essential if you want to get the best results possible!” Other skincare gurus like Caroline Hirons also obviously believe in mixing skincare brands, taking the best products and formulas from each range and avoiding others. From this I take on board that mixing brands is fine, and I definitely do so myself.

There are some claims that you can’t use AHA/BHA and retinol together, but according to research done by Paula’s Choice this arises from a misunderstanding of how the ingredients work together and all focusses on the issue of pH levels. Apparently you can combine AHA, retinol and vitamin C (you can read the detailed scientific stuff here). I use a vitamin C serum in the mornings and leave retinol for night. I also use an AHA exfoliator at night prior to retinol serum (try Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner) and often use an AHA mask like REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask. I also use salicyclic acid but save it for the mornings. I combine several brands in my skincare routine, I just make sure each individual product meets my personal criteria.

The main thing you should be aware of is using too much of the same ingredient. So it is important to check that the active ingredient in your product isn’t being duplicated with every layer.  Also, if you combine retinol and benzyl peroxide for example, your skin might end up a bit red and flaky. I think it’s best to go easy and find a combination which doesn’t irritate your skin. Alternate active ingredients between morning and night, or on every second day.

Other things you might want to avoid in individual products will depend on your own preference. Some people avoid parabens, mineral oil, fragrance of any type, and others stay clear of alcohol. I personally don’t mind parabens, don’t have a set view on mineral oil, don’t mind essential oil or natural fragrances, and I generally avoid alcohol where possible (except fatty alcohols) due to some interesting research by Paula’s Choice.

I prefer my skincare products to be cruelty-free and although I don’t need them to be completely “natural” I prefer plant-based ingredients. Favourite brands of mine for skincare include Paula’s Choice, Clarins, REN, Balm Balm, Dr Hauschka, Korres, the Body Shop and Nuxe. I like specific products from Clinique too, like the Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief Gel and their Mild Clarifying Lotion. And I love Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair, although I probably wouldn’t repurchase it. Everyone’s skin is different, so what works for one person might not work for another. But I think the general consensus is that you can happily mix and match your brands without your face falling off.

REN Rosa Centifolila 3-in-1 Cleansing Water

I am now fully back into REN after a few years of using other brands. It started last year when their No 1 Purity cleansing balm started my obsession with cleansing balms, and continued when I discovered their Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask – a skincare essential nowadays. So when I spotted their new Rosa Centifolia 3-in-1 Cleansing Water in the shops I had to grab one right away.

REN Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Water

Now, I consider cleansing to be great fun (wild, I know) but I know for some it is a chore. This product might just appeal to both groups. It is 3-in-1 in the sense that it removes makeup, cleanses and tones. As a miscellar water it will inevitably be compared to the Bioderma Sensibio H2O, which is a wonder product, let’s face it. Sadly Bioderma makes my eye eczema flare up, which is why I’m happy I’ve found this. REN’s cleansing water smells like roses, which makes using it a sensory experience and just makes me happy.

I find it removes makeup just as well as Bioderma, but I don’t use it for makeup removal because I find it stings my eyes. I prefer to use cleansing oils and balms anyhow, so I either use this as a pre-cleanse of sorts (avoiding my eye area) before a good balmy face massage or predominantly in the mornings as a quick and easy cleanse. If you’re always in a rush to get out the door in the mornings this is a life-saver, because since you’re not wearing makeup when you wake up (right? Good. You had better not be) it effectively cleanses and tones your skin in one go. It does feel refreshing and hydrating on the skin, but I like to give my face a spritz of toner afterwards just because I’m a toner fanatic. No other good reason.

I find this just cuts out a lot of time when doing my morning skincare routine and I have more time to focus on my makeup. I make sure to do my lengthy double cleanse in the evenings. I love that it doesn’t leave skin feeling tight of uncomfortable, and if you’re a night owl with a serious social life it can be a quick fix then too. Interestingly it doesn’t make my eye eczema appear and price-wise at R250 it’s only R50 more than Bioderma, so in my opinion it’s really worth it.  REN counters can be found in these stores, or you can shop online.