Beauty DIY: An ultra-easy face mask to unclog and shrink those mammoth pores

It’s probably the most asked question on this blog: How do I tackle enlarged pores? In fact, if we had our way, pores would do their job absolutely invisibly – the job being to act as the gateway through which skin’s sebum (natural oils) and toxins are thrown out, while water, air and beauty potions are absorbed.

Unfortunately, the invisible part rarely happens. Especially if you have oily skin or are more than 20-years-old. Oily skin has pores that are larger than average (to release all that excessive sebum). And as you grow older, skin loses pore-tightening collagen and elastin, making pores sag further. The result? Since enlarged pores don’t reflect light as easily, skin looks rough, bumpy and lacklustre – never an ideal scenario.

And that’s not all: Because pores have to deal with so much oil, dirt, leftover residue and dead skin cells every single day, they can easily become clogged. When this happens, blackheads or whiteheads appear and, if not treated properly, these further lead to acne. When the clogging becomes chronic, the pore walls stretch even further, creating a vicious cycle.

pores DIYUnfortunately, pores have no muscular structure, so they can’t open and close like a door (don’t believe skincare brands that tell you otherwise). But that doesn’t mean you are stuck with mammoth pores for the rest of your life, though. The trick is to leave them looking refined (and hence appear smaller), keeping them unclogged and smoothing the surface.

This all-natural recipe tackles enlarged pores with a mighty dose of skin toning, astringent and antibacterial ingredients. It also promotes cellular turnover, sweeps away dead cells and literally flushes out the pores, leaving skin looking refined and much smoother. All this with about 5 minutes of prep-work? Bring it on?

Ingredients

3 tablespoons kaolin powder (also known as Multani mitti), 1 egg, 1 tablespoon natural yogurt, 1 teaspoon honey

How-to

  • Pour the clay in a bowl and carefully add the remaining ingredients one by one, stirring well to get a smooth paste.
  • If the paste is too thick, add some water or green tea till it becomes manageable.
  • Apply evenly to clean, dry skin, avoiding eye area. Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.

Do you have enlarged pores? How do you tackle them?

10 genius ways to use Vaseline in your beauty routine (it’s not just for lips!)

Who says Vaseline is boring? Simple? Yes. Classic? Always. Cheap-as-chips and value for money? Absolutely. Boring? NEVER. And to underscore that point, the fourth limited edition of it’s cult status Lip Therapy comes dressed in striking black and gold, with a delicate honey flavour as an added bonus. Called Vaseline Queen Bee, it’s available till stocks last and is available to dress up your day for just $5. Want it much? You’ll have to run – not merely walk – as this one’s already selling out worldwide!

vaseline queen beeIncidentally, Vaseline is such a diverse product that you can use it for a whole range of things. You will see big tubs at literally every fashion week, photo shoot, red carpet event, dermatologist’s office and hair salon, hiding in plain sight.

Here are some of my favourite ways of working it, gleaned from picking the brains of leading beauty professionals over many, many years.

1. Vaseline as eye makeup remover: A dab of Vaseline can remove even the most stubborn mascara while soothing the eye area – just massage it in gently and wash off with warm water.

2. Vaseline as body scrub: Vaseline mixed with a handful of sea salt (or sand, if you are on the beach and want to make like the Brazilians) works as a great exfoliator.

3. Vaseline as lip scrub: Apply a thick layer of Vaseline to your lips and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Then scrub it off with an old (gentle) toothbrush for fabulously soft and smooth lips. Re-apply a thin layer to seal in moisture.

4. Vaseline as manicure mender: Dabbing a bit of Vaseline on the base of your nails will stop the colour from running onto the fingers.

5. Vaseline for shaving: Run out of shaving cream? Apply a thin layer of Vaseline and then shave. Don’t use water and remember to keep rinsing the razor as you go. It can be slightly greasy but will leave you with superbly soft and smooth skin.

vaseline uses6. Vaseline as highlighter: Professional makeup artists do this all the time, especially during catwalk shows – apply a very thin layer of Vaseline on cheeks and under the eyes for that dewy look.

7. Vaseline as cream blusher: Want a rosy flush? Mix vaseline with your lipstick to make your own cream blusher.

8. Vaseline as fragrance fixer: Applying a thin layer of vaseline on your wrist (and other pulse points) before spraying on perfume will make the scent last much longer.

9. Vaseline to protect skin from hair dye: Every hair colourist worth their name knows this one – you need to apply a layer of Vaseline around the hairline before colouring your hair. This not only prevents stains but also protects skin from the harsh chemicals in the dye.

10. Vaseline to seal split ends: While nothing can mend split ends, rubbing in some Vaseline can temporarily seal them, creating the illusion of sleek, damage-free hair.

Did you know that the first ever Vaseline Lip Therapy limited edition – Crème Brûlée, launched in 2011 – was the fastest selling product in Selfridges’ entire history?

How to banish bacteria and germ-proof your makeup bag (you need to do this NOW!)

Even if your makeup bag looks spick-and-span – no crumbly foundation or decade-old lipsticks – it could still be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. That’s because every time you pull out your lip gloss or mascara, bacteria descend, ready to spread nasty infections such as sties, cold sores and the flu. And surprisingly, a survey from the folks at Q-tips has found that only 34% women clean their makeup bags at least once a year. Ewww!

makeup-bag-germsPress the reset button

First of all, dump everything and clean the bag thoroughly (inside and out) using anti-bacterial wipes or baby shampoo. Allow to dry completely before replacing the contents. Next, wash all makeup brushes, whether or not they seem dirty. This is also the perfect time to take stock of what you are actually using right now and store away the rest in a cool, dry place.

Sanitise, sanitise, sanitise!

No makeup artist would be caught dead without a mammoth supply of 99% alcohol, hand sanitiser and antibacterial brush cleansers. Once a month (or after you’ve had any infection), gently swab all makeup surfaces – blush, compact powder or foundation, lipstick etc – with the 99% alcohol to de-germify. And keep a pencil sharpener handy – it’s the best way to keep your brow, eye and lip pencils sanitised.

Switch to plastic

Powders, dyes and germs latch on to cloth or canvas surfaces, making them difficult to clean. A makeup bag made from plastic, on the other hand, can be easily cleaned with a wet cloth.

Sharing is not caring

DO NOT SHARE YOUR MAKEUP. EVER! This is not being selfish – merely smart. Sharing lipsticks and mascara wands is the easiest way to spread germs. And that’s not all: do not double-task your tools. Lip brushes should only be used on the lips, and the same goes for eyes. This is not a place to mix-and-match.

How often do you clean your makeup bag? Tell me in the comments section – I promise not to judge!

Turmeric latte: Drinking to your health (with recipes that taste AWESOME!)

As a kid, I spent several sick days hiding under large pieces of furniture to escape the turmeric milk self-prescribed by mom in place of antibiotics. As a somewhat-adult (mom still doesn’t agree with the adult bit!), I am voluntarily downing mugfuls of turmeric milk (called turmeric latte by the trendiest amongst us!) to ward off a sticky virus that’s standing between me and a looming deadline that brooks no negotiation.

And it seems to be working. Turns out mom was right. Even modern medicine agrees that the turmeric-based-drink is one of the most healing beverages EVER. After all, turmeric is antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. Result: it defeats germs and calms down colds, coughs, sore throats, fevers, toothaches, rheumatoid arthritis, headaches, menstrual cramps, muscular pain and a whole big bucket list of ailments. It also heats up the body, providing quick relief from lung congestion and sinuses.

turmeric latteThen there are all the ways it heals the digestive system: this spice is an excellent blood purifier, it boosts circulation, cleanses the lymphatic system and strains away impurities from the liver. Which makes it perfect for indigestion, diarrhoea, stomach ulcers and colitis.

Added bonus: Turmeric milk helps in the breakdown of dietary fats, thereby keeping weight in check.

And if even all this doesn’t make you rest easy at night, warm turmeric milk produces tryptophan, an amino acid that induces peaceful and blissful sleep.

Add in the strong antimicrobial properties of honey; the healing powers of ginger; and the extraordinarily healthy fats and vitamins present in ghee and you have the ultimate dose of wholesome healing in a cup. Little surprise then that the ubiquitously named turmeric latte is all the rage from San Fransisco to Oxford. In its latest report, Google reveals that searches for turmeric increased by 56% from November 2015 to January 2016. Even Starbucks has jumped on the bandwagon.

Time to hit the kitchen?

A photo posted by The Nutmylk Co. (@nutmylk_co) on

The original turmeric latte

You will need

2 cups whole milk
1-inch knob of fresh turmeric, peeled and finely chopped (or 2 teaspoons turmeric powder)
1/2 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 teaspoons ghee (clarified butter)
1 tablespoon honey
 

How-to

  1. Mix together the turmeric, ginger and ghee; blend briskly till you have a fine paste
  2. Pour the milk into a saucepan and spoon in the paste
  3. Heat the milk till just below boiling point (little bubbles will begin to appear on the sides of the saucepan)
  4. Turn off the heat and cover the saucepan, allowing the turmeric and ginger to steep about 3 minutes
  5. Strain the turmeric milk; stir in the honey and continue stirring until it dissolves
  6. Serve warm

The non-dairy turmeric latte

You will need

2 cups almond milk or coconut milk 
1-inch knob of fresh turmeric, peeled and finely chopped (or 2 teaspoons turmeric powder)
1-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons ghee* (optional)
1 stick of cinnamon (optional)
1/2 teaspoon of cardamom (optional)
 

How-to

  1. Combine the turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper, honey, ghee, cinnamon and cardamom; pour into a deep mug or bowl and keep aside
  2. Heat the almond or coconut milk till just below boiling point (little bubbles will begin to appear on the sides of the saucepan)
  3. Add a teaspoon of the hot milk to the mug and mix everything till you get a smooth paste
  4. Add the rest of the milk and mix well; allow to steep for 3 minutes
  5. Strain the concoction; serve immediately

* Though ghee is made from milk and is therefore technically a dairy product, it contains only trace amounts of casein (a milk protein) and lactose (milk sugar), which are the prime causes of dairy intolerance.

Ever had turmeric milk? Or turmeric latte? Liked it?