The one skincare product you will find in every beauty editor’s bathroom

Of the zillion creams, gadgets and treatments that have been devised to keep skin smooth and glow-y, while banishing cellulite, there is one that has really stood the test of time. It’s not a high-tech gizmo but a simple, stiff-bristled dry brush that can be found in literally every beauty editor’s bathroom (including my own).

Don’t be sceptical: there is some serious science at work here. Dry brushing the skin gets the circulation going and boosts lymphatic flow, thereby flushing out wastes and cellulite deposits. Plus, the process also boosts metabolism, eliminates dead skin cells, clears out the gunk from pores, and help the body’s natural detoxification process.

body brushingSo, how to go about dry brushing?

Get a natural bristle brush and work upwards from the soles of your feet, using long strokes. Keep the pressure gentle but firm (avoid “scrubbing”), so as not to abrade the skin. Always brush in the direction of the heart as this increases the elimination of toxins. Dry brush up the sides of your body and the lower back, where toxins can easily collect. You may want to take a little longer over the cellulite zone and vary your upwards strokes to include circular movements over the outer thighs and buttocks.

Move on to your hands and arms, then dry brush over the abdomen, using circular counter-clockwise strokes. Finish off with the shoulders, neck and breasts. Then have a shower and follow up with a body lotion while skin is still damp (to best retain the moisture)… personally, I go with coconut oil.

Do this every morning for 5 minutes and you should notice a difference in skin tone and softness within a few days. And remember: it is best to dry brush skin when it’s dry; wet skin is more sensitive and you run the risk of thread veins.

Have you ever tried a dry brush?

Losing weight: The (super easy) Japanese way

Last month, I was introduced to a super-special lose-weight-as-you-eat dish in New York. Called konjac, it’s a Japanese root vegetable that’s incredibly low  in calories – 3 calories per 100 grams (considering 100 grams of cucumber have 10 calories, this is really, really low).

It’s completely gluten and wheat-free. And when you mix it with a little water, konjac transforms into a gel-like substance that traps fats, sugars and other toxins. Plus, it’s the highest natural source of natural dietary fiber, which makes it quite filling. It’s for all these reasons that konjac has long been known as a ‘broom for the stomach’ in its native Japan.

What does this all add up to? The best 1-2-3 diet punch one could ask for!

How to have konjac for weight loss

Konjac is available in several different forms, including a tofu-like block, flour, jelly and supplements. However, the most popular (and easiest) form of konjac is shirataki or konnyaku noodles – clear, thin noodles that have a rubbery texture.

Unlike regular dried noodles, they come packaged in a watery liquid. All you need to do is drain the noodles and rinse them under cold water. Then blanch them in a pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes; drain well and you’re all set!

But what I like best is that konjac is pretty tasteless, so you can mix in an assortment of flavorings and really make the dish your own without worrying about the calories. I prefer to have the konnyaku noodles in a soup, where they acquire the broth’s own flavour and mix in seamlessly. Just make sure to cook them in the soup’s stock for some time (I add them in right at the beginning), so that the flavours mingle perfectly.

Have you ever tried konjac? In what form? And what’s your lose-the-excess-pounds food? Spill!

How to really use the YSL Touche Éclat (In 16 different ways!)

You know that clicky gold pen the world and its cat have been raving about for the past 20 years? The one that’s sold somewhere in the world every 10 seconds? The one that’s supposed to cure all complexion woes, from whisking away dark under-eye circles to making cheekbones pop? The one that actually only seems to make those circles look even more prominent and turns your complexion lifeless? The golden tube that’s languishing somewhere at the back of your dressing table, since you can’t figure out what exactly this wonder product does?

ysl touche eclatMeet the YSL Touche Éclat: one of those beauty products with whom I’ve had a love-hate relationship since forever. I first tried it in college to erase signs of fatigue from under my eyes and ended up drawing every single person’s attention to them. Not surprisingly, I never went back.

That is until every single makeup artist backstage at fashion shows, photo shoots and on movie sets, started mentioning it as a ‘Top 10’ staple in their kits. Could I actually have been wrong? Did the YSL Touché Eclat actually work as advertised? Is it really the only thing you need in a makeup bag?

Yes, yes and yes. My biggest mistake (and that of zillions of other women, much to my relief) was in thinking of Touche Éclat as a concealer. It is NOT a concealer.

Yes, repeat after me: the YSL Touche Éclat is NOT a concealer.

Actually, it’s not even a highlighter. In fact, when Terry de Gunzberg created it in 1991, she actually gave birth to a whole new category of make up that’s now a staple in the lineup for almost every beauty brand. But YSL’s version is still the best and it works in so many ways… almost every make up pro that I meet tells me a brand new way of using this golden pen. Here’s a compilation of the top tips. Enjoy!

1. Banish under-eye circles: First, apply your regular concealer because – remember – YSL Touche Éclat is NOT a concealer. Then paint Touche Éclat in a a semi-circle around the eyes, starting from just above the inner corner, going down to where the eye area meets the cheekbone and moving back up to the outer corner; blend upwards. This will reflect light and illuminate the under-eye zone.

2. Perk up your eyes: A dab in the inner corner of the eyes will make them look wider and brighter, while concealing signs of fatigue.

3. Lift the brows: Blend a thin line below and over your brows to sharpen their definition and lift the entire eye area.

YSL Touche Eclat and the eye zone

YSL Touche Éclat and the eye zone

4. As an eyeshadow base: Use Touche Éclat all over the eye lid as a make up base or primer to improve the hold of eye shadow and help prevent any creasing.

5. Slim the nose: Draw a vertical stripe of YSL Touche Éclat down the bridge of your nose to make it appear slimmer and more chiseled.

6. Banish the red: Apply on the corners of the nose to neutralise redness and broken veins.

7. Hide wrinkles and fine lines: Dab a bit of Touche Éclat directly on wrinkles or laugh lines around the nose and lips, then blend it in with the finger tips. This will visually smooth the recessed areas and make skin look more youthful.

YSL Touche Eclat and the nose

YSL Touche Éclat and the nose

8. Enhance the cheekbones: Use Touche Éclat like a highlighter on top of cheekbones to make them appear more sculpted and brighten the entire face.

9. Make lips appear fuller: Place Touche Éclat around the edge of the lips and blend it inwards to create the illusion of a fuller pout.

10. Enhance your lipstick: After putting on lipstick, apply some Touche Éclat to the outside areas of both your top and bottom lip as well as the cupid’s bow. This will pull focus to a brightly painted mouth.

11. Enhance the cupid’s bow: As an added bonus, you can apply Touche Éclat around the cupid’s bow to sharpen and enhance its lines.

YSL Touche Eclat and the lips

YSL Touche Éclat and the lips

12: Sculpt and highlight your face: Use on the bridge of the nose, between the brows, on the top of cheekbones and on the chin, to sharpen your features. Use in the middle of your forehead, the bridge of your nose, the point of your chin and above your cheekbones.

13. Conceal signs of fatigue: Apply Touche Éclat to the darker areas of your face (underneath your eyes, at the sides of your nose, the corner of the mouth and the hollow of the chin.

14. As a make up corrector: Click Touche Éclat thrice and apply the drop over any smudge. Use the droplet as a corrector and wipe off with a cotton bud.

15. Define the nails: Blend Touche Éclat around the cuticle to shine the spotlight on pretty nails.

16. Elongate the legs: Use Touche Éclat down the side of the leg to elongate.

Have you ever used the YSL Touche Éclat? Do you think it lives up to its status as an iconic makeup must-have?

Beauty DIY: Self heating vegetable face mask (cold weather beauty must-have)

It’s freezing (actually way below freezing) and whether you are curled up at home with a fluffy quilt and the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy or are trudging through the frosty streets on wayward errands, you skin (and soul) could use some cozy comforting. Right?

This super-simple face mask will take care of both with its warmth-inducing properties, which are perfect for relaxing the facial muscles and promoting blood flow, thereby resulting in gorgeously smooth and glowing skin. Carrots, in the meantime, are a potent source of youth preserving beta-carotene, while sweet potato has loads of puffiness-busting potassium. Milk and egg yolks round up the formula with complexion-friendly vitamins, proteins and other nutrients.

The best part? Everything is already in your refrigerator, so you don’t need to go out in the cold!

vegetable face maskIngredients

1 small sweet potato
1 medium carrot 
1 egg yolk 
2 tablespoons milk

How-to

1. Steam the vegetables, then peel and mask them together.

2. Add the milk and egg yolk; mix everything till it reaches the consistency of thick cream.

3. Apply a generous layer of the mask to your face while it’s still warm (but not hot – you don’t want to burn your skin!).

4. Leave on for 20 minutes, then rinse away with warm water.

How are you (and your skin) dealing with the cold?