Forget the green juices and wheatgrass shots: our new healthy beverage of choice is the humble cup of tea. Except that it’s not so humble any more, what with the blending in of innumerable exotic ingredients – right from acai berries to rosehip chips – in a single cuppa. Case in point: Kusmi’s BB Detox tea, which is inspired by BB Creams and packs a potent skin protecting-moisturising-detoxifying punch with green tea, yerba mate, rooibos and dandelion – all topped off by the subtle taste of grapefruit.
Sounds interesting but I am not sure what makes it different from the other beauty teas out there – there is a brilliant one by Caudalie and another one by Fauchon – which are essentially a blend of green tea’s antioxidant and detoxifying powers, along with the skin boosting prowess of various herbs and botanicals. But then, I never really got the whole concept of BB creams either. Though, in this BB tea’s favour, Kusmi is definitely a terrific brand… it’s been around since 1867 and comes up with exquisitely delicious blends of black teas, green teas and infusions. So, even though its BB Detox Tea seems more like a piggybacking-on-a-popular-trend version of their already famous (and effective) Detox Tea, it’s worth the experience if you have €11.80 to spare for a box of 20 muslin-wrapped sachets.
Your thoughts? Would you try a cup of this grapefruit-flavoured BB tea?
For all the admonishments we get to arrive at least 20 minutes before the appointment, switch off the cellphone, steer clear of the razor and clearly communicate any discomforts, there is surprisingly little advice dispensed at the end of spa treatments on what to do in the hours ahead! But ignorance does not make for spa-bliss – in fact, since your body is at its most vulnerable immediately after a massage or scrub, it’s important to take precautions. This will not only help avoid damage to your skin but also optimise the skincare, wellness and feel-good results you paid for (often through your nose!).
1. Stay off the alcohol and cigarettes
Most spa treatments expel toxins by releasing them into your blood stream, from where they are gradually pushed out of the body – usually over 24 hours. Drinking alcohol and smoking can dehydrate your body and further increase toxicity, so avoid these for at least a full day.
2. Turn to water
In order to flush away these toxins and replace lost hydration (which is common after spa therapies), drink lots of fluids – namely water and green tea – for 24 hours post-treatment.
3. Eat light
Avoid eating a heavy meal for a few hours after the treatment as your digestion needs all it’s power to eliminate toxins. For optimum results, have a meal made with garlic, which lowers blood pressure, boosts circulation, reduces fat, and flushes toxins from the body. Your best bet? A light, Asian-inspired dish.
4. Load up on the fruits
Swap dessert for a platter of fresh fruits: chock full with vitamins, enzymes and water, these are the best option for maintain the health effects of any spa treatment.
5. Rest, rest, rest… and then rest some more!
A massage reveals its optimal benefits over a few hours, so you need some “me-time” to fully absorb the results of any spa session. By doing anything stressful, you might lose the effects of your treatment. Plus, any strenuous, rigorous or exciting activities (including steamy sex!), which make you sweat, will cause dehydration, leading to extreme fatigue. Instead, indulge in some quiet, relaxing pursuits like getting lost in a book or zoning away to music for 24 hours after your spa visit.
6. Resist the shower
Although it may sound counter-productive, if you have any treatments that use essential oils, creams or botanicals, refraining from rinsing off will allow your skin to soak up the minerals and anti-oxidants completely.
7. Skip the steam and sauna
You’ve been cleaned and steamed… heating up the face and body is going to strip away that just paid-for glow. And that’s highly avoidable, right?
8. Go light on home products
This is especially true if you have had a peel or scrub: adding on potent at-home products after these is a surefire recipe for redness. So, give your skin a two or three day break after a treatment.
9. Stay out of the sun
After a massage, peel or scrub, you’ve got a whole new batch of vulnerable skin cells that can easily burn in the sun. Better to stay in the shade and avoid the skin damage.
10. Sleep on a soft sheet
Your skin is super-soft after a spa visit (which is good). However, this also makes it super-prone to allergies, dust and harsh fabrics that can easily cause rashes and other irritations (which is bad). To avoid, sleep on a soft sheet – preferably silk or satin (sigh!) – that won’t irritate your skin. And, yes, stay away from those rough towels as well.
After a full week of back-to-back weddings, complete with shovelled-on makeup and ultra-late nights, every pore of my skin is crying out for mercy. Time for a hefty dose of Beauty Rx!
Step 1: Cleanse out the gunk
When an event runs from morning to night, it means multiple makeup touch-ups. Result? Skin that gets completely clogged over. And there can be no better way of scrubbing out the gunk from every pore than this simple-yet-potent natural exfoliator, which comes from a Greek buddy who has the most gorgeous skin ever!
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 drop vanilla extract (for a soothing fragrance; recommended but not essential)
1. Whisk together all the ingredients.
2. Massage them into your face and neck for a couple of minutes, rubbing in circular motions.
3. Rinse with warm water and a wash cloth (to remove the oil).
Step 2: Deep cleanse from the inside-out
Truly beautiful skin needs to be nurtured from the inside out. And this old Russian recipe helps you do just that, upping your beauty quotient multifold.
3 cups water
3 tablespoons dried herb (chamomile soothes dry skin, peppermint controls excessive oiliness, while rosemary and parsley are great for congested, acne-prone skin)
1 tea infuser
1. Pour one tablespoon of the dried herb in a tea infuser. Place the infuser in a mug and add boiling water until the mug is full. Infuse for 10 minutes.
2. Boil the remaining water; place the remaining herb in a bowl and pour in the boiling water.
3. Lean over the bowl, draping your head with a towel so that you are inhaling the vapours from the herbs. Remain as long as you can stand the heat or until the water cools.
4. Pat face dry with a clean towel, sip the tea slowly and don’t go out into the cold for at least half an hour. You’ll have a glow that comes from the inside out!
Step 3: Lay on the beauty mask
Exhausted skin is sluggish skin and you need to rev up the circulation. Besides its circulation boosting powers, this Russian recipe also simultaneously tones, hydrates and refreshes the skin.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon tomato juice
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1 tablespoon (unbleached) white flour
1/2 cup buttermilk (for later)
1. Mix all the ingredients except the buttermilk to form a paste.
2. Apply the paste to your face and neck; leave it on for 5-10 minutes. It may tingle a little as the blood starts flowing. However, never leave anything on it if it begins feeling uncomfortable.
3. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat skin dry.
4. Soak a cotton ball in buttermilk and apply it all over the skin. Rinse off after 10 minutes.
Step 4: Toner
Sweeping a slightly slightly astringent toner across newly clean skin preps the perfect canvas for applying moisturiser and completing the beauty detox. There are various type of skin fresheners but one of my favourites is still one that good old mom recommended years ago.
1 1/2 cups cold mineral water
Squeeze the lemons and and strain the juice into a small bottle. Add the mineral water. Use an astringent toner after any of the facial masques. Follow with your favourite moisturiser.
When you have been backstage at enough red carpet affairs and fashion shows, nothing surprises any longer. Putting cellulite cream on the face? But naturally! Getting into a bubble bath after making up your face for a party? Of course! Using Pepto-Bismol as a face mask? Duh! Here are some of the staple beauty shortcuts that I have personally seen in operation over and over again. And each one of them delivers fab results!
Get steamy to set your makeup
It sounds counterintuitive but almost every celeb I have met swears by the ritual of applying makeup and then stepping into a hot bath for 10 minutes (no bathtub? Stand near a hot shower!). The steam sets makeup, while the mega-dose of moisture makes skin look plump, fresh and dewy.
Dodge a double chin
Want to get rid of a pudgy chin in a jiffy? Rub a caffeine-rich cellulite cream along the entire jawline. How does it work? Caffeine, being a diuretic, will suck out all excess fluids and reduce puffiness. The effect will only be noticeable for three or four hours but that’s long enough to parade around a party or get through a hot date. Just make sure this stuff goes nowhere near your eyes!
A Pepto-Bismol facial
A tablespoon of the anti-acid Pepto-Bismol (or Gelusil or Digene) not only takes care of your insides before an anxiety-provoking event, it can also save skin. That’s because it contains bismuth subsalicylate – an antibacterial active agent that’s very similar to salicylic acid. So, smooth on some Pepto-Bismol onto your face, let it dry for 20 minutes, then rinse with plain water to help tighten skin, shrink pores and dry out zits. However, it dries out the skin so use occasionally and not a substitute for a daily acne regimen!
Erase the acne
Have you noticed that celebs never look cakey on the red carpet? That’s not because they always have perfect skin – it’s just that they know how to banish even the reddest zit instantly. Instead of piling on concealer, they dab the spots with nasal spray and Visine (Clear Eyes and All Clear work just as well) eye drops. These contain vasoconstrictors, which shrink blood vessels, thereby taking away the redness and bringing down inflammation – the effect is akin to that of a topical steroid.
De-bloat with apple cider vinegar
Feeling like a bloated mess and nothing fits? Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with half a glass of water and drink up! Within 30 minutes, the vinegar’s enzymes will slow down your gastric juice production and start flushing away the bloat.
Forget all those controversy-laden lash boosting concoctions – simply dab a bit of flax seed oil on your lash line every night. Flax seeds contain Omega-3, -6, and -9, along with B vitamins and lecithin to repair lash damage and stimulate their growth.