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      Why Customisable Beauty Could Lead To Your Best Skin Yet

      Beauty on your own terms.

      Customisable moisturisers, lipstick shades, supplements and perfumes—never before has the beauty world so openly embraced bespoke beauty, a movement that seeks to challenge a mass, one-size-fits-all approach and instead place the focus on the specific needs of the individual.

      This mentality has been particularly present in the skincare industry of late, from skin technicians and brands alike. While an off-the-shelf product can work wonders for some, those with complex and often competing conditions have had to compromise—focussing on one concern while forgoing attention on another—usually to the detriment of their overall skin health. To counteract this, a number of small skincare companies and practitioners have developed fully customisable products and treatments that are tailored to help consumers streamline their routine and find clear-cut, results-driven solutions.

      We spoke to local beauty entrepreneurs as to why a customised regimen could be one of the best things you’ll ever do for your complexion health. Consider this your skin-tervention.

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      Model wears hat by Sarah J Curtis.

      “It sounds obvious but our skin is so unique and our needs are so varied,” says Natalie Sellars of Kindred Toxin Free Facials. “From one week to the next, your skin could be drier, more congested or inflamed depending on a range of factors; where you are in your [menstrual] cycle, stress levels, diet and sleep patterns, and I adjust treatments accordingly.”

      Jasmine Garnsworthy of skincare brand The Buff has long agreed with this sentiment, which led her to launch her range of bespoke facial oils in 2017. “Not only is your skin different to the woman next to you but your skin and the ingredients it needs will also change over time,” says Garnsworthy. “Customised products make responding to your specific skin needs at any point in time so much easier—and makes the brand do most of the hard work for you.”

      Along with the developments in technology that have allowed companies to create accessible customised offerings, Belinda Hughes of Belinda Hughes Skin Clinics also attributes the rise of bespoke beauty to a highly educated and invested consumer base, who can obtain detailed research and advice on ingredients and formulations through a simple Google search. “Consumers are now so savvy,” says Hughes. “They are seeking out ingredients and treatments that they know are proven to work to correct conditions that are unique to them.”

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      Put simply, bespoke skin treatments and products take the guesswork out of the ingredients and formulations that will sufficiently address specific concerns. “The key reason to ‘go custom’ is so we can help each individual understand what is happening with their skin, explain a treatment approach, and then carefully design and formulate products specifically suited for them— with zero compromise,” says Ee Ting Ng of Australian skincare brand hop & cotton“Looking at a mass-market product, depending on which specific group of consumers it is aimed at, can be too astringent, not emollient enough or contain irritants and allergens that are a further detriment to an individual’s skin condition.”

      The ability to customise also means that ingredients vital to treating specific skin types can be delivered in a more efficacious potency. “Not only do we offer different ingredients, it’s also about the concentration of each ingredient,” says Garnsworthy. “For example, if a customer has only a mild sensitivity, then there may be some essential oils that are helpful in diluted quantities, whereas a customer without sensitivity could benefit from a deeper concentration of those same active oils.”

      The increasing need for bespoke treatments is also being felt from aestheticians and facialists alike, with clients visiting clinics after failing to find off-the-shelf regimes that work for them. “A lot of clients purchase natural skincare products online and aren’t seeing the results that they want,” says Hughes. “Just because a product is natural or organic, it isn’t necessarily the magic bullet to healing skin conditions—a lot of these products are not formulated with the strength of ingredients needed to adequately address skin needs.”

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      So, are bespoke skin treatments the best way forward for your complexion? In short, yes. “Getting a personalised service or product will generally deliver results faster and give your skin exactly what it needs at a certain moment in time,” says Sellars. Hughes agrees that customisable beauty will allow for more noticeable results in a shorter period of time: “That being said, not everyone is the same and I see some clients who use basic skincare who have beautiful, glowing skin—it all depends on your personal needs.”

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      Tell us, what do you think of bespoke beauty treatments and products?

      Would you consider using a customisable service?


      Girls With Curls, This One’s For You

      Keep it natural.

      There’s something to be said for the ongoing narrative towards embracing the natural that has taken front and centre in the beauty industry of late. You know what I mean—creating skin that looks like skin, opting for barely-there makeup and sporting full, textured brows, etcetera etcetera.

      This approach has also rippled into hair, with hairstylists encouraging women to embrace and work with their natural hair texture. This approach is easier said than done, though, especially for women with curly hair—in this instance, leaving the house without slathering on a smoothing cream or frizz-busting serum can often lead to disaster. The trick? Two hairstylists reveal all.

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      According to award-winning hairstylist Craig Smith of Fruition Style Ambition, it always starts with an appointment with your hairstylist. “Your natural curl always sings it best song when it’s cut dry and a freehand technique is used,” explains Smith. “Every curl has its own identity, so each one needs to be considered on how they will help to create the final look.”

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      While it’s easy to focus on hair length and style when visiting the hairdresser, what you should really do is zero in on the distribution of weight and the overall silhouette created. “As hairdressers, we focus on the balance of length to width, as this is paramount to making curls look their best,” says Smith.

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      Post-cut—as anyone with curls will know—specialised styling and care products are essential to keep your mane in good condition. When it comes to styling, both experts agree that less is always more. “Twist curls into place with your fingers and if possible, allow your hair to dry naturally or lightly diffuse it dry,” explains Brett Albury of The Murphy Gozzard Hair Community. “You should also avoid touching or scrunching your hair while drying as this will encourage frizz.” Lastly, ensure that your locks are still damp and only lightly blot-dried with a towel before styling—curly hair is much more malleable when wet, and this way the curls will also be much more defined when they’re dry.

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      “You want to work with products that focus on moisture and maximising hydration, such as Kevin Murphy Motion Lotion,” explains Smith. “Once dried, you can further tame and flatten hair by using a serum or cream that helps to minimise frizz or flyaways.”

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      As tempting as it may be to douse your locks in hydrating lotions, it’s essential that you only apply as much product as directed. For those with thick, dense, string-curl textures, go for it—this hair type requires more moisture, and in general can handle generous amounts of product. “I particularly love La Biosthetique’s Curl Defining Cream,” says Albury. Fine hair types, however, needs to go easy: “While finer curls still need moisture, you need to be mindful to use less product to ensure that hair is not weighed down.”

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      So what if you’re having one of those days (or weeks, or months) where you just don’t have the time to dedicate to hair styling but still want polished-looking tresses? “Reach for Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Oil in Cream,” says Smith. “It provides a powerful moisture boost that all curly hair types love, and enough hold to wear beautifully throughout the day.”

      Tell us, what are your cult hair products for curly hair?

      Would you ever consider ditching your hair tools and wear your natural texture?


      The Ultimate Guide On How To Care, Style and Treat Asian Hair Types

      We all know that one size definitely does not fit all.

      Whether you’ve got oily or dry skin, are a blonde or brunette, a Virgo or a Capricorn, we all have different needs that require a tailored and considered approach, especially when it comes to beauty. With such a distinct look and structure, women from an Asian background and those silky, beautiful strands, comes with its own set of unique challenges and concerns that are often overlooked in the often homogenised world of beauty. We spoke to Asian-Australian hairstylist Budi Juspandi to give us the lowdown on caring for this hair type—including her top styling tips—so you’ll never have to wonder how to hold a curl (and have it actually stay put) again.

      Avoid excess oil and heavy conditioning agents

      For women with this hair type, you likely know that your hair is typically less dense than other hair types so oils and conditioning agents can weigh the hair down and cause product build-up. “As a general rule, I would avoid any products that contains lots of oil, as well as heavy moisturising conditioners as they can weigh the hair down and make it look flat and greasy,” says Juspandi. Instead of focusing on the shaft and ends of the hair, she suggests turning your attention to the hair follicle and scalp, which should be cleansed and treated regularly. “I see a lot of Asian women missing [this step], which is essential as they tend to have oilier scalps and need to regularly treat the area in order to keep it clean and healthy—regular massages and scalp scrubs are the way to go,” she says. Try Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub With Sea Salt.

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      Model wears black mesh top, Stylist’s Own. Yvmin Earring.

      Limit damaging treatments and procedures

      While hair is less prone to breakage in comparison to other hair types and textures, it is notoriously hard to lighten. As much as we love a Fernanda Ly moment, it usually requires a lot of bleaching to achieve, which can result in serious damage. “Many Asian women ask how me blonde they can possibly go and how quickly they can get there—spending an obscene amount of money at the salon to go as light as they possibly can—and then spending even more to correct a brassy colour,” says Juspandi. “I often say that you need to know your limits; be realistic with what you can achieve without causing damage, and also what you are able to maintain.” Also, Juspandi adds that a top priority for those who have lightened, chemically straightened or permed their hair should be preventing further damage too by using restorative treatments on the reg. Olaplex Hair Perfector No.3 Treatment is the way to go.

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      YINGPEI STUDIO dress. Stuart Weitzman.

      Aloe vera is your best friend

      Aside from treatment products, Budi has a natural, go-to treatment that she uses on herself and her clients—aloe vera.“One of the most well-known and effective hair treatments is freshly prepared aloe vera juice,” she says. “Apply it liberally to clean hair, including your scalp, and let it absorb for at least 30 minutes,” she explains. While it’s common knowledge that aloe vera is a wonder ingredient for the skin due to its antibacterial and antioxidant properties, according to Juspandi, it’s also beneficial for hair, recommending that Asian women use it regularly to nourish their scalp. “Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties that calm irritation and treat the scalp, as well as high levels of protein and essential vitamins and minerals that can help to nourish the hair follicle,” she explains.

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      Rev’an Dress. Yvmin earring.

      Less is more

      One of the most common questions with Asian hair types is heat styling, as hair strands are typically more dense and therefore resistant to holding any movement or shape created by your curling wand or hairdryer. While it may be tempting to heap on a whole lotta product to maintain your blow-dry or undone waves, Juspandi advises the opposite. “Less is more,” she explains. “Avoid using too much of each product and instead focus on placement and the quality of the products you’re using.” Her top product picks? The lighter option, always. “Light mousse products and texturising sprays are the best products to use to create volume and texture,” she says. “My absolute favourite product for Asian hair types is the Oribe Maximista Thickening Spray which both lifts and holds the hair.” As for mousse, we rate the Living Proof Full Thickening Mousse.

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      Rev’an Dress. Yvmin Dress.

      The right heat-styling technique is essential

      Prep all you want but you won’t be able to create dreamy soft curls or a next-level blowout without using the right technique. Luckily for us, Juspandi didn’t hold back and shared her heat styling methods that work a treat on Asian hair types. For a blow-dry, she recommends sectioning the hair and then apply a volumising spray prior to turning the heat on. “Then use a round brush—such as the ghd Ceramic Vented Radial Brush—to lift the hair upwards on medium heat,” she says. “Once the hair is about 85 percent dry, adjust to a higher heat and create movement by drying against the curve of the brush. Roll the hair onto the scalp and secure with curl pins and allow to cool.”

      As for curling? “It’s absolutely vital that your hair is completely dry, otherwise any curl or wave will never stay in place,” says Juspandi. Her approach is to take small sections of hair and mist them with a lighter hairspray before using hot tongs or a curling wand on the hair, which she says will give the curl some additional hold. Try Sachajuan’s Light and Flexible Hairspray. “I’d also suggest using pin curl clips to set the hair while the curls cool completely, give it at least ten minutes after you’ve curled all the hair,” she adds. Seal it with a light touch of hairspray and you’re good to go.

      If you have an Asian hair type, how do you treat it? Let us know in the comments.



      Slathering on the SPF, keeping up your Omnilux appointments and still seeing the signs of premature ageing? Recent research suggests that it may be the device on which you’re reading this story that is the culprit!

      We all know that exposure to the light from our phones can disrupt our sleep cycle and cause lasting damage to our eyes. Now, a 2017 study has found that in addition to UV radiation from the sun, exposure to high-energy visible light (HEVL) also known as blue light emitted by our electronic devices can cause premature ageing – and over a long period of time, even hyper-pigmentation. Greeeeeeeeat.

      With statistics suggesting we check our phones upwards of 150 times a day (absorbing an average of 4 hours of blue light radiation daily), this is a real skincare concern that beauty brands have set about addressing.


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      There is a growing evidence to suggest that extended screen time impairs our skin’s barrier function, with research revealing that it can deteriorate elastin and destroy skin’s vitamin A, which is required for healthy skin turnover, by approximately 21% in just over eight minutes. As a result, skin becomes susceptible to inflammation, congestion and hyper-pigmentation.

      Leading Sydney dermatologist, Dr. Natasha Cook, says the evidence is still out as to exactly how much damage it can do long term. Unlike UVA and UVA, “we know it does not cause skin cancer,” she says, “but excessive blue light is believed to accelerate the oxidation process, which is how it causes skin ageing”.


      Unfortunately your regular SPF won’t protect you against these pesky blue light rays. Cassandra Hilton, Founder and Director of Research and Development at Ocinium says, “Sunscreens are only designed to block UVA and UVB wavelengths and don’t protect the skin from the effects of visible light, however the use of blue light filters on devices and adjusting filters to night mode can help to reduce blue light emissions and their affects to the skin.”


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      Dr. Cook recommends wearing antioxidant vitamins such as Niacinamide B3 and Vitamin C to prevent the oxidative and inflammatory damages of digital ageing. These can be found in her excellent Concentrated Illuminator serum, which is swimming with the stuff.

      NIOD’s Survival range and Dr. Sturm Anti-Pollution Drops also which run the gamut of environmental and digital protection powered by potent antioxidants and actives. Ocinium Elemental A+C+E and Alpha-H Essential Daily Vitamin Mist with vitamins A, B, C, D and E will help restore the vitamin A degraded by overexposure to blue light, and cosmeceutical specialist skincare brand, DNA Renewal’s new DNA Restoring Mask, is engineered with dna repair enzyme technology to combat free radical damage – both sun and smartphone-inflicted.

      Tell us, how much time do you spend in front of an electronic device?

      Did you know about ‘Digital Ageing’?


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      Cheeks Makeup

      How Bronzer Can Help You Look Like Your Best Self In Winter

      Summer is over for another year, but that doesn’t mean the sun-kissed glow you’ve built up has to fade into oblivion. Enter: bronzer.

      Like driving in a foreign country, bronzer is scary if you’re not familiar with it but it is honestly an instant cure-all that helps you achieve healthy colour and radiance, especially when you’re feeling under the weather.

      But with a growing number of formulations, brands and colours out there, where should you start? Sephora Australia National Artistry LeadAlphie Sadsad gives us the rundown.


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      Cream, liquid or powder?

      Powder bronzer will last longer on oilier skin girls, while creamy or liquid textures better complement drier skin types due to their moisturising properties.

      Sadsad recommends choosing a shade one or two shades darker than your skin tone and lightly building that up. “When using powder, tap your brush into the pan rather than swirling and grinding,” recommends Sadsad. This ensures you get good colour transfer.

      A liquid bronzer is best used when your face is much lighter than your body (hello, fake tanners!). Applying a little bit under or mixing it into your foundation will make you look less yellow or orange. Also use it when you’re going sans foundation for a healthy-looking glow.

      A cream or stick bronzer is another natural-looking option, but requires more blending action. Sadsad advises using a synthetic brush like SEPHORA Collection Contour Bronzer Brush # 46 to blend because it won’t absorb too much product. Money saver!


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      Ideally, you want your bronzer to mimic your natural tan, hitting all the places on the face that the sun does – just like you spent the day at the beach. According to Sadsad, the key areas to place colour are the “cheeks, temples, chin, nose and jawline”. Essentially, wherever you tend to get sunburnt. For this beauty writer, that also includes the brow bones.

      Lightly apply your bronzer of choice over these key areas and build up the colour. Most importantly, don’t neglect to bronze your neck and chest, or your ears if they’re showing! If you accidentally apply too much product (it can happen to the best of us), blend over the area with your foundation brush or sponge. Problem solved!

      Another good place for bronzer is the eyelids. Soften out a smokey eye with bronzer or use it alone as your eyeshadow. We love the limited edition Dolce & Gabbana The Bronzer.

      Common faux pas

      As for bronzing faux pas to avoid? Sadsad says: “For blondes, don’t add to much bronzer along your hairline or else you risk creating a brown halo on your hairline”. No, thanks.

      “Generally speaking, the under-eye should also be avoided in order to keep you looking bright and awake,” he adds. Sadsad also recommends using a brush to apply bronzer, no matter the texture of your product, to avoid your complexion looking too monotone.


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      Colour Matching

      Gritty Pretty’s quick guide to finding the right bronzer shade –

      Those on the paler end of the skin spectrum should steer towards a sheer rose or peach-coloured bronzer, as this prevents the skin from looking too muddy or dark. Try: Guerlain Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder or BECCA Shimmer Skin Perfector Liquid in ‘Opal’.

      Women with medium to olive skin best suit warm-golden, copper and earth-toned bronzers that mimic the a natural glow on their complexion. Try: The Base Velvet Matte Bronzing Base or Napoleon Perdis Total Bae Fake It! Bronze Believer.

      Darker-skinned ladies should ditch the golden shades and opt for rich, chocolatey-brown bronzers with a cinnamon undertone. Try: Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Stick Quickie Contour Stick or NARS Sun Diffusing Bronzer in ‘Casino’.

      Tell us, what’s your favourite bronzer?

      Do you wear bronzer daily?

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