The beauty aisles of any store are difficult to navigate at best and downright confusing at worst. Once upon a time, looking after your skin was a three-step cleanse, tone, moisturise affair. Now, there are primers for eyelids, patches for pimples and serums laden with ‘acids’. We’re (almost) at the point where we need to put on a lab coat just to step inside Priceline.
It’s understandable that consumers are more than a little confused. But we’re here to help! So, we threw it open to the crowd and asked you, our readers, to send in your most pressing questions about all things hair, skin and makeup. Do you have your pen and paper handy?
DO PIMPLE PATCHES REALLY WORK?
Yes – but they’re not a miracle cure. Pimple patches work in two ways: firstly, they treat the zit like a wound and provide the ideal conditions for healing. In a way, they’re similar to cold sore patches. Applying a pimple patch helps the skin to heal from the inside out in a moist environment; it also prevents you from touching the zit (and contaminating it) or picking at it (gross).
Secondly, most pimple patches contain ingredients (hello, salyclic acid and niacinamide) to nix acne-causing bacteria and calm inflammation. VICE REVERSA Micro Needling Pimple Patches go one step further, using teeny tiny micro needles to deliver the active ingredients into the skin.
WHAT IS THE BEST SUNSCREEN FOR UNDER MAKEUP?
Every day is a great day to wear sunscreen, regardless of whether you’re off to the beach, coffee or work. And before you ask, yes, you still need to wear sunscreen on cloudy days – the sun in Australia is harsh.
As for the best sunscreen under makeup? Ultra Violette Queen Screen SPF50+ is a beauty editor favourite. With a serum-like texture, it walks the line between a serum and an SPF. Queen Screen effectively moisturises skin and provides the perfect base for your foundation to follow. No pilling here!
WHAT IS THE BEST ALL-ROUND MOISTURISER?
We regret to inform your bank account that Le Mer’s iconic Crème de La Mer The Moisturizing Crème lives up to the hype – and then some. This rich formula remains unchanged since the 1950s (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it) and contains the brand’s iconic Miracle Broth to balance and nourish skin. Crème de La Mer works well with all skin types, however, if your complexion errs on the dry side, you will truly reap the benefits of this ultra-hydrating moisturiser.
A favourite backstage at fashion weeks from Australia to New York and beyond, Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentrate is an affordable do-it-all moisturiser. Makeup artists love this super-rich product for its ability to prime skin and deliver a potent hit of hydration. It can even be used as a mask or makeup remover.
Once upon a time, Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentrate was only available at French pharmacies but thanks to the wonders of the internet, it can now be found the world over. Shop here.
WHAT IS THE BEST EYE CREAM ON THE MARKET?
How could we choose?! There are so many eye creams out there to choose from and when it comes to finding the best one for you, it truly does depend on your skin type and concern. Often, it’s a case of trial and error. Having said that, Gritty Pretty Founder & Editor-in-Chief Eleanor Pendleton loves Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème: a vitamin C-rich eye cream that instantly brightens and, over time, works to reduce the appearance of dark circles and fine lines. Whereas Beauty Director Erin Cook (AKA yours truly) has been using – and really enjoying! – Liberty Belle Eye Dream: a rich retinol-based eye cream that hydrates and firms skin while you sleep.
I HAVE SEVERE ACNE AND I’M NOT SURE WHERE I SHOULD GO. WHAT PLACES DO YOU RECOMMEND?
If your acne is severe and impacting your quality of life, your first port of call should be a GP who can then refer you on to a dermatologist. However, if you’re not quite at that stage, a reputable skin clinic can help.
Always do your research before booking in for a consultation to make sure the therapist is experienced and the salon is reputable. Gritty Pretty’s Little Black Book of Beauty can help – we extensively review salons before they are added to the directory, ensuring you are in safe hands.
As Jocelyn Petroni, one of Australia’s most esteemed facialists explains, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment program for acne. “Every skin type is unique,” Jocelyn tells Gritty Pretty. “You will always experience different results from different treatments. Laser is the most efficient treatment for scarring – specifically Fraxel Laser – however, it really does depend on the skin type and intensity of the scarring.”
When it comes to skin, sometimes less is more. “You should not be over treating your skin and having lots of invasive treatments as this can often cause inflammation and make the scarring worse,” Jocelyn says.
At Jocelyn’s eponymous Woollahra salon, she usually recommends a daily acid-infused serum for acne, along with a course of peels. “We perform a treatment called a Skin Regenerating Mandelic Peel ($230 for 45 minutes) and recommend a course of six treatments, fortnightly. It’s a specialised peel designed to immediately eliminate dead skin cells and unblock pores.”
WHAT IS THE BEST TANNING PRODUCT FOR DARKER SKIN THAT JUST WANTS TO HAVE AN EVEN GLOW?
The fake tan category is expanding at an alarming rate – which is a great thing. Those of us with fairer skin can fake that post-Europe glow whereas women with dark skin can use self-tanning products to even out their complexion.
The best tanning product for darker skin? Jacob Stanley, Head of Education MECCA Brands, recommends Isle of Paradise’s Self-Tanning Water in Dark. “[This] mist is lightweight, hydrating and uses Hyper Violet colour-correcting technology to reduce orange and sallow tones,” Jacob explains. “After four to six hours you will have a streak-free and odourless glow.”
For your face, Jacob endorses the James Read Express Glow Face Mask. “It is formulated as a universal shade to suit all skin tones and in just 30 minutes the mask will leave your skin with a beautiful, natural glow,” Jacob says. “The mask also contains skin-loving ingredients such as aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, jojoba seed oil and algae extract to hydrate, smooth and soften skin.”
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO AIR DRY HAIR WITHOUT IT GOING FRIZZY?
While we’d all love to step out the front door with perfectly heat-styled hair each morning, this would be a) time consuming and b) damaging. However, the alternative – i.e. leaving your hair to its own devices – can often lead to frizz. So, how does one air dry their hair without it going frizzy?
“The biggest mistake people make when coming out of the shower is rubbing your hair too hard,” says Clive Allwright, Our Place Salon and muk Haircare Artistic Director. “When air drying, get out of the shower and squeeze out the moisture with a towel – do not rub.”
From there, “Spray in with a leave in conditioner as a base coat and then add a leave in cream based product with weight and no hold.” Clive recommends Kinky muk Curl Leave In Moisturiser. “The cream will add loads of moisture, which your hair needs – hair goes frizzy because it is looking for moisture in the air. Comb through with a very wide tooth comb, crunch with the hand and let it air dry.”
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHEMICAL AND MANUAL EXFOLIATING PRODUCTS FOR YOUR FACE?
Great question! As Jocelyn Petroni explains, physical exfoliants are the abrasive scrubs that we traditionally associate with exfoliating. Usually, they require a scrubbing action and contain natural products such as nuts, stones or waxy beads to buff away dead skin cells. “Physical exfoliants are more instant [than other forms of exfoliating] and can also contain fruit acids that are dual-action, which is fantastic for the skin.”
Chemical exfoliants, on the other hand, “use fruit acids to dissolve dry or dead layers of the skin and to clean the pores,” says Jocelyn. “[Chemical exfoliating products] contain oil soluble fruit acids to dry out pores. They’re great for congested skin, breakouts and skin types that don’t like abrasive scrubs.” Examples of these active ingredients include glycolic acid, lactic acids or bromelain – read our full explainer on exfoliating acids here.
Words by Erin Cook for Gritty Pretty