Thursday, 30 January 2014

Oil Cleansing


It's usually something you associate with cooking, right? Well, it's also very beneficial to your skin.
Whenever you tell someone that oil is good for their skin, even oily skin, they look at you with both surprise and skepticism. Why? Because we have been made to think that oil will create more oil on the skin, when actually, it does the exact opposite.

Water penetrates water. Oil penetrates oil.
We all have different skin-types and pH-balances; and there is an oil out there that suits every single one.

When it comes to skincare, we try to make our skin go from being either of the extremes, to normal, but a lot of commercial skincare products out there end up stripping our skin of it's vital oils, especially those with oily skin. When you strip an oily skin-type of it's oil, the skin goes into shock and creates more oil to compensate for the dryness. It also doesn't help that a lot of people with oily skin never moisturise either.

It's all about pH-balancing. Conventional cleansers are heavily alkaline based whilst our skins acid-mantle is more on the acidic side, so those cleansers actually work against your skin and try to change the overall pH-balance. Those people who use alkaline cleansers and rave about how good they are, have altered their skin's pH. When they go to use pH-balancing products, their skin will fight back and probably break-out.

Washing and hydrating your face with oils is a good step towards good skin. Here are a list of oils to use with each skin type. It can vary, and like with skincare products, you need to experiment to find the perfect one for you. Oil Cleansing is best to be used at night since it gets the bulk of your makeup off, then you follow up with another cleanser.

Oily - Hazelnut, Castor, Argan, Tamanu and Jojoba are good oils for oily skin because they level out the oil balance.

Combination-Oily - Extra Virgin Olive, Avocado, Hazelnut, Argan, Castor, Tamanu, and Jojoba.

Normal - Extra Virgin Olive, Avocado, Argan, Castor, Sweet Almond, Rosehip, Tamanu.

Combination-Dry - Extra Virgin Olive, Avocado, Argan, Castor, Coconut, Tamanu, Macadamia.

Dry - Extra Virgin Olive, Avocado, Castor, Argan, Coconut, Tamanu, Macadamia.

Acne-Prone - Rosehip, Castor, Avocado, Tamanu, Argan, Hazelnut.

Sensitive - Apricot Kernel, Rosehip, Grapeseed, Coconut, Argan, Jojoba, Tamanu.

Mature - Rosehip, Carrot (Beware, will make you orange. ;P), Avocado, Argan, Jojoba, Tamanu (Especially good for mature skin), Extra Virgin Olive.

When using Extra Virgin Olive Oil, make sure it is truly extra virgin. There are some brands out there that claim it is virgin, when in fact it is a blend of both Virgin, Olive oil and Extra virgin. Extra Virgin is needed since it has all of the anti-oxidants, unlike those that have been filtered.
Don't use Coconut, Peach Kernel or Olive Oil on skin that is oily or prone to acne break-outs.

A good place to get oils from is Fushi, their oils are extremely high quality. All of their bottles are amber glass with built in droppers, so you wont end up wasting anything. They are also at very good prices too.
A good place to get castor oil is from Pukka Organics, the brand that makes tea blends also. It is the highest quality I have come across.

It is important to use high quality because you are paying for sustainable farming, fairtrade and not harming your own skin with herbicides and pesticides. Make the right choice.

Do you oil cleanse? If so, what oils do you use and has it improved your skin at all? Comment below.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Skincare I Want To Get My Hands On!

I have recently been searching the internet for reviews on skincare and have come across many brands that make me want to take my debit card and mercilessly murder my bank balance!

As a student, I don't get much money, BUT I will always want to spend as much as I can on skincare to find that perfect skincare routine that works for me. Some say that it is impossible. I say, "You fools! You do not BELIEVE!"

I do.
I believe in fairies.

But seriously, investing in a good skincare routine will do you lots of good for the future (same with drinking water and eating your veggies #listentoyourmum). It will save you stress from a break out, it will brighten your skin and it will halt the incoming of wrinkles when you reach 40! Yaaaay!

Recently I've been stalking reading bloggers that cater to organic skincare whilst also reviewing Korean skincare too and these are the brands that I have found.

This company is quite new, but their products are highly raved about on the internet. Their most famous product being the Snail Bee High Content Essence, but all of them have had very good reviews.

All of their products are good for all skin types, and I mean that. Since the main ingredient in all of their products is Aloe Vera juice and not water, they all have very soothing effects which are perfect for both sensitive and acne-prone skin alike.

I've ordered my first batch of Benton Snail Bee Essence today, don't tell my boyfriend. ;)
I can't help it, there was a SALE!

Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule

 This here serum has been compared to Estee Lauders Advanced Night Repair and is a rival to it, at a fraction of the price. I wantses it, I needses it!
Besides, I think Estee Lauder is way too overpriced for what you get. A 50ml bottle of Advanced Night repair is £65 whilst a 50ml bottle of Time Revolution is £25!

Shea Terra Organics

Apart from loving the word-play of the brand, this brand also has a lot of hype around it. I've checked the ingredients, and they are all very good with no unneeded dilution of ingredients from chemicals. They have a hefty postage and packaging price, but if you subscribe to their newsletter, you get 30% off products every month! It's worth it!
The two things I really want to try out is their Rose Hips Black Soap Deep Pore Wash to help with my acne, and their Argan, Zafron, Camel's Milk Brightening Lait Creme. The camel's milk intrigues me the most. Some people might think it is disgusting; I'm curious about it. I welcome "weird" ingredients. It's often the weird ones that are the best ones.

Have any of you tried any of these brands or products? Do you have any brands that really make you want to spend? Leave a comment!

Western Skincare vs. Asian Skincare

Skincare can be quite soothing and relaxing. I find it so. The routine of it makes me feel good. For others, it may be a chore. I like the way my skin feels after I have applied everything in the morning and night, and I like to see the effects they bring, it excites me to know that my face cream is having great effects on my skins condition. Thanks to this, I am a skincare junkie. I love it so much. If there is a sale on skincare, I'll be in there elbows first!

But what I've found out is that Western skincare is lagging behind Asian skincare by at least 10 years! I was surprised at first, everyone likes to think that Western = the best/more advanced, but then I started to do some research.

In Asia, there are skincare products that have snail secretion, bee venom and egg shell membrane, ingredients that Western skincare brands wouldn't touch with a barge pole. I often wondered why. Asian skincare also has active ingredients, like Western brands, but at a more potent level. Whilst Western brands like to water down these active ingredients with shed-loads of chemicals (or include them at lower doses) so they don't end up giving the real benefits of said ingredient.
Lower-end Asian skincare brands rival that of Western higher-end, that is something to think about. Imagine what higher-end Asian brands would give? I'm curious!

The demand for skincare in Asia is so much higher than it is in Western countries. In Western countries, we like to buy more makeup than we do skincare, which baffles me. If you have good skin, you wont need so much makeup, and that is true. Most people in Western society don't seem to grab onto that idea though, they think skincare is tedious, and if they do-do it, it's only the bare minimum. Though saying that, a lot of Western beauty bloggers are helping to push the importance of skincare, which is good.

I believe that makeup is to be used to enhance, not to cover up. If you have acne and you use makeup to cover it, it's only going to make it worse.

I've played around with Korean skincare brands for a while, but for some reason, went back to a Western routine, which I regret. My skin has been so bad!
I'm going to show you the differences between Western and Asian routines.

Western Routine:
Moisturiser - Optional

Serum - Optional
Moisturiser - Optional

I highly recommend an Asian skin routine because the extra steps make sure that your skin is pumped full of moisture and protected from the sun.

Asian Routine:
Cleanser - Get two cleansers. One for mornings which is gentle, and one for night which will take off the rest of your makeup. If you have oily skin, use a cleanser made for normal skin. Cleansers usually made for oily skin strip too much oil, thus making your skin oilier to compensate for the dryness.
Toner - An Asian toner is moisturising, not drying like ours are. If you have oily skin, still use a moisturising toner. Your skin is oily due to dryness.)
Gel - To lightly moisturise.
Cream - To moisturise further, especially if you have dry skin.  If you have oily skin, apply little by little. Feel your skin to see how it's reacting.

Oil-Cleanse - To get rid of the bulk of your make-up.
Cleanser - If your cleanser isn't getting off the rest of your make-up, get a new cleanser.
Toner - NOT for getting rid of the rest of the make-up
Mask (Optional)
Spot Treatment (Optional)

See the difference? A lot more thought is put into their skincare which is why a lot of the time, their skin is amazing.
A good place to get Korean skincare is either RoseRoseShop or Cosmetic-Love. They are both South Korea based, so it will take some time for the products to get to you, but it is so worth it.

Good brands to use are:
- Benton - Highly recommend! The best skincare some people have ever used, and it is chemical free. It's had huge ravings.
- Missha - Their Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule (Serum basically) rivals, maybe even better than, Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair at a fraction of the price, with better ingredients and a more high-end feel. Their bottle is made from glass, whilst Estee Lauders is made from brown plastic.

For other alternatives use Ciracle, Mizon, From Nature, ElishaCoy, Skinfood, Innisfree, Laneige, Etude House (The cutest packaging EVER!) and Nature Republic.

You have to remember that South Korea's beauty industry is incredibly competitive, even more so than ours. Due to this, their skincare is better than ours and have better ingredients. I recommend to invest. And they have so many sales! One is on right now at both RoseRoseShop and Cosmetic-Love due to Korean New Year, but you wont get your items shipped until after February 5th. Get buying!

What is your skin routine like? Are there any products that are your "holy grails"? Have you too started to adopt an Asian skin routine or are you comfortable with the Western one? Comment below, I would love to know.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Sugar Is Making You Fat and Sick

For many years now, fat has been demonised for making people fat. What if I was to tell you that it wasnt? What if I was to tell you that fructose was the thing that was making you fat?

We are all addicted to sugar even before we come out of the womb. Everything your mother ate, you ate, that also includes sugar. Don't believe me? Try quitting it, then you will see. You will have cravings, you will be tired and hungry all of the time, you might get cold sweats, you might feel dizzy and sick. That 10 o'clock chocolate bar you have to get you through till lunch will have to be substituted for something else.

But after 6 weeks of being fructose free, you will feel so much better. You will refuse to have that chocolate bar or that piece of cake because your body wont want it. You will be free from the grip of fructose, to the point where you may be able to smell the sugar in the cereal aisle, from the other side of the supermarket.

"Everything in moderation"

I hate that term. Everyone's opinion on moderation is different. Eating a piece of fruit a day to me may seem moderate, yet for someone else, eating 3 pieces of fruit is moderate. Nutritionists need to stop promoting "everything in moderation" because it doesn't work.
Our bodies naturally moderate our eating for us. They tell us when we've had too much to eat, so there is no need to moderate how much you eat. When our bodies have had too much fat, it tells us to stop eating because it wants to metabolise it. The same goes for complex carbohydrates, fibre and glucose.

And do you know why? Because our bodies recognise those things. When they enter the body, it knows what to do with it all.

It isn't the same for fructose.
Fructose isn't recognised inside the body, so when it enters it, the liver turns it straight into fat. Fructose also blocks your leptin signals that tell you when you are full, so you end up overeating.
Fructose also makes your insulin not do it's job of regulating fat and carbohydrates, so it ends up making your pancreas go into overdrive to metabolise what you eat, which raises your blood pressure, which then contributes to Type-2 Diabetes.

Whenever you eat fructose, your body cannot control how much you eat.
Back in caveman days, whenever you came across a berry bush, or hit the goldmine and found a honey bee nest, you would gorge on them, because you didn't know when you would stumble across another one. You cannot moderate fructose, it is impossible, because your body isn't designed to do so.

Fructose is found in many things;
Fruit - only eat one or two pieces of fruit a day. Even though fruit has fructose, it has twice as much fibre which stops some of the sugar from blocking the leptin signals. But not a lot, so only a few pieces of fruit a day is advised.
Fruit Juice - which is pure sugar, I don't recommend drinking them
Dried fruit - also pure sugar, don't eat them
High-fructose corn syrup
Sugar - any kind, even the 'healthy' sugars like coconut palm.
Agave syrup
Maple syrup
Lucuma Powder

Fructose is in everything you buy from the shop, except from meat and vegetables. Walk into a supermarket and check the back of any packet, and you will see, 10 times out of 10, that it will have sugar in it.

That 'low-fat' yoghurt you bought? Full of sugar. Do you know why? When the fat is taken out, all of the flavour is taken out too, it would taste like cardboard. In order to bring flavour back, they add sugar to make it palatable. Never buy 'low-fat' or 'no-fat'. Always consume whole foods, so whole milk, whole nuts, wholegrain, etc. Apart from the whole milk, those foods have lots of fibre in them too. Fibre is taken out of a lot of packaged food to give it a longer shelf life and to make it cook quicker. All fast food restaurants take the fibre out of all their food to make it cook quicker and to be able to ship it around the globe. Never eat fast food, apart from a salad, even the so-called 'healthy' fast food chains.

Everyone tries to defend fructose consumption by saying;
"It's natural; so it's good for you" - Tobacco is natural, and that isn't good for you. So is petroleum, but you wouldn't eat that.
Or, "But sugar is in our blood, so you can eat it" - Yes, sugar is in our blood, but that sugar is glucose, not fructose.

A can of Coco-cola has 9 teaspoons of sugar in it. A glass of apple juice has 10 teaspoons of sugar in it.

Here is how you calculate how much sugar is in a product.
Look at the chart on the back of the label which says 'Nutrition Typical Values', go down to ''Carbohydrates, of which are sugar'' and the value will be written in grams. To turn that value into teaspoons, you divide that value by 4 to get the total teaspoons.
Why teaspoons you ask? Because it's easier to visualise how much sugar there is via teaspoons.

Here are two low-fat yoghurts;
Activia Zero-fat Raspberry Yoghurt 165g
Yeo Valley Organic Zero-fat Vanilla Yoghurt 450g

The Activia yoghurt has 13g of sugar in it. That equates to 3.25 teaspoons of sugar per 165g.

Now, the Yeo Valley yoghurt has 23.7g of sugar per 150g, which equates to 5.9 teaspoons of sugar. If you were to eat that whole pot (which I could have done easily), that equates to 106.65g(estimate) of sugar or 26 teaspoons. That is a lot.

Commercial bread also has sugar in it, so I recommend making your own or going to a real bakery and asking if they have any without sugar in it.

Here is the estimated total sugar for cereals per 100g;
Dorset Cereals Oat Granola, 31.25g per 100g or 7.8 teaspoons
Kelloggs All-Bran, 32.5g per 100g or 8 teaspoons
Kelloggs Special K, 27.5g per 100g or 6.8 teaspoons
Nestle Cheerios, 21.4 per 100g or 5.3 teaspoons

You are only supposed to have 6 teaspoons of sugar for a woman and 8 teaspoons for a man. That seems like quite a lot if you look at it, and hard to reach, but you will be shocked by how much you eat in a day.

So, if you were to have a glass of apple juice and a bowl of Nestle Cheerios, you would have already blown your sugar intake for the day at just breakfast time.
Then you may have a chocolate bar or an apple as a snack before lunch. For lunch you may have a pre-packed sandwich from a supermarket, another piece of fruit with some more fruit juice and maybe a packet of crisps. Calculate how much sugar you are eating in a day, and you will be astonished by how much there is.

I, myself, was eating at least 35 teaspoons of sugar a day. It made me feel a bit sick, actually. I was convinced that I was eating healthy sugar like fruits, dried fruits and honey, yet couldn't pin point why I was gaining so much weight. I've now quit sugar for 2 weeks and I've already lost 3lbs, without doing anything.

I honestly don't blame fat people for being fat. No one chooses or wants to be fat. The amount of gripe that fat people get is disgusting. It's all well and great if you can eat whatever you want and don't gain a pound due to a high metabolism, but not everyone is like that.
I thought I was eating healthy, a lot healthier than a lot of high-metabolised people I knew, but couldn't shift a pound. It got me very upset, confused and my self-esteem shrunk, because I was eating ''healthy'' and doing exercise too, yet I was still fat.

The amount of sugar that is in our food is scary. Sugar makes you eat more because that leptin signal is blocked, so your body can't tell when you are full up. It is also very addictive, and whenever you think you're eating healthy, if you look at the back of the packet, it will be laden with sugar. It's a landmine of sugar in the supermarket.
You will have to start making things from scratch, which wont take too long.

I have to admit, it has been hard, especially at breakfast. We've been hardwired by the breakfast industry to think the only things you can eat for breakfast are cereal or toast. Well, there are other things out there, you just need to experiment.
If you come to quit sugar, your best friends will be eggs, bacon and cheese. Protein and fat are going to keep you full.

Here is a video on sugar and what it does to you, it is very insightful;
Sugar: The Bitter Truth by Robert Lustig

Here are some books to read about the subject too;
Pure, White and Deadly by John Yudkin, published in 1972 but was side-lined due to the growing demand in low-fat food.
Fat Chance: The Hidden Truth about Sugar, Obesity and Disease by Robert Lustig.
Sweet Poison by David Gillespie, a more recent look at sugar and what it does to the body.
I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson, has recipes in there to help with the detox of ridding sugar from your life. You may think that the recipes are impractical or expensive due to the ingredients, but you wont be buying cakes, bread, pre-packaged food anymore, so it wont be as expensive.

Friday, 17 January 2014

My Story and Inspiration

Since the start of this year I have been trying to get my health, state of mind and weight in check. Since I started puberty, I have been overweight and unable to shift it. My mother had always given me more to eat than a little girl should. At the age of 7; I was eating adult size meals. I thought that was normal back then, I didn't know any different, but looking back now; I realise that I was hugely overfed.

What didn't help was the fact that I was not allowed to leave the table when I was full up, I had to keep on eating to finish what was on my plate, and that has affected my eating habits now. I used to get bullied a lot at school and at home. I looked different from the other children (Half Turkish-Cypriote) and I was shy and quiet, so an easy target. I was often called fat and ugly, and no one wanted to play with me, I was extremely lonely as a child. I was an outcast. And my mother kept on telling me I had to lose weight, that I was fat, yet she wasn't willing to help me lose any of it. She continued to give me huge meals, and so the weight piled on.

I used to comfort eat to make myself feel better, I had no one to talk to, so food was my only way of coping. That and video games. This led me to gain more weight, which got me bullied more and made my self-esteem fly out of the window.
When I was 16 and finally left school, the bullying stopped, but I still had no self esteem. I would wrap myself up in baggy clothes, only have my hair up and wore nothing girly because I thought I was too ugly/manly-looking to wear it. I was overweight for my height, 5'3'' and 13 stone, and not feeling very comfortable in my own skin. I was diagnosed with depression, which I already knew I had, and started my journey towards healing my mental health issues.

My biggest hurdle to healthy living was the "I have asthma" excuse. I do know that doing exercise was always harder for me than it was for everyone else, but I let that excuse stop me from taking the big step to being healthy and happy. This went on for years, I'd always complained that I couldn't do exercise because of my asthma. I power walked everywhere, still do now, but that wasn't enough to shift the weight. I couldn't understand why my body mass wasn't shrinking, I power walked everyday and ate what I thought to be 'healthy'. I ate better than a lot of the people I knew, yet I was the fat one. I was confused and upset.

I was addicted to sugar. If someone put out a cake in front of me, I couldn't just have one piece, I had to have two or three. I just couldn't help myself, I had no willpower. I convinced myself that I was eating healthily when it came to everything else, so having two pieces of cake was justified. Well; it wasn't.
I read an article in a magazine telling how sugar is both addictive (more addictive than cocaine!) and a danger to our health. Whilst reading the article, something clicked in my head, what they were saying just made sense to me. It said that a lot of what we eat is laden with sugar, even the food we think to be savoury. I tracked back to all of the 'healthy' things I usually ate, and found out the sugar content of everything I ate in one day. It was an extortionate amount, it was scary.  Why is the food industry spiking our food with sugar? All of the 'Low-fat' and 'No-fat' food is full of sugar. And do you know why? Because to take the fat out, the flavour, you have to add something back in to make it taste good.

It finally made sense as to why I couldn't shift the unwanted weight. I was eating too much sugar, way too much. I decided to cut down on my sugar intake, and bought a book called "I Quit Sugar" by Sarah Wilson to help me do so. The only downside of this book is the fact that a lot of recipes call for expensive ingredients, or those you can only buy on the internet, and take a lot of time to prepare. In the UK, food is incredibly expensive, so putting a whole avocado into a green smoothie would rack up quite a large food bill. So I am entirely going at this on my own, reading her book to keep myself inspired. I am constantly learning about the things that we eat and find it very interesting.
I am also about to apply for a gym membership to help with the weight loss and overall good health. I like to swim, so I may spend most of the time in the pool. Though, the gym I want to go to is starting a female strength class, so I may do that too, it seems interesting.

Only now am I slowly getting my self-esteem back, it's been too long to be continuously hating how I look. It's time for change.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Honey and Cinnamon Spot Zapper!

I've had a lot of breakouts recently that have become and annoyance.
I don't have perfect skin, far from it, but I have a habit of picking at spots which makes them even worse. One of my new years resolutions is to stop picking at spots, which I have already failed, but the thought counts. I have one on the side of my mouth which really hurts, and it's taking all of my willpower not to pop it, but I have a secret weapon.

Ta daaaaa!

The Cinnamon and Honey Spot Mask

It's a simple recipe really..

Cinnamon - preferably a teaspoon
Honey - Just enough to mix all of the cinnamon in.

All you need is some cinnamon and some honey, mix it into a paste and apply it to a cleaned face. Leave it on the skin for as long as you would like, but I wouldn't recommend going to bed with it on, you might have a messy pillowcase in the morning. To remove, just gently rub off with a wet flannel, and then apply your moisturiser to add moisture back to your skin.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Why I am creating this blog

I have tried to make a blog once before, but it failed miserably. I didn't keep it up unfortunately. So here, I have started again, but this time I am documenting my progress on my skin and my health.

Recently I have started a new lifestyle change. I have decided to quit sugar.
Why, you are probably thinking?
Well, sugar has been linked to the rise in obesity and cancer, and a book published in 1972, "Pure, White and Deadly", realised this would happen, yet was shortlisted due to the rise of the 'Fat is bad' bandwagon that has plagued the modern diet.

Fat does not make you fat.

Our ancestors ate a high-fat diet yet stayed lean, there was no 'low-fat' alternative and better for it. Anything 'low-fat' or 'no-fat' has had high amounts of sugar added to it to make it taste the same as full fat. Doesn't that sound weird to you? It does to me. We are a nation of sugar addicts, and like any addict, you don't know that you are addicted. When you try to eradicate it from your life, it takes immense willpower, because there are danger zones everywhere that entice you to break away from the diet. No more store bought chocolate, no more ice cream, no more chocolate milkshake, and lastly... No make cake. (Nooooooo!)

It has been a week of no sugar for me, and the signs of addiction are evident. I feel like I need sugar, I need it to make me happy, and if I don't have it, I get moody. I have managed to stay sugar free for a week, surprisingly. I do feel sorry for my boyfriend though, he gets the brunt of my sugar-laden aggression, but he knows not to take it seriously. He gets his revenge by eating a bar of chocolate in front of me. RAAAAGE.

This isn't just a food blog, it is also a beauty blog. I also jumped onto the organic skincare bandwagon too, I started July this year and my skin has become better because of it.

This blog is to track my progress, to share my ups and downs, and my recipes and food choices. If you like what I have to share, then I encourage you to keep on reading.