Toners – Their Uses, Benefits, and So Much More

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you’re having a great week. I am slowly but surely drowning in homework (so much fun!)

Today’s post is on toners. I know, I know….

Why am I talking about toners?

Well, because not everyone understands what they are or what type they should be using for their current skin conditions. Don’t worry, I’m also in this group, I only figured out what toner I needed this past summer.

Toners are used right after cleansing but before serums/essences. They are used to add moisture back into the skin barrier.

In other terms, our society is obsessed with things that foam and having our skin squeaky clean. This is bad because using harsh surfactants disrupt the delicate skin barrier by getting rid of / shrivelling up the lovely microbes (the good bacteria that heals and protects you and your skin).

What do they do exactly?

Toners are water-based liquids with a very liquidy consistency that generally contain certain active ingredients and extracts. They are used to prepare the skin for the products coming after it. By using a toner, it balances the skin’s PH to a safer level and moisturizes skin so that it can also get rid of any last remnants of dirt, oil, or makeup.

They also soothe skin (or should) and contain large amounts of extracts and nourishing ingredients.

Think of it this way: You know when you’ve just woken up from a 6-8 hour sleep in the morning and you’re really thirsty? Think about eating a sandwich or something that is pretty dry without any water to help push it down. That’s what you’re doing to your skin when you skip toner and move on to your next product (unless you’re only using an oil cleanser).

What Type of Toner do I Need?

To be honest, toners differ and cater towards individual needs. But there are certain ingredients everyone should steer clear of.

Personally, I use toners that focus on hydration because that is what my skin lacks. Not in moisture, but in hydration.

Mature/ Dry/ Dehydrated skin: nourishing and hydrating

Sensitive: soothing

Normal: hydrating

Oily: Calming, relaxing

Either way, always look for something that is alcohol free because (more often than not) alcohol will dry out your skin and speed up the aging process (over time) and cause wrinkles and stress faster.

How to Apply

There are two ways of applying toners — either with a cotton round that you can swipe all over your face, neck, and chest (this is very important. Don’t forget about this other delicate places!)

You can also use your hands and pat it into your skin which will give you the full benefits of the toner as well as being absorbed quickly.

How often should I use it?

Generally, morning and night. If it’s a spray then use it whenever you feel like. Especially when your skin is dry. I also recommend doing a few layers of toner in the morning and at night for extra hydration that really sinks in. This practice is referred to as ‘skins’ and anywhere between two and six skins is great.

Do I need a Toner?

Depends on the type of cleanser you use and your skin concerns.

If it’s a foaming cleanser, don’t skip a toner because foam strips the moisture barrier and speeds up aging and attributes to other problems.

As long as the toner doesn’t have alcohol or mineral oil in it, there is no downside to a toner. They are used to restore skin moisture after cleansing and I really think they’re great.

Some of my favourites:

Make P:rem Hydrate Me Micro Essence Toner

Pyunkang Yul Mist Toner

Rose Water

Belif Bergamot Toner

I recommend the Make P:rem toner to everyone because it’s a hydrating toner and everyone can benefit from a little more hydration.

Do you use a toner? If so, which one?

Homemade Night Body Oil with Natural Plant Based Oils

Hello, everyone! Hope you’re day is off to a great start.

Okay, I’m going to start doing this as a weekly thing because I love helping people. Every Friday will now become DIY Friday! I will be sharing some of my favourite and trusted recipes for get skin, wellness, and everything in between.

As a person with extremely dry skin, I really need as much moisture as possible. However, I dislike the feel of body butters because they’re pretty thick. This night body oil is jam-packed with nourishing properties like omega fatty acids and antioxidants that protect the skin barrier from dryness. It also lightens pigmentation and scars, quickens the healing process of wounds, and leaves skin smooth and insanely soft. I suggest putting it on at night because some of these oils need a little extra time to really sink into the skin. But it’s so worth it.

Below I have included two versions of the body oil-a short one and a long one. The short one is cheaper to get the ingredients because oils can get a little pricey.

So, for this body oil to work, it should be used alongside a lotion. I love this one from skinfix because it’s lightweight and crazy nourishing.

As I also hate long intros, here are my secret formulas!

Short version of Night Body Oil

  • 4 oz dark amber glass bottle

Full Ingredients List for Night Body Oil

  • 4 oz dark amber glass bottle
  • 1/2 oz Avocado oil -smooths skin, high in vitamin E
  • 1/2 oz Macadamia nut oil- locks in moisture
  • 1/2 oz Safflower oil -heals wounds, soft skin
  • 1/2 oz Tamanu oil -Heals wounds, protects skin, tones body, helps with hyperpigmentation
  • 1/2 oz Hemp seed oil -antioxidants, omega fatty acids
  • 1/4 oz Kukui nut oil -smooths skin, gives nice glow
  • 20 drops Lavender essential oil -anti-bacterial
  • 20 drops Grapefruit essential oil -anti-inflammatory, natural preservative
  • 10 drops Cypress essential oil -reduces appearance of cellulite
  • 5 drops Carrot essential oil -helps with hyperpigmentation

Don’t laugh…I know the full one is pretty extensive. But this is my secret to soft skin. The order really doesn’t matter because they’re all oils. I also like to close the bottle and gently swirl it upside down rather than shake it.

And although this oil will last you a few months, you might be wondering why or how it’s any better than store bought ones.

Well, store bought ones tend to contain fillers and preservatives and you spend a lot of money on them. With this, you have at least enough to refill your 4 oz bottle two or three times. Or you can use the rest on other places like your hair!

Side note, if you want some nice lingering scent, I suggest using a few drops of geranium essential oil because it’s beautiful and fresh smelling.

And here is what the finished product looks like. It’ll look the same despite which recipe you use.

What are your thoughts? Do you already use a body oil?

The Essential Oil You’re Missing for Healthy Skin

Happy Wednesday!

I hope you’re all doing really well. Hopefully you don’t have the winter blues! In Toronto, it plus 7 Celsius. Not Fahrenheit. It’s so insanely warm some people are wearing dresses. It’s supposed to be winter.

Anyway, if you’ve been to my blog before, you know I absolutely adore grapefruit essential oil. In this post, I’ll be explaining exactly why I love it so much as is just as essential in ones arsenal as tea tree, lavender, and frankincense.

What is Grapefruit Essential Oil?

Grapefruit oil is steam distilled and made from the peel rather than the pulp of the fruit. It has a fresh and slightly sweet tangy smell to it.

So, why is pink grapefruit essential oil one of my top essential oils? Because it’s an awesome multipurpose oil. It’s a naturally beautiful oil with an insane amount of benefits that range from clear and balance skin, uplifting moods, and cleaning.

The Benefits

Balances Oily Skin

Because this oil contains limonene, it cuts the body’s sebum creation by adding a layer of moisture.

promotes weight loss

When you’re craving some snacks, diffuse this and inhale deeply. It’ll cut down your cravings while it excite your nerves.

Lymphatic support

Remember when I said not to dry brush your delicate boobs (if you have them)? Well, I suggest using grapefruit! It naturally supports blood circulation and releases toxins caught in the body (source). It also keeps breast smooth and plump as it slows the aging process through messaging the oil into this area (must be done daily).

Reduces depression

Have you ever deeply inhaled citrus fruits? They are instantly uplifting, taking the mind back to sunny, simpler days with happy thoughts. Whenever I need a good pick me up, I tend to put this in a diffuser mixed with frankincense or just take a few good whiffs straight from the bottle.

Natural Preservative

The essential oil and extract are great for prolonging a natural / homemade product’s shelf life. Because it is so high in antioxidants and limonene and citronellol, it can also enhance the product’s effectiveness. However, they are not full preservatives so it won’t make them last more than an extra month or so.

Glossy hair

Just like your face gets glowy and sooth thanks to antioxidants, your hair does too!

boosts immune system

When inhaled, vitamin C and citrus fight throat and respiratory infections and helps the liver detox the body.

anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial

Grapefruit is high in phytochemicals (source) that reduces stress and inflammation. It also contains properties that are antimicrobial and eliminate harmful bacteria. It’s soft enough to use topically (diluted with a carrier oil like tamanu) but tough enough to be used to clean your whole house!

How I Use it

I add this to at least one of my oils per routine. So it’s mixed in with raspberry seed oil for mornings and hemp seed oil for nights. I also use this in both of my body oils and homemade cleanser. And in my all-purpose cleaner. And I diffuse it. See? I use it for everything.

I love this and this but this and this are good ones too!

Of course grapefruit has other great benefits but these are the ones I really love and mention to friends and family. They also are the reasons why I keep buying it again and again. Hopefully you enjoyed learning about this essential as much as I had fun explaining it!

What are some of your favourite essential oils? I’m dying to expand my collection!

Morning Skincare Routine | Sincerely, Debbie

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend. I finally had a weekend off, after six months (yay!) Only to be sick the whole weekend. So, what better time than this to show my daily morning skincare routine. I usually stick to the same routine all year round but cut a few steps or add in extra steps during the summer. For some reason, during the summer I tend to have several sudden breakouts probably because my skin is absolutely freaked by warm weather. The same happened when I went to Africa and Vancouver. I guess it’s just used to crappy Toronto weather.

Anyway, morning skincare routines are all about hydration and protection. This is where all those antioxidants and protection from free radicals come in handy. So, here we go:

Cleanser

For my cleanser, I use an extra gentle one. I tend to use my homemade cleanser because it’s insanely moisturizing. With it, I sometimes skip a toner all together because it’s jam packed with manuka honey, which has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has some macadamia nut oil, hemp seed oil, and golden jojoba. Also a ton of brewed tea and some essential oils. It’s great

Glossier Milky Jelly When I’m not in the mood to use that though, I turn towards my Glossier Milky Jelly because it’s kind of awesome. It contains rose water-known to soothe skin and comfrey root extract which is used to soothe and quicken the healing process of burns and wounds. This is a very mild cleanser and I used it about a few times a week when I feel my skin really needs a break from life.

Toner(s)

Pyunkang Yul has an amazing line out and I love using their toner spray and if you haven’t heard anything about them, I suggest that you check them out first here and then buy here (because it’s cheaper). It consists of mostly Coptis Japonica Root Extract, a lovely extract that prevents moisture loss and UV sun damage. I love using this right after washing my face. One or two sprays and then done!

Make P:rem’s Hydrate Me Toner is the toner I have been missing all my life. Sadly, I bought this at the end of the summer but once I got this in the mall, my summer skin problems instantly calmed. It’s so insanely hydrating especially when I layer it three to four times. Best thing ever with apple fruit water, fennel, and arctic raspberries or Nordic berries are great for hydration and full of antioxidants.

Booster Serum and Serum

Eminence Bright Skin Booster Serum is the secret to clearing up hyper pigmentation. Now, it’s not cheap nor is it actually a serum but it boosts the products that are put on after it. I use this both morning and night right before my oils to aid in their effectiveness. Using this stuff, which is full of aloe, licorice root-great for naturally brightening the complexion, and willow bark-amazing for calming skin and reducing redness.

Vivier Canada Vitamin C+E Serum is the only real serum that I used within my skincare. But with a hefty price tag of $149 CAD I can’t say I’m going to buy it again. It contains only L-Ascorbic Acid USP (vitamin C), vitamin E, and grapefruit extract. While I do recommend it for anyone who is dealing with large amounts of pigmentation, using this day and night did wonders for my skin. I used to have awful scars because I was naive and young and this cleared them up. While I didn’t find this right away, I’m glad I eventually did because it really helped me a lot. I just finished it and I believe that now I know more about my skin to not need a vitamin C serum anymore.

Oils/Moisturizer

Oils- Oils are great. As I’ve said before, I love using rosehip and raspberry oil in the morning as a moisturizer mixed in with some grapefruit and frankincense essential oils. Rosehip is high in vitamin C and contains a natural derivative of vitamin A, while raspberry oil is a natural sunscreen. Grapefruit is great for clearing bacteria and frankincense is just all around awesome. Moisturizer-As of lately I’ve been trying out a bunch of moisturizers. Because it’s so cold out and the amount I already have on, I need to do everything on a day-by-day basis. I really like Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer and Skyn’s Cooling Daily Lotion because it has kelp in it. I love seaweed, it’s great.

Sunscreen

Etude House has one of the best international sunscreens known. And that is their Sunprise sunscreen. This is probably because it’s a calming lotion with aloe. Best part is, since a lot of people don’t like chemical sunscreens, this mineral one is such a great choice. It contains sunflower seeds and acai berries which protect the skin.

Avene Mineral Sunscreen is a sunscreen that I have a love hate relationship with. It contains their world famous thermal spring water and vitamin E. I’m not exactly sure what’s in it but during the summer, this breaks me out. I still really like it and it’s an international bestseller.

 

All right, that’s it! Comment below if you use any of these items or have in he past. Or what your morning routine looks like.

Cleansers: How to Love Your Skin | Sincerely, Debbie

Hello everyone! I hope you’re enjoying the holidays, I know I am (tons of desserts and whiskey). This is another post on what skincare is and how to build a steady, consistent regime to aid in protecting the skin barrier and keeping these cells healthy.

What are cleansers?

Cleansers contain surfectants and cleansing agents such as cocamidopropyl betaine, a mild cleansing agent derived from coconut oil that can be found in cleansers in order to dissolve makeup, oil, and dirt. They are sometimes made from great ingredients from vegtables and fruits and some that have not so great ingredients like animal fats.  

The are two types – mild and harsh. 

Mild cleansers are moisturizing, generally contain plant extracts and oils to remove bad bacteria yet leave the good ones alone. They should have soft or no scents and should not be extremely foaming. 

Some great ones that I have used are-

Cosmetics: Glossier’s Milky Jelly, Goodal’s Super Seed Enriched Cleanser, Laneige Calming Gel

Natural: Dr. Bronner’s castile soap and my own homemade recipe (coming soon!). 

Harsh Cleansers are disrupters that are laced with strong fragrances and alocohols. They dry out the skin barrier by strippping it of natural oils and good bacterias. This causes clogged pores and congested skin because the glands overproduce oils to compensate the lack of moisture. Through time, acne and hyperpigmentation will increase and so will different skin conditions like sensitivity, eczema, and acne.  

I would stear clear of: 

Anything from St. Ives

Any cleansers that say oil controlling or made for acne and foaming (unless the ingredients show mild surfactants). 

What type of cleansers should you use?

Of course everyone should use only mild ones. A cleanser should only clean and moisturize the face, not leave it dry and tight. Moreover, a cleanser can only provide so many advantages yet can completely ruin the skin so all of those crazy claims, are just that-crazy. The only cleansers that can make a difference are oil cleansers because some residue of the oils lingers on the skin. 

A specific type of cleanser for the people with acne, oily skins, etc. is not needed so long as it cleans without stripping. 

Hopefully this helps if you are unsure on the type of cleanser you should be using. Remember, harsh is never the answer.

 

How to Create Your Own Natural Oil Cleanser

Let the record show that this is an old bottle and this is not how Boscia’s oil cleanser looks lie. What’s currently in it is my own recipe that works really well with my skin.

Oils are the best. No really, they are. Most oils moisturize, replenish, and protect the skin from free radicals and uv rays. There are also the super cool and super underrated oils which can do everything a popular oil can do and so much more (hello, tamanu oil!).

Oil cleansing is the only proven way to completely take off sunscreen since oils clean to the natural oils on the face and everything along with it. These also leave the skin smooth and supple, not drying or damaging the skin barrier.

I love making my own oil cleanser because I know exactly what’s going in it. Also because I am fortunate enough to be able to. I find that mixing roughly four oils together with some awesome essential oils like grapefruit and lavender it the way to go. Below I’ve listed the oils I use and some trusted sellers.

My cleanser is:

1/2 oz Hazelnut oil – This oil is amazing at unclogging pores and controlling sebum.

1/2 oz Avocado oil – Jam-packed with vitamin E, it reduces redness and heals wounds.

1/2 oz hemp seed oil – soothes redness with vitamin A and E.

1/2 oz jojoba oil – similar to the skin’s microbes, effectively removes makeup and dirt.

10-15 drops grapefruit essential oil – Natural preservative, also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Also smells amazing.

15-20 drops lavender – Reduces redness and quickens the healing process of wounds and pimples.

 

And that’s it! I don’t use tamanu oil in this cleanser because I find it needs more time on the skin since it’s slow absorbing. Hopefully you decide to create your own oil cleanser, it’s very simple and saves you money as you only need a bit of each oil and they last up to two years.

 

sincerely

How Important is a Skincare Routine?

Really important, actually.

One of the most important things the body needs is consistency. A routine that the body can conform and take from every day or every week, etc. Rarely do things work after a few times of use. Rather they take a lot of time and patience in order to see improvement, your skin especially.

Skincare routines are important as they continuously give your skin the vitamins needed in order for it to rejuvenate itself. Due to its many layers, the stable routine will slowly but steadily penetrate the layers and aid the skin.

Moreover, this is why it is essential to have both a morning and nighttime routine (even if it’s just three products each). Morning routines should be lighter and easily absorbed into the skin. It’s not fun looking like a grease ball during the day. At night, it’s all about restoring and repairing the epidermis due to free radicals, stress, and pollution.

Without a skincare routine, the percentage of bacteria and dirt clogging pores, large amounts of sebum creation, and acne–all things that suck.

Now, this doesn’t mean it’s a great idea to have a 10-step night routine (but if you’re already doing this and/or have the money to do so, then hey, go you!) It’s unnecessary because most of the products do the same things or do nothing at all.

A good skincare routine should include:

  • Cleanser 

It should be something super light and non abrasive.

  • Toner

Alcohol free toners are always best. They do not remove any of the good bacteria or strip your skin but toners should restore the skin’s natural PH. I love this hydrating toner from Make P:rem, a lovely Korean brand. 

  • Moisturizer

Lock in moisture and aid in protecting your skin. This doesn’t always have to be a cream, I really enjoy using oils on my face.