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?

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!

This is Why Dry Brushing is Amazing for Your Body

Good morning everyone! I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend. Time to get back at it (for me, that would be school).

It’s also time to take your detox game to a whole new level.

Now, I’ve spoken about the amazing benefits of chlorella for detoxing the inside of our bodies but what about the outside?

What’s the largest organ in the body? Skin. What probably doesn’t get as much love as it deserves? Skin. What organ visibly reflects the results of toxicity?

That’s right. Skin!

How can you give your body some love while increasing blood circulation, reduce the appearance of cellulite, and get some soft silky skin?

By dry brushing of course.

With winter comes dry and flaky skin. And who likes that? As someone with severely dry skin, dry brushing has helped a lot. It’s exfoliating but without the mess. It’s the key to getting naturally softer skin.

What is Dry Brushing?

Dry brushing is the practice of brushing the skin with a specific type of brush. The proper way to dry brush is to start at the feet and move upwards to the heart. This process naturally tones, softens, and detoxes the skin.

The Benefits

Lymphatic Support

Dry brushing releases toxins caught in the blog and naturally detoxes the skin.

Exfoliation

By running a firm brush over the body, it removes dead skin cells and leaves skin soft and smooth without disturbing the delicate layers beneath. After dry brushing and a nice shower, applying lotion, oil, etc. sinks into the skin faster for better absorption. This type of exfoliation can be safely done daily because it’s not abrasive.

Fades Appearance of cellulite

Ah. Those pesky signs that show the world that we are human. How I hate those!

But all joking aside, brushing increases circulation to the skin which releases toxins. Cellulite is toxic material accumulated in your body’s fat cells. This will roll the, smoothing out their appearance and potentially reducing them appear smaller. (Fat cells do not disappear. They can only be smoothed out).

Increases Blood circulation

Once you start dry brushing, you’ll feel this warm rush flow throughout your body. It’s exhilarating and a great pick me up in the morning!

Tones the body

While it won’t give you amazing definition, it will tone the body enough to notice a nice outline and more defined muscles and curves. Why? Because it’s all about circulation!

How to Dry Brush

With short yet firm strokes, divide the body into parts (eg. foot to knee, thigh to hipbone). Always start from the feet upwards towards the heart. The stomach should be done in a circular motion as well as the chest. Skip over the boobs if you have them! This delicate area is too fragile for that firm brush and might lead to micro tears which are never fun. In the future, I will be posting a great recipe for what to do for increasing the circulation for this delicate area. For the arms, start out but brush inwards.

Taken from The Health Nut Mama

The best time to dry brush is right before getting into the shower/tub because the water will wash off any lingering dead cells and give you a nice, thorough clean.You can also add some essential oils like grapefruit to the bath to get a nice hydrated feel before going in with lotion. It will also let you apply lotion better!

I love going over each part of my body two or three times. This way I can make sure I’m hitting every part and getting rid of some dry skin.

How to Properly Clean Your Brush

Simple is always better. I clean mine once a week because I use it everyday. I use Dr. Bronner’s soap with a few drops of tea tree oil. Make sure to only soak the bristles for about ten-fifteen seconds face down in the solution. After this, hang it (again, face down) over a ledge. I use my makeup brush drying rack to dry it.

Last Note: Please do not dry brush your face. Your face is super delicate and does not need the same firm touch as the rest of the body.

I use this one because it’s made from plant fibres rather than boar.

This essential step in a great skincare routine will do wonders. It will change your life whether done daily or simply three times a week. It’s also a crazy cheap alternative to regularly buying exfoliators.

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 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.

Top 5 Oils for the Face (and Why you Need Them)

 

Oils are your best friend. Or at least, they should be. With so many options, each high in vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and other properties; they can aid your skin in any situation. 

In this post, I will tell you about some of my favourite oils to put on my face, and when I use them. Please be careful when buying oils–you always want something that is cold-pressed. This way, they keep all their good properties. Also, if you can, look for unrefined because this does not remove the colour, smell, and acids contained in the oils. 

1. Rosehip Seed Oil

Rosehip is first on my list because it has helped my skin for years. It was the first oil I have ever used and really got me into oils. 

As a natural derivative of vitamin A, it helps with pigmentation and general skin damage. This oil is pressed from the rosehip bush. The colour should be a beautiful reddish-yellow colour. It’s great for all skin types, especially mature skin and inflammation because it slows the process of wrinkles and redness. Because of its large amount of antioxidants, minerals, and acids–anyone can use and benefit from this great oil. 

Since rosehip is a dry oil, I love to use it in the morning. This stuff is pretty expensive, but it really does work. It’s amazing! I have tried a few brands but ultimately trust Kosmea Australia. If the oil doesn’t smell awful, it’s not pure rosehip. 

2. Tamanu Oil

If you have hyper-pigmentation or acne, this oil will be perfect. In all honesty, this oil is great for everything–cuts, rashes, bites, dehydrated skin, etc. I use Tamanu oil in my hair and all over my body.It’s just that good.

Tamanu oil is found in Vietnam from the Tamanu nut. It’s a powerhouse, completely covering scars, rashes, and wounds and in my opinion, is ten times better than coconut oil in about every aspect (except for consumption!).

Since it’s a viscous oil, it takes some time to sink into the skin which is why I usually only use it in my nighttime routine. Moreover, I actually buy a majority of my oils from a wholesaler because I use a large amount of them. But retail sizes can be found here.

3. Raspberry Seed Oil

If the smell or feeling of sunscreen does not sit well with you, raspberry seed is here to help! This oil is the only natural oil that protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays with a minimum SPF of 28.

Bursting with fatty acids and vitamins, raspberry seed oil protects from free radicals the body is exposed to daily. 

As a natural sunscreen, I use this oil in conjunction with rosehip in the morning. 

4. Hemp Seed Oil

This oil is perfectly balanced and insanely moisturising. It’s great for consumption, roughly 70% is polyunsaturated fats and protects the skin’s outer layer. 

Hemp seed oil is so moisturising! I love using it in my morning cleanser (post on it coming soon). It’s perfect for dry winter nights like right now and also giving the chest area a little more love. 

Hemp seed oil contains omega fatty acids, protein, and even a little sun protection. The oil has a nutty smell to it, but has a deep green colour. It helps with the appearance of scars and if consumed, can boost the immune system. 

Depending on my mood, I use this oil day and night but generally during my night routine (I like to match colours). 

 

5. Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is truly the best for mixing with other oils. Because it’s so mellow, and calming, it’s awesome to dilute essential oils like helichrysum and frankincense with. I absolutely love it.

As jojoba oil is noncomedogenic and the closest to our mimicking our skin, our bodies are more accepting towards this oil which makes it great for putting it on wounds. 

Generally, whenever I need a strong essential oil in order to get my body back into place, I dilute it with this. I also use it like crazy during the summer with some grapeseed oil. 

These are my top five oils that I consistently use on my face. What are yours?