My current skin care routine

WARNING: Heavy artillery 

WARNING: Heavy artillery 

It was all about my hair last week, now let's talk skin care. My skin was pretty lacklustre for a while -- dull complexion, dry, flaky and dehydrated. Essentially, my skin was screaming, "give me some TLC, woman!" 

So I overhauled my skin care routine and chucked items that really weren't working.


Dr. Lewinn's Facial Polishing Gel ($39.99 AUS) - a gentle exfoliator that scrubs away the dry bits without tearing the skin's barrier. It's lightly fragranced, I get a nod to pineapple on the nose, but do note my nose has a tendency to grab onto some whackadoo notions. This particular exfoliator's ingredients comes at your skin on several different fronts:

  • Jojoba beads to exfoliate and moisturise
  • Algae extract to tone and firm
  • Aloe vera to soothe and moisturise
  • Matricaria a.k.a. chamomile to calm and soothe
  • Rosemary to firm, stimulate and tone

After using Dr. Lewinn's Facial Polishing Gel my skin feels smooth, soft and ready for the rest of the items I have left to chat about with you lovely folks.


Prior to my visit with a local day spa a few weeks ago I was pretty down in the dumps about my skin care regimen. Things needed to be revamped and fast, because my skin was looking mighty sallow. Upon addressing my skin concerns with a super knowledgable facialist, she then suggested I try Aspect's Gentle Clean Facial Cleanser ($44 AUS). Every morning and evening I dispense two pumps into the palm of my hand, bring the gel to a lather with luke warm water and gently massage my face for around thirty seconds. If I'm removing my makeup I make sure to wash my face twice in order to really get rid of the day's grime and dirt. It's been a fruitful switch for me as my skin hasn't freaked out whatsoever and this cleanser leaves my skin feeling squeaky clean without ripping away necessary natural oils.


Yet another recommendation from an unwitting saviour, Aspect's Extreme B 17 ($119 AUS, ouchie!) when used in tandem with the Gentle Clean Facial Cleanser, has really helped to make my skin glow. Vitamin B works to maintain your skin's moisture levels and even heightens the metabolism of the skin cells. Oh, and it also fights skin yuckies such as eczema, dermatitis and rosacea. I use this baby every morning and night after washing my face. 


FAB or First Aid Beauty's Ultra Repair Lotion ($28 USD) was integrated into my current regimen in case my skin had a bad reaction to the cleanser and serum (it never did). Not only does the underlying goodness of this lotion hydrate, but it also waves laters to flaky skin. After a week of regular cleansing and moisturising, my skin was clear, soft and genuinely happy. With my skin's positive response to a few bits and bobs from Aspect, I've reduced the frequency of FAB's Ultra Repair Lotion and switched back to Ole Henriksen's Nurture Me (not pictured and it smells exactly like an orange creamsicle (icy pole)). That's not to say I won't use this little miracle to battle eczema whenever it decides to pop in and say hello. 


Supergoop's Skin Soothing Mineral Sunscreen with SPF 40 ($28 USD) is lightweight and allows me to catch a few rays minus the guilt. Plus, this stuff gets 4+ stars over on Sephora - so, if it's good enough for you, then it's good enough for me. 

Eye Stuffs

Why stuffs? Heck, I don't know, but it's gotta be doing something right? Wrinkles have been creeping in near the corners of my eyes (don't think I haven't noticed you, cuz I have) from years of smiling; when you think about it, these sorts of wrinkles aren't the end of the world. You know, happiness and all, I wouldn't trade it for the world. To help spur these little buggers I use Jurlique's Herbal Recovery Advanced Eye Serum ($58 AUS / $48 USD). To be honest, I haven't noticed any massive improvements, but I'd like to think of this step as preventative skin care maintenance.

Well, that's about all I got. Here's to happier skin :)


*Jurlique kindly provided a PR sample  –  Thoughts and ramblings written here are completely my own.

Will Jurlique's Calendula Redness Rescue Range rescue me?

Jurlique's Calendula Redness Rescue Range - Calming Mist (left), Soothing Moisturising Cream (middle) and Restorative Treatment Serum (right)

Jurlique's Calendula Redness Rescue Range - Calming Mist (left), Soothing Moisturising Cream (middle) and Restorative Treatment Serum (right)

Whenever rosacea sinks its claws into my already sensitive skin, it often leaves it looking scorched, ravaged and in despair. It's a vicious cycle really -- my skin gets better, then my body will suddenly chime in and say "you're stressed, woman" and soon after the niggly bumps start to reemerge I find myself back where I started.

Square one with red cheeks.

Most, if not all, store products really aren't a cure all, but they can help to quell the fiery inferno working its way across my face.

Here's hoping Jurlique's Calendula Redness Rescue trio works to cut the blushing and the rest of the nasty experience.

I'll keep you posted about my findings.

Bitten by the bug

For the past few years I have been an avid reader of several beauty websites; mainly  I enjoyed Karen's writing style, honest reviews and ability to convey her witty personality.  Often, I would spy adverts and invitations to guest blog, but would never really think twice.  That was until I moved almost all the way around the world from the US to Australia! Comparisons have been made, shopping has been had and my wallet's been hit hard.  This life changing event is what inspired me to share my personal experiences with Karen's readers; I thought, maybe, everyone could compare notes and perhaps empathize with me.

I apologize for posting this story twice (once here and on Karen's site), however, the feedback was incredible and made me feel like I should start my own blog.

Late last year my husband and I became American expats living abroad when we made the move to Australia from the U.S. for his new job. I knew about our big journey months in advance, so I did the best I could to prepare and studied anything and everything I could about the land down unda’ before we arrived; however, I made two fatal mistakes.

First, I never fully realized just how expensive things would be down here, and second, I was unprepared for how long I’d have to wait for makeup collections to make their big debuts here after being released in the States.

As a woman of substance, I have my needs. Among them: facial moisturizer, hair products (loads of ‘em), perfume, nail polish, and anything pertaining to MAC, Benefit, Clinique and Philosophy. Not long after moving, I was already hitting the bottom of my assorted elixirs and potions, wondering what I was going to do.

I realized that I could either A.) Skype my mom and ask her to send a care package my way, or B.) venture out into the city of Melbourne to find more permanent beauty solutions. Gone were the days of Cheese-Itz and Dunks’, so I figured it was also time to broaden my horizons and revamp my beauty artillery.

The first thing to go was my coveted container of Origins GinZing Eye Cream; I needed to find something just as good at combating my puffy under-eye circles. In the States, the cream sells for $29.50 USD, but here it sells for a whopping $64.00 AUS! With the US dollar on par with the Australian dollar, I just couldn’t justify paying more than double for the same thing.

I searched high and low for hours in Mecca Cosmetica (heaven), The Body Shop, L’Occitane and several other local pharmacies and department stores. During my quest, I kept happening upon a brand by the name of Jurlique, which I’d seen before in Sephora but never really gave much thought.


It’s a homegrown brand here in Australia, and the company prides itself on using organic ingredients. The price for a tube of Jurlique’s Herbal Recovery Eye Cream ($52.00 AUS/$40.00 US) wasn’t as bad as GinZing’s, and I also figured I should start using things I’d be able to find anywhere in Oz.

Arnica, the active ingredient used in Jurlique’s Herbal Recovery Eye Cream, claimed to fight my tired, puffy eyes, and I was up for the battle. I have to say, I’ve been happy with the results.

I’ve been using the cream since last November and like it just as much as GinZing. Both products contain the same amount of cream — 15ml — but the one from Jurlique has a much longer shelf life. We’re talking 24 months versus 6. You be the judge.

I, like Karen, have wavy hair that can go as mad as Medusa in mere seconds when exposed to humidity. I don’t even attempt to blow dry it when the forecast calls for more than 55% humidity; it’s just not worth the time or the arm strength.

My former hairdresser, Laura, knew the texture and wicked ways of my hair, so she introduced me to Moroccan Oil back in 2008. Not only did I fall in love with the scent, but I also fell in love with the fact that it kept my frizz in check on those really humid days. Alas, I ran out of the travel-size bottle I brought with me here and didn’t bring any spares, but equipped with the lessons learned from my previous adventure, I went out to my local hair supplier and plunked down $34.95 AUS for a 100ml bottle of One n’ Only’s Argan Oil.


It has a similar consistency, color and scent as Moroccan Oil and comes in a travel-friendly plastic bottle, instead of a glass one. It was another win-win — the price was right, and I’ve been very happy with the resulting smooth, shiny hair.

The next thing to go, unexpectedly, was my trusty eyelash/eyebrow comb from Sephora. I purchased it ages ago, but it eventually crumbled somewhere between Boston, Vegas, Miami, Amsterdam, Singapore and Melbourne. With as much as we’d been traveling lately, I’m truly surprised I didn’t have even more casualties inside my makeup bag.

This time I decided to head over to Myer (a local department store), a mere walk away, and perused their assorted high-to-low-end options. Restless and weary, I wandered past Benefit’s Brow Bar and was stopped in my tracks when I spotted this little beauty.


Tweezerman teamed up with Benefit to create this retractable eyebrow tool — the mascara-type wand keeps my brows in line, and it’s handy for separating my lashes before curling. It sells for $12.00 in stores and online in the US, but it costs twice the price here. I was willing to splurge, though, because I take my brow grooming seriously, thanks to my old friend Diana and her insistence on keeping the caterpillars at bay.

Not long after that, wouldn’t you know it, the pump in my Aveeno bottle stopped extracting its precious cargo. I removed the cap to tap out as much as I could, a ritual that went on for a few more weeks, but eventually the bottle was well and truly empty. I sort of felt like that crazy lady in Love Potion No. 9, trying to coerce every last drop from the bottle (you know you’ve seen it; don’t lie). 

The stress of moving had done a number on my skin; I’m talking breakouts aplenty. What I really wanted to find was something I could afford here that would moisturize my now unpredictable combination skin and protect it from UV rays, while keeping the shine from seeping through.

My Aveeno moisturizer wasn’t quite hacking it anymore, so I returned to the heavenly Mecca Maxima (Mecca Cosmetica’s big sister) in search of something new. The store carries Clinique, Mario Badescu, Clarins, DDF, Philosphy and many others, but what really caught my attention was Dermalogica’s new baby, Clean Start.


It’s a facial care range targeted at teens and young twenties, but I figured, what’s age got to do with it? Maybe it’ll work for my 27-year-old mug. The 60ml bottle cost me $45 AUS ($24 back in the 50).

I incorporated Welcome Matte (with SPF 15) into my morning regime, but, unfortunately, it didn’t work any miracles on me. The back of the bottle advises you to “Say goodbye to shine without drying skin with this extraordinary, lightweight lotion that won’t clog pores.”

Meh, I wouldn’t call it extraordinary. Sure, it moisturizes with SPF, but that’s about it. I guess I’ll have to find something perhaps a little more age appropriate.


Melbourne, Australia

No matter where you find yourself in this world, make sure you’re ready for what awaits you before you arrive. Melbourne has been lovely thus far, but the American in me keeps screaming, “you know you can get that a lot cheaper at Macy’s, Target or Nordstom’s!” Case in point, that KitchenAid Mixer? Let’s just say I’ll be lusting after it a little while longer.

Please visit Karen's site and read the original post here.