Eggtastic beauty

Egg on your face? Don’t worry – the humble egg white has a lot more to it than you may realize, containing around 69 different proteins to benefit your skin. Eggs are currently taking the Korean market by storm as they are also high in collagen and vitamin A, which will help soothe out lines and help heal scars or burns. Add to that egg whites’ ability to ease/get rid of large pores, rashes and rosacea – they’re a real secret skincare savior.

The great news is that you can put egg whites straight onto your face, simply whisk them up until light and foamy, apply to clean skin and leave for around 15 minutes. Your face will eventually feel tight, which means it’s time to rinse it off with a warm cloth.

There are ways to mix things up though, all the while keeping things natural. Mashed avocado is a good option for those with dry skin thanks to its nourishing nature, and those with an oily complexion can benefit from a squeeze of lemon juice. Those with sensitive skin should keep things simple, so natural yogurt can be added to the mix for a richer finish.

However, there are plenty of choices for people who don’t feel up to making skincare products themselves. Skinfood have done it for you with their Egg White Pore Foam Cleanser, or you could tackle spots with TonyMoly’s egg-shaped blackhead gel.

The benefits don’t have to stop at your face; Egg Mousse Body Oil starts as a foam but quickly transforms into an oil – just remember to shake before use. This product includes avocado too, which as we mentioned above will do wonders for dry skin.

What you need to know about skin peels

Have you ever been tempted to have a face peel? Many women are, mostly because the procedure promises smooth skin which looks young and fresh. It’s certainly true that the peels have moved on a lot in recent years, but they should still be approached with caution. According to skincare expert Dr Marko Lens, the main area for concern is when people become too dependent on the procedure.

“Go to the US and you see the American ladies with thin skin. Why? Because they have peeled and over peeled and over peeled,” he told Cover Media. “The reason why (their skin looks bad is) because the skin barrier function was never repaired.”

What’s crucial to understand here is the role vitamin D has within the skin. This vitamin is responsible for the normal cell cycle of the epidermis; it fortifies the skin barrier function, meaning the skin is able to protect itself from environmental aggressors and microbes. Put simply: a weak skin barrier means sensitive, unhealthy looking skin.

Aggressive washing and over applying products can harm the skin’s barrier function, so imagine the effect a peel has. Obviously caring for the face after such a process will eventually allow it to be repaired, but if you constantly opt for severe peels your skin never has time to recover.

“If you check the levels of (these women’s) vitamin D they will all be depleted and they all have more chance of getting skin cancer, because by destroying the lipid barrier they are more sensitive to the sun damage,” Marko explained.

“It’s kind of a circle that we see that they’ve created by depleting the barrier function – probably in a couple of years people will realize that you don’t have to be harsh to your skin to realise that something is working. Technically, I never understood and will never in my practice use aggressive peels and aggressive abrasion – rollers than put holes in your skin and stuff like that. Why do you need to traumatize your skin? I understand that they think, ‘OK, a little bit of trauma will boost the collagen production’ and all this stuff. It doesn’t work that way because each time, yes, it’s logical that if you traumatize a little bit – like if you have a wound, that’s a trauma, the skin acts immediately, but there’s always an inflammation component. Whenever you activate that inflammation component you also activate the ageing process.”

This is because as we age, we lose lipids (such as fatty acids which are part of the barrier function) in our skin. Therefore, getting rid of them with a peel could result in the same outcome. “Protecting barrier function is the (most important thing),” Marko added. “That will lead to transepidermal water loss, more aged skin, more sensitive skin, skin more prone to sun damage and definitely thinner skin.”

Applying make-up to dry skin

Nothing is worse than trying to make yourself look good for a night out in the winter, but your skin is just too flaky and dry to apply make-up properly. This doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel and give up though, as there are ways to tackle this.

It all starts with your base, which you need to get as smooth as possible before anything. Exfoliate your skin with a gentle facial scrub to get rid of any excess dry skin – rub too hard and you’ll only irritate your complexion.

Then you want to apply a hydrating moisturizer that caters to your skin type – flakiness is a sure sign of sensitivity so you’ll want a face cream that doesn’t have any harsh chemicals or ingredients. Let the moisturizer sink in and absorb naturally so your skin gets all the nourishment.

Or, a good tip you may not know about is to apply your moisturizer before you shower, so your pores open up and absorb the cream better. Rub in properly, especially targeting your extra dry spots.

If a primer is part of your routine, invest in a hydrating one for the winter months like Too Faced Hangover Face Primer – don’t just use it after a boozy night out! A hydrating product will nourish your skin even more before applying foundation.

As for what cover up you choose, you’ll want to avoid anything that will dry your skin up even more like matte, oil-free or powder options. Cream foundations will maintain a dewy finish even if you do feel flaky and dry, and they will hold more moisture in as the day goes on.

Or you could mix the one you already use with a spot of moisturizer or primer to hide blemishes and keep your complexion looking fresh.

Manly winter skincare tips

When it comes to skincare, women tend to have it down. As a guy there isn’t as much advice available, so we’ve compiled some top tips for the boys to follow this winter.

Fact: face scrub isn’t just for girls! It may seem strange to scrub your face when the weather is cold and your skin is dry, but by exfoliating you’ll be removing dead skin cells and creating a smoother, healthier surface. You can use warm water and a cloth to make the process gentler; simply massage your face in small circles, giving extra focus to any cracked or dry patches. No need to do it every day; once or twice a week will be enough. We suggest trying Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub or Bulldog Skincare For Men Original Facial Scrub.

After a thorough wash your face will be craving moisture before you step outside into the chill. A good cream is vital, but you’ll want to make sure you choose the right one for your skin type. Lighter options suit oily skin, while heavier creams are best for dry. Or if you’re an aftershave user, purchase one which is nourishing enough for you to skip using a moisturizer after shaving.

You and your razor need to tread carefully in winter and if possible, we suggest hopping into a hot shower as soon as you’ve finished your shave (alternatively douse the clean areas with warm water). It will help open up your pores and produce softer hair – the last thing you want is icicles hanging off your chin.

This is where beard shampoo enters; it may sound made up, but it will keep your facial hair nourished throughout the colder months. Grizzly Adam Beard Wash and Shampoo and Murdock London Beard Shampoo are just two of the options.

Rather than laughing at your girlfriend or female friends offering you a swipe of their Vaseline, take advantage! Or if you need a manly one to tackle chapped lips, EvolutionMAN Lip Balm or Tom Ford Hydrating Lip Balm are highly recommended.

Charcoal for skin

It may sound counteractive, but using charcoal to cleanse your skin is one of the oldest beauty tips in the world. The use of charcoal dates back centuries, when people in India and Egypt treated wounds with it. Later, it featured as a cleansing ingredient in places like Japan, as charcoal acts as a magnet to draw out and trap as much as 100 to 200 times its weight in impurities in your skin.

Most commonly found in beauty products, activated charcoal was created solely for medicinal purposes. Doctors initially used it to treat poison, gastrointestinal tract infections, bug bites and nausea. It also proved helpful during World War I, when activated charcoal was placed in gas masks to prevent soldiers from being poisoned by chemical exposure.

To create this, regular charcoal is heated with gas to make it expand, thus making it porous and more absorbent. Activated charcoal chemically binds other substances to its surface and compared to regular charcoal, can absorb thousands of times its own weight, so things like bacteria and dirt will be lifted, helping you achieve a smooth complexion.

In saying that, since activated charcoal does remove toxins, it is a great ingredient to take control of acne and improve skin health in general. It’s found in many products which help fight against acne, effectively healing pimples and preventing further breakouts.

Activated charcoal is also an anti-ageing ingredient, reducing inflammation and subsequently preventing premature ageing. It tightens pores and smooths the skin, calms irritation and leaves you with a toned complexion.

If you want to make your own face mask, mix one half or one whole activated charcoal capsule powder into a small spoonful of aloe vera gel. Add some water, a few drops of tea tree oil and a pinch of sea salt, until it becomes an even consistency. Apply to your skin and let dry, then wash off with water.

Why coconut oil is your skin’s best friend

Over the past few years, coconut oil has become popular in both the food and beauty worlds. While it’s a great cooking and baking ingredient, this oil is also perfect for your beauty routine, since it’s a natural product without any chemicals or additives. In tropical parts of the world, where coconuts are more common, using coconut oil on your body is an ancient practice, but for those of us who don’t live in those areas, we’re just getting the hang of this helpful oil now.

So why is it so beneficial for your beauty routine? Coconut oil contains good fats that provide us with energy and Vitamin E, which is essential to maintaining healthy and smooth skin. It also has the ability to penetrate your skin more than off-the-counter products because of the way it bonds with proteins in your body. Plus, there’s the added bonus of it being much more cost effective than handfuls of items you’d get from the beauty store.

Coconut oil is a perfect product for all your facial needs, starting as a moisturizer. Regular products contain a high amount of water, which initially makes you feel like your skin is moisturized, however when the water dries up, you’re left feeling tight and flaky again. Coconut oil, since it does contain plenty of saturated fats, provides deep moisture and helps strengthen tissue and remove dead cells on the skin’s surface. All you need to do is rub a small amount between your fingers and pat on to freshly washed skin, just as you would your normal moisturizer.

Coconut oil can also be used as a make-up remover, especially if you have a difficult time getting off waterproof mascara and eyeliner. Just dab a small amount on a cotton ball or cotton pad, and gently sweep off the make-up from your eyes, then rinse with warm water. The oil breaks down waxy make-up and gives you the added bonus of leaving your skin hydrated.

Speaking of taking off make-up, you can use coconut oil as a face wash and cleanser. Other products have a tendency to strip your skin of its natural oils, which in turn results in an overproduction of oil that can lead to acne and clogged pores. To make a cleanser, take a small amount of coconut oil and emulsify it between your fingers. Gently massage it into your skin in circular motions, until the impurities on your face are washed away, then pat your skin dry.

The list goes on for coconut oil uses, including lip balm, night cream, sunburn relief, and even a cheekbone highlighter to make a tired face look brighter. Just remember; a little goes a long way with coconut oil, so don’t go overboard with your new favourite product.

Sweet skincare: Beauty treats without the calories

Topping the list of most people’s New Year’s resolutions is to ditch the sugary snacks and swap them for healthy fruit and veg. But even if you’ve bid adieu to sweet treats in 2016, we have good news: you can use them in your skincare without putting on a single pound! Here we round up some of beauty’s most delicious ingredients that won’t affect your diet.

Chocolate

Why it’s good for you:

Dark chocolate is packed full of antioxidants, which fight free radicals. This even means it’s OK to eat it every now and again, but for those of you wanting to stay completely off the sweet stuff (we salute you!) it makes a great ingredient in beauty products.

How to use it:

You can make an at-home toning facemask by warming 50g of good-quality dark chocolate (at least 70 per cent cocoa) and adding to a blended mixture of banana and strawberries. Apply to your face and neck and relax for 20 minutes before washing off. We won’t judge you if you try and lick your face…

There are also tonnes of chocolate-scented products for beauty queens with a sweet tooth. We particularly love Christopher Courtney London’s rich Anti-Oxidant Chocolate Face Cream.

Honey

Why it’s good for you:

“For centuries honey has been one of nature’s best-kept beauty secrets,” CEW Award winning company Bee Good’s beekeeper, Simon Cavill, revealed to Cover Media. “Honey has so many benefits for the skin – in its purest form it’s suitable for all skin types and assists with perfecting, cleansing, and protecting the skin.”

How to use it:

Thanks to its antibacterial properties, honey can be applied to skin issues like acne in its purest form as a natural spot fighter. You can also mix it with coconut oil to make a gentle cleanser – simply rub in, avoiding the eyes, and wash off.

If you’re after honey-based products, look out for healing creams. For example, Calendulis Plus Cream uses Manuka honey to moisturize and help fight eczema and psoriasis.

Sugar

Why it’s good for you:

Sugar is a great base for homemade scrubs as it’s far gentler on skin than ready-made versions with abrasive beads. It’s also a natural humectant, which means it draws moisture into the skin, leaving it hydrated. It also contains glycolic acid, which promotes cell turnover, leaving you radiant.

How to use it:

As mentioned above, you can make your very own scrubs with sugar. Simply mix sugar and coconut oil in equal parts and apply to any rough areas, including the lips. Gently rub and wash off to reveal smoother skin.