This is the Real Reason you Should be Wetting your Beauty Blender

We’ve all been there: sat down ready to do our makeup and realising one very important thing is missing… a freshly-wet beauty blenderCommence the angry trudge to the sink to wet, squeeze and repeat. 

But despite how often this happens – in my case, a little more than I’m proud of – do we know why we’re supposed to wet our beauty blenders? Like, really know why? It turns out, apparently not. 

I’ve always thought you should wet your beauty blender because when damp and spongey, it reaches your face’s little nooks and crannies, as well as helps different products blend together. And while this may hold some truth – after all, spongey = flexible – there is a more technical reason you should wet your beauty blender.

And that is because the water stops the beauty blender from absorbing product.

“The reason beautyblender works best when wet is because water helps it reach its absorption capacity,” says beautyblender founder, Rea Ann Silvan. “- so it won’t absorb your makeup!”

To prove this, beautyblender advises cutting an old sponge in half when wet. The result? Well, 2 halves of a whole beauty blender, and an open core that shows no product on the inside – just pure colour.

But that’s not all wetting your trusty sponges is good for. According to Silva, a wet blender means “your makeup [will] bounce on beautifully with no lines or brush stroke marks.”

So, while I’m not a total eejit for thinking wetting my beauty blender was a concept developed to aid contouring, it’s good to know there’s a technical logic behind the urban beauty legend.

It’s just a shame they don’t come pre-wet like this cool little guy…

Images sourced from @beautyblender Instagram.

The Importance of Understanding Cosmetic Ingredients

If you flew across the world today and you’re a beauty guru or enthusiast, you’d probably pop into Sephora. With Kat Von D, Huda Beauty, Fenty Beauty, Cover FX, It Cosmetics, Zoeva, YSL, Hourglass, Sephora Collection and so much more (!!) all in the flesh, it’s a beauty emporium of glitz and goth, and everything in between. Sure, Debenhams is great and Selfridges’ choice of luxury beauty is a treat upon every trip into London, but UK beauty lovers can all agree: Sephora is where it’s at.

And, when you combine this selection of brands with wide-eyed, eager-to-beautify staff furnished in black branded tops and intense glitter cut creases floating around as if this is their perfectly polished living room and you’re the first guest they’ve had in years, it’s hard not to get swept up in the Sephora experience.

But, while the beauties at work celebrate the makeup that pushes boundaries, innovates and entrances, and encourage you to do so too with every ‘babe’, ‘hun’ and ‘gorgeous’, they are masking a darker reality. That is, maybe sometimes a Sephora product might be shit… and might give you a violent rash that looks like cracked red nail polish smudged across your eyelids. Yes, that happened to me.

I purchased the Sephora Collection Extra-Gentle Bi-Phase Makeup Remover For Eyes & Lips with such optimism. I believed it may be Lancôme Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover dupe I dreamed of. Alas, I was wrong.

My insensitive skin took a battering. Confused and concerned, I did some research.

This ‘extra-gentle’ formula contains 1,2-hexanediol. 1,2-hexanediol is a humectant and coupling agent composed of seemingly harmless chemicals, like anti-inflammatory compounds. But it has been criticised and challenged because it is known to irritate skin and even cause dermatitis – especially around the eyes.

Let me iterate, my issue is not with Sephora but rather with myself. I didn’t do my homework. Like many beauty-interested individuals, I believe what I am told and pursue what I assume. Which is largely okay, but I must say, a silly choice where your eyes are concerned.

It is okay to believe a bronzer is ashy and test it to find it oxidises orange. It is okay to believe a set of lashes are wispy to wear them and discover the opposite. But I jeopardised a very delicate area of skin, around a very vital organ.

After learning about 1,2-hexanediol, I raided my bathroom shelf to discover that it is not in any of my other make-up removers or gel cleansers. Perhaps if I was aware of the chemicals I already use and don’t react to, and researched the new ones I was investing in, I would have avoided a scaly, inflamed rash and days of painful blinking.

But I only have myself to blame. The lesson learnt from this is that I should be more vigilant about what I am putting onto delicate and raw skin. Rather than considering the consequences of new eye-skincare without checking the ingredients, I chose to join the cut-crease babes in dancing around their perfectly polished counters like I was the first guest they’ve had in years.

The Sephora experience gobbled me up and spat my eyes out, but I have learnt my lesson.

4 Skin-Care Tips For Travelling

The cost of travelling (besides the hefty fee you’ve probably paid a travel agent) is your skin’s health. Travelling exposes your skin to in-flight dryness, intense UV rays, increased alcohol and junk-food consumption and a blasè skin-care routine. Amidst the pleasure and excitement of backpacking or holidaying, we momentarily neglect the skin-care routines that we took months honing at home.

When I boarded the plane to Australia 2 months ago, I knew that a 4 month backpacking adventure was far too long for a blasè skin-care routine. I’ve dedicated years to trying various treatments, medication and products to improve my once oily and acne riddled skin, and I had no intention of reversing its improvement.

So, here I am: a guinea pig that has been pacing the international hutch for so long that I don’t know which bed of hay I sleep on, figuring out the easiest and most efficient ways to look after my skin while travelling. And I’m sharing four major tips that have helped me keep my skin glowing at destination adventure.

  1. Say No To Sunscreen.

Don’t put suncreen on your face. Of course, the minerals in sunscreen create an essential barrier between UV rays and your skin, but they also clog your pores. On the flip side, the also not-formulated-for-facial-skin chemicals in body sunscreen often irritate facial skin. So, to avoid breakouts, don’t put body sunscreen on your face.

2. But Say Yes to an SPF Moisturiser.

As sixties model and British cultural icon Twiggy once said, the golden rule for looking good is to “moisturise to ridiculousness”. This is especially true when travelling. Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise, but make it tinted and SPF. When you’re not applying sunscreen to your face you still need to protect it from UV rays. So, an SPF moisturiser is your skin’s best friend when travelling. To keep your skin looking extra glowy, opt for a tinted one that provides colour alongside moisturization and protection.

I am living for the Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Mineral Tinted Moisturiser while backpacking – it’s SPF 15 and gives a matte foundation style finish, covering all blemishes and eradicating all oiliness.

3. Give Vaseline a chance… on your face.

Airplane aircon, cruising altitude, prolonged UV exposure and sunburn are just a few things that can severely dry out your skin. They’re also part of the parcel when travelling. There’s been days on my travels when a multitude of dry and flaky patches will appear on my face and neck. I put Vaseline petroleum jelly on those dry areas overnight when this happens. When I wake up, it’s as if the dryness and flakiness were never there. Vaseline creates a thick barrier between your skin and outside influences, soothing the dryness much quicker than a daily moisturiser by locking your skin under a moisturising jelly barrier. Make sure you wash your face in the morning though, Vaseline and sunlight are not a good combo.

4. Sheet Face Masks.

Maya Jama isn’t posting stories in these twice a week for no reason. Sheet face masks are beauty’s latest holy grail. A sheet mask is a fibrous sheet soaked with concentrated serum, containing ingredients like hyaluronic acid. The sheet locks its water-based ingredients in between your skin and itself to prevent quick evaporation of the serum – the moisturising effect is consequently intensified and prolonged. I recommend giving yourself 20 minutes, twice a week, to boost your skin with a sheet mask. After all, backpacking is tiring work. ATM, I am loving Sephora’s own brand sheet masks. The range, as well as being affordable, has a mask targeted for every skin concern.