Beauty sleep – how to get the most out of your night

An ever-so-slightly compulsive multitasker, I love being able to get things done while doing something else (clearly I’m aiming for “coolest person the year” 2017 to add to my 2016 accolade).  So breakfasts I can bake while I’m out running, or decent face masks that I can wear while flying (without freaking fellow passengers out – I mean the ones that look like moisturiser when they’re on) have a special place in my heart.  Following on from my non-resolution of getting up on time, while I am actually asleep, I like to get as much out of the hours after sunset as I can.

The Daily Glow - Sleep

Invest in silk
I have already mentioned how sleeping on your face can cause a number of wrinkle-related problems, and I am slowly managing to change from a regular face planter to a poised sleeping beauty (I hope). A silk pillowcase can reduce some of the face planting effects, and also promote frizz-free tresses. The number one question I’ve had in relation that entire post was where to get the pillow cases, so below is a list of some recommended suppliers. I bought both my eye mask (if you think eye masks are overrated, try a silk one before you really decide) and pillowcase in Australia a few years ago, so I haven’t tried any of them myself yet – these are recommendations from friends.

  • This is a pricey enough option (£55 plus delivery from the U.K.), but the designs of the eye masks are amazing – particularly good as presents for those people that literally have everything.
  • A bit more reasonably priced (€45, plus €6.50 delivery. Warning: they do a lot more than just pillowcases and eye masks, so you could be in very real danger “justifying” the delivery charge and buying right, left and centre – don’t say I didn’t warn you) and the company was founded by irishwoman Eva Power, if you like to buy Irish.
  • The cheapest of the lot (2 for €25) and also an Irish based purchase.

I have found a silk eye mask to be my best friend in the aforementioned sleeping on my back attempts – there is something in having my eyes covered that makes it just about okay to not burrow into the pillow as I doze off, so you may want to check out those too while you’re at it.

Update: I found my actual eye mask eye mask on – and it’s not going to break the bank.

The Daily Glow | Wanderlust Lite

I tend to have gloves on for most of the working day, so I always come up short when it comes to drinking enough water.  Combine that with working in air conditioning or heating, sweating it out at the gym and having an active social life (aside from January – silly season got me again this year) and I am forever trying to hydrate.  Adequate water intake is crucial for clear skin and headache-free afternoons – in fact mild dehydration is said to be the number one cause of midday fatigue (not hunger, despite my stomach’s notions).  By the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated, so trying to make a habit of drinking water rather than waiting for your body to remind you is the best way forward.  An American survey showed that 75% of the general population are chronically dehydrated.  Drinking later in the evening is sometimes inconvenient (I tried this, getting up in the middle of the night every couple of hours is not for me, but have a go if you really want to), so I’ve found one way around it is to bring a pint of water ) with me when going to bed (usually with a chlorophyll supplement in it, as in the photo below – Dublin City council’s water supply may not win awards, but it’s not green) – but leaving it to drink first thing in the morning instead. This way I feel like I’m not actually starting on a deficit, and am more likely to remember to drink water throughout the day.

The Daily Glow - hydrate

Overnight oats
This one saves my a€€ when I have not managed to get up on time, but still need to have breakfast (I always need breakfast, I am not a nice person without it).  I make it in a glass jar (or take away coffee cup – I hate buying coffee without my Keepcup, but sometimes I’m stuck and cave, so I always re-use them if possible) and usually take it with me, but you can make up a big batch for 2-3days and keep it in the fridge. You need:

  • Oats (gluten-free if needed)
  • Milk – I use almond milk as I try to keep dairy milk to a minimum because it affects my skin, but you can use whatever type you like.
  • Yoghurt – greek gives a really nice texture, and you don’t need a flavoured one unless you have a very sweet tooth. You can use soya or coconut for a vegan version.
  • Vanilla protein powder – I do use a dairy based one for this, simply because I have yet to find a vegan one that tastes remotely nice (any recommendations very welcome on this one!)
  • Frozen raspberries

Mix the oats, milk, yoghurt and protein powder to a bircher muesli type consistency. Add the raspberries, which will defrost overnight. You can add cinnamon, chopped walnuts, brazil nuts, blueberries or anything else that takes your fancy. I’ve made a number of different flavours, including “Pumpkin Pie” with puréed sweet potato, cardamom, cinnamon and ginger – which although delicious, was pretty time-consuming to make, so I tend to revert back to chopped banana (add in the morning – black banana oats its not so inviting, no matter how hungry you are) and walnuts, or raspberries and flaxseeds.

The Daily Glow - overnight oats

How do you make the most of your beauty sleep?  I would also love to hear any tips you have for better sleep – I’m a terrible insomniac at times, which makes most of the above null and void!

how to guide for double cleansing

The expert’s guide to cleansing your face

Washing your face…simple and straightforward, right?  Yes, but you may be doing more damage than you realise – I know I was.  Oil cleansing, double cleansing, facial sponges, cleansing brushes – where does one even begin?  There are also a multitude of products just to confuse the matter even more!  After a bit of research (and self-experimentation) I think I have finally got this all figured out.  Double-cleansing is the latest buzz in the beauty world – and it is the only way to remove makeup with spf or suncream properly.  I just use Dermalogica’s Precleanse first thing in the morning, but for an end-of-day cleanse I follow the steps below.

Removing makeup/suncream(because you are wearing it everyday, right?)/smog/sweat or whatever else has collected on your skin throughout the day.  For this I recommend an oil based cleanser, as oil is better at breaking down most of the above, particularly makeup.  I am a complete convert to Precleanse, but this is where the oh-so-popular micellar water could be substituted instead.  Completely removing all makeup and grime from your skin is the aim here – so keep going until the cotton pads are no longer “skin” coloured.  I like to massage the Precleanse into dry skin, before adding warm water to rinse off. Gently does it though, particularly around the eye area – as I pointed out before, your skin won’t thank you for using elbow grease.

oil based cleanser

Cleansing your skin – now that you’ve removed everything on top of your skin, a gentle cleanser can help remove any dead skin cells and stubborn makeup or suncream – despite the previous step, you would be surprised how discoloured a face cloth or clarisonic can become! expert's-guide-to-cleansingThe cleanser you choose is very important.  Because the heavy lifting has been done by the “pre-cleanse”, I find a gentle, non-foaming cleanser perfect. Foaming cleansers, apart from a scant few, tend to strip and dry out skin (and cause rebound over production of oil in some cases), and interfere with the skin’s pH – which is very important for protecting your skin as discussed here. This stripping of the skin may feel “squeaky clean”, but predisposes your skin to flaking, damage and even breakouts.  It can take a bit of getting used to if squeaky clean is your norm, but after a couple of weeks your skin should adjust quite happily.  My current favourite cleanser is Vital Cleanse from Elemental Herbology but I would also recommend the Ultracalming Cleanser from Dermalogica and am dying to try this one from Paula’s Choice.  I use it with my Clarisonic mia or a facecloth.  If you choose the facecloth option, swap them everyday for a clean one – you do not want bacteria building up for 24hours on a damp cloth and then wiping it all over your face. No. Penneys do 3 for €2 (insert link) so you have no excuse. Non-foaming cleansers are also available on any budget – just get into the habit of checking the ingredients list like you’re going to be eating the stuff (guilty!). The main ingredients to avoid are parabens, SLSs and anything else described as a foaming agent.

Have you tried double-cleansing? I hope this explains it for those of you who were in the dark!


Why you should use a toner – and the best one for your skin type

Cleanse, tone and moisturise…the first and last are pretty self-explanatory, but what’s the deal with toner I hear you ask?  If you believe everything you read, you may think toning is a waste of time and money, or, that it can fix every single problem you’ve ever had.  Enlarged pores, breakouts, dryness and flaking, redness, hyperpigmentation – does it really do all of the above?  The jury appears to be confused.

The main point of using toner is to balance the pH of your skin after cleansing.  Your skin has an acid mantle (a very fine film, secreted by sebaceous glands, on the surface of the skin forming part of the skin’s barrier to bacteria, viruses and other sources of disease and destruction) with a pH of 4.5-6.2.

A lot of cleansers (foaming ones in particular) disrupt this system.  This interferes with your skin’s natural protection mechanism, and leaves it more prone to infection, dryness and flaking, and damage – increasing the risk of scarring and hyperpigmentation.  Not all cleansers strip your skin like those that contains SLSs or other foaming agents.  However as very hot water, over zealous exfoliation, wind and too much sun, among other things, can damage it, I advise using a toner to restore this balance.

Not all toners are created equal, and you do have to check the back of the bottle to know what you’re buying.  Alcohol is unfortunately a key ingredient in many, particularly in those formulated for oily skin.  Alcohol is not your friend (in skincare anyway – it is absolutely your best ally if you find yourself in Coppers accidentally), not least if you have oily skin.  Although it may initially give you that “super clean” feeling you are after, it can dry your skin out leading to one of two scenarios: your skin begins to flake and peel (something that refuses to be masked with makeup) or it goes into overdrive oil production to compensate.  Neither one is exactly what I’d call #skingoals.

So what’s a girl (or guy, hey I won’t tell the lads you’re reading this if you won’t) to do?  Having tried many with varying success, I’ve finally settled on a homemade version.  Yes, sounds dodgy, I know.  But give it a try before you knock it – and by a try I mean a good month of bi-
daily use. Diluted apple cider vinegar is the ridiculously simple recipe.  You need proper ACV that’s cloudy and has those random bits floating in it – sounds gross, but the crystal clear stuff is over processed and will not yield the same result.  I  use 1 tablespoon of Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar – available from any health food store, and possibly fancy supermarkets – diluted in about 500ml filtered water. ACV has a similar pH to that of your skin and helps restore the
acid mantle.  It’s also not loaded with chemicals, and cheap as chips as a full bottle will outlive many of its alcohol laden competitors.


the best toner for your skin type

If you’d prefer to buy instead of make-and-do, Avène  do a first-rate “Thermal Spring Water” spray.  It is perfect for drier skin types, or even regular skin as the winter creeps in.  I like to carry it in hand luggage when flying and use a couple of times in the air.  Oilier skins may prefer something like this Clarins toner for oily/combination skins – I used this previously and really liked it, but have tried to reduce the amount of chemicals  on my skin and have switched to the ACV for the moment.

Always on the lookout for something new (my bathroom cabinet is going to collapse one of these days, from the weight of products I have stuffed in there), I have been tempted by the PIXI Glow Tonic.  I have yet to purchase it (I know I’ll succumb eventually) but it does seem to be the stuff dreams are made of.  Has anyone been lucky enough to try it yet?  Would also love to hear how you get on with the ACV,  or if you have any reliable alternatives?