INGREDIENT WATCH: Is activated charcoal the secret to perfect skin?

INGREDIENT WATCH: Is activated charcoal the secret to perfect skin?

The past year or two has seen activated charcoal rise in popularity to become one of the hottest beauty and wellness ingredients of the moment.

In fact, all you have to do is scroll through your Instagram feed and we can pretty much guarantee that you’ll spot at least one beauty influencer showing off her charcoal face mask. But what exactly does activated charcoal do, and does it really live up to the hype?

What is activated charcoal? 

It’s a form of – you guessed it – charcoal that’s been heated in order to increase its absorbency. Although it’s fairly new in the beauty world, it’s been used in hospital emergency rooms for years to help treat alcohol poisoning and drug overdoses. Activated charcoal ‘grabs’ onto and binds with harmful, toxic substances (such as alcohol, for example) and since activated charcoal isn’t absorbed by the body, it will help carry these harmful substances out of the body before they get absorbed by the bloodstream.

When it comes to its use in the beauty world, activated charcoal carries out a very similar function: it acts like a magnet to attract and absorb oil, dirt, and grime. The oil and dirt sticks to the carbon, and gets washed away when you rinse your face. Genius! 

How to use activated charcoal?

Many beauty brands now offer a soap, cleanser, or facial masque that contains activated charcoal, but did you know that you can also buy activated charcoal in powder form and take it orally to help detoxify your system from the inside out? (PLEASE don’t use regular charcoal you would use for your weekend braai for this – you’ll find activated charcoal products at your nearest pharmacy or health store). If you’re going to follow this route, make sure that you use high-quality, pharmaceutical grade activated charcoal and follow the dosage instructions very carefully.

  • Stay hydrated. Activated charcoal can be dehydrating, so be sure to drink a large glass of water or juice with your activated charcoal if you are taking it orally. If you are taking it in powder form (as opposed to capsule form), mix it with your morning juice and be sure to down it quickly, before the particles have the chance to settle at the bottom of your glass.
  • Don’t take it with other supplements or medicines. Given that activated charcoal is renowned for its ability to absorb, make sure that you take oral forms at least two hours before or after other supplements or medicines so that it doesn’t render them ineffective.
  • Don’t overdose on activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is incredibly absorbent, so much so that it might absorb vital nutrients as well as any harmful toxins. To prevent it from leaving you deficient in vital minerals and vitamins, make sure that you use activated charcoal intermittently, as needed (so after a big night out or after a big meal, for example).
  • Use a weekly face masque. If you battle with regular breakouts, you may want to invest in a face masque that contains activated charcoal. This will help to absorb excess sebum that typically results in breakouts – up your masque game to twice a week during a breakout.



BEAUTY NEWS: Dr Dermal launches an online store

BEAUTY NEWS: Dr Dermal launches an online store

We’ve long been fans of award-winning skincare brand, Dr Dermal, so we were thrilled to learn that Dr Dermal launched its own online store – with free shipping – on 1 March 2018. 

Dr Dermal boasts a small, exclusive range of results-driven products that focus on dealing with some of the most common concerns in ageing skin. “Our goal was to create a range of highly active products that deliver noticeable results after just one use,” explains Sahil Singh, the founder and CEO of Dr Dermal. The products definitely deliver on this, with some of Dr Dermal’s products having gained near-cult status in South Africa.

Dr Dermal’s passionate team of skincare specialists understand that there’s no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to skincare, and this knowledge and understanding has resulted in a diverse range of award-winning cosmeceutical skincare products that are as unique as the woman (or man!) that uses them.

Our top pick? Dr Dermal’s Texture Correction Pads (R475), which boast the power of a skin peel in a single, easy-to-use pad. Each pad is individually wrapped and contains professional-strength Glycolic acid, a blend of multivitamins, antioxidants, and moisturisers to helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while minimising the appearance of blemishes and enhancing your skin’s radiance at the same time.

For more information on these products or to shop the range from the comfort of your desk (or bed, for that matter), head on over to Dr Dermal’s new online store by clicking here. You’ll be happy to know that Dr Dermal also offers free shipping across SA, so get those orders in now! 

Q&A: Is it ever ok to squeeze or pop pimples?

Q&A: Is it ever ok to squeeze or pop pimples?

Q: “So many beauty experts warn that it’s bad to squeeze your pimples, but is it really that bad?”

A: In a nutshell? Yes – it’s possibly one of the worst things you could do to your skin. We know how tempting it can be to squeeze or pick at your pimple (especially when they just look ready to pop), but keep in mind that you’re risking the spread of bacteria that causes breakouts onto other parts of your face. Worse still, you risk pushing bacteria even deeper into your skin, which could result in deep, painful cysts and nodules.

When left alone, a pimple will typically heal itself within 3 to 7 days, whereas attempting to pop the pimple may break the skin and will increase the time it takes to heal. What’s more, squeezing spots incorrectly could lead to unsightly red marks and may even result in scarring. If you’re tempted to pop a pimple, rather visit a trusted skincare therapist and leave it to the professionals!

BEAUTY BOSS: Meet Dr Judey from Biomedical Emporium

BEAUTY BOSS: Meet Dr Judey from Biomedical Emporium

Welcome to Beauty Boss, a new monthly series where we chat to some of the leading players in the beauty industry and share their insider tips and beauty advice, as well as giving you some insight into their biggest business lessons.

This month we’re chatting to Dr Judey Pretorius, a biomedical scientist and founder of Biomedical Emporium – read on for more from this incredible and inspiring Beauty Boss!

BEAUTY WARRIORS: Please tell us a little bit about your background – what did you study, and what was your first job?

DR JUDEY: “I hold a Master’s degree in Genetics and Molecular Biology, as well as a Ph.D. degree in in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, drug and development design.

My career started in the Pharmaceutical industry and I have experience working in multinational, national and parastatal companies within the pharmaceutical, cosmeceutical, medical device, and tissue engineering industries. I’ve also designed, developed, and optimised products for several premier brands throughout my career, which led to the decision to start my own business that encapsulates all of these disciplines. I founded Biomedical Emporium in 2015 and I am incredibly passionate about what I do, which has resulted in a business that has blossomed into what it is today.”

How did you fall into beauty?

“I’ve always dreamed of developing my own product ranges within the respective medi-aesthetic disciplines. My aim has always been to develop products that promote a therapeutic and biological response on the skin.”

What led you to start Biomedical Emporium?

“One of my strengths is researching new ideas and trends within the aesthetic industry, and then taking those ideas and trends back to the laboratory and turning them into a viable commercial product. Some of the Biomedical Emporium commercial products that are available on the market currently are without a doubt some of the most dynamic when compared to both local and international brands. I also have a very innovative personality and thinking process, which often makes it quite difficult to work for someone else!”

What makes Biomedical Emporium unique, when compared to other skincare brands?

“The business covers three respective disciplines, namely the pharmaceutical industry, the medical device industry, and the cosmeceutical industry. Any research and development work done within these disciplines makes use of respective biotechnological techniques in order to stay ahead and current with international technologies. The products are aligned to such an extent that they are in full compliance with European, Canadian, and Australian legislation, as well as legislation within USA and Asia.”

What was your ‘’AHA’’ moment? The moment when you first realised that Biomedical Emporium was a success?

“The moment when I realised that I don’t have to work in isolation, and came to the realisation that working with others is where I get most of my creativity from. Sometimes I interact with over 3 000 people each month, and they all openly divulge their skincare concerns with me. This enables me to identify any gaps within the industry, and also helps me to create a platform or new products and treatments to fill those gaps.

We offer free Biomedical treatment days on a regular basis, and these take place in a number of cities and geographical locations throughout South Africa. This enables people with any number of skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and acne, to receive complimentary Biomedical Emporium treatments.

I also attend a number of events on a regular basis – sometimes as many as 10 to 20 events every month! Here, I get to meet and make contact with several members of the public regarding their skin health. I also do regular presentations at accredited conferences, universities, and academic institutions, sharing information on the latest technologies within the pharmaceutical, cosmeceutical, and medical device industries. Here, I present to individuals in scarce skills disciplines, such as dermatologists, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, biomedical scientists, nurses, pharmacists, somatologists, and more.”


What one product from Biomedical Emporium is your absolute favourite right now?

Choosing a favourite product would be like choosing a favourite child – near impossible! That said, the first step in achieving optimal skin health is to introduce Retinol into your skincare routine – for this, I’d recommend our Retinol Serum or Retinol Night.

Retinol is what’s known as a multi-bioactive molecule, and is ideal for a number of conditions, including severe acne. It also boasts advanced anti-aging and anti-pigmentation properties, and acts as both a skin nutrient and an anti-oxidant agent. Retinol promotes cellular growth and aids in the differentiation and preservation of epithelial tissue (ie. skin cells), which leads to an improved skin barrier function and helps to retain skin moisture, boost skin elasticity, and prohibits new wrinkle formation as a result.”

What is one thing about Biomedical Emporium that you wish people knew?

“At Biomedical Emporium, we make use of high quality, pharmaceutical grade raw materials in all our formulations. All our products are categorised as cosmeceutical products, which means that biomedical benefits will be obtained once applied to the skin. In other words, Biomedical Emporium products work on a cellular and molecular level, which makes them potently effective and incredibly safe, and ultimately stimulate a therapeutic response. All our products boast our unique and explicit tertiary tissue-protective peptide technology.”

What makeup product would you not dare leave the house without?

Makeup remover!

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

“Some once told me that my passion for what I do could light up a city, but by far one of the best compliments I could possibly receive is when someone tells me that they’ve finally found a product that works for their skin.”

What’s the one skincare mistake that most women make that could be easily fixed? And how?

“One of the biggest skincare mistakes you could make is to sleep with your makeup on – it’s vital that you remove every last trace of makeup at the end of each day. Start incorporating a regular morning and evening skincare routine, and always apply a good quality sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays.

Another tip? Always check whether your skincare products are pH balanced. The skin is quite acidic and boasts a pH level of around 5.2 to 5.8, and it can be very damaging to use products that are over this pH level.

For more information on Dr Judey and Biomedical Emporium, visit the Biomedical Emporium website by clicking here. You can also call (012) 809 2856 or email 


The Top 10 Best Beauty Looks from the 2018 Oscars

The Top 10 Best Beauty Looks from the 2018 Oscars

From pretty nude lips to full-on smoky eyes, there’s no denying that the Oscars are Hollywood’s biggest night of beauty.

We pored over all the hottest hair and makeup looks from the night and picked 10 of the best. Grab a cup of something warm and delicious and read on for some serious style inspiration!

1. Margot Robbie

The I, Tonya star’s freshly-snipped wavy bob had us all swooning! Margot Robbie let her dress (and gorgeous hair) steal the show, while keeping the rest of her makeup fresh and barely there, with beautifully groomed brows and just a hint of pink on her lips.

2. Danai Gurira

Danai Gurira, star of The Black Panther, turned heads with a unique hair accessory. We just can’t get enough of this metallic graphic hair tattoo – it adds just the right amount of edge to an otherwise super-girly look.

3. Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner’s red carpet looks never fail to wow, and this year’s glamorous look was no exception. We love the contrast of her deep indigo dress against her skin, and her voluminous waves and smoky eyes take the look to a whole new level. We love it!

4. Jennifer Lawrence

Love her or loathe her, there’s no denying that J Law has some serious style cred. We adore the exaggerated cat eyes paired with beautifully vibrant makeup hues that make her eyes pop. And how stunning are her tumble of blonde curls?

5. Lupita Nyong’o

It’s said that The Black Panther star’s hairstylist, Vernon Francois, created her much-talked-about intricate braid after being inspired by images of traditional Rwandan hairstyles. We think that the golden thread woven throughout is the perfect match to Lupita’s exquisite Atelier Versace gown… what do you think?

6. Zendaya

We are obsessed with everything Zendaya does – and her Oscar style is no different. Zendaya’s rich chocolate-coloured gown was offset with golden skin and a rich, bronze palette on her eyes, while she opted for an effortlessly chic top knot that emphasised those enviable cheekbones. Perfection!

7. Samara Weaving

Confession: we had no idea who Samara Weaving was – until we saw her on the red carpet. (For the record, the actress stars in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri). We love Samara’s simply, twisted chignon, but – more than anything – we wish we could pull off a burgundy winged eye look as well as she does!

8. Mary J. Blige

The queen of cool kept things fresh in a beautiful beaded white Versace gown, before changing into a deep burgundy, custom Vera Wang gown for her performance of ‘Mighty River’, which was nominated for the best original song. Both dresses looked fab with Mary’s voluminous platinum pixie cut and smoky eyes.

9. Allison Williams

If we had to choose a favourite Oscars beauty look, Get Out actress Allison Williams, would be right up there in our top three. Sure, her nude Armani Prive ball gown is what fairytale dreams are made of, but it was Allison’s beautifully nude makeup, super-long lashes, and retro waves that really stole the show for us.

10. Helen Mirren

Looking as radiant as ever, Dame Helen Mirren showed off a seriously stylish side-swept platinum pixie cut that we predict is going to be all the rage in 2018. We also love the candy pink lips and pop of pink on her cheeks. (Pssst – can you believe she’s 72? We hope we look this good in years to come!)


Which one of these beauty looks do you love most? Are there any gorgeous hair or makeup looks from the 2018 Oscars that should be on this list? Tell us in the comments, below!